MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of The Black Watch’s “Gobbledegook” Video

Obscurity has never put a damper on John Andrew Fredrick’s creativity—or his productivity, for that matter. As the unflappable leader of California’s underappreciated post-punk stalwarts the Black Watch, he’s made 20-plus albums for multiple labels since the late 1980s. You can add Weird Rooms to that list. Out tomorrow on ATOM Records, it’s LP number 23—but who’s counting?

Fredrick now has his ultimate fan and critic officially in the TBW fold. His son, Chandler, played guitar and piano on Weird Rooms and also contributed to the songwriting and backup vocals. The two recorded the album in Austin with multifaceted producer Misha Bullock and his wife, Sara. TBW has a reputation for assimilation, drawing on a wealth of influences, both classic and current—everything from the Who and the Stones to the Smiths, the Cure, My Bloody Valentine and the War On Drugs. Weird Rooms continues in that referential (and reverential) vein with an almost obsessive fervor—accompanied, as always, by Fredrick’s whimsical sense of humor and offbeat intellect.

True to form, Fredrick notes that new single “Gobbledegook” was inspired by the revelation that politics and pop music don’t mesh. “It’s kind of a corollary to me forever opining that lyrics aren’t poetry,” says Fredrick, who has a doctorate in English and five novels to his credit. “Anybody who insists to the contrary doesn’t really know anything about how the music … I won’t say dictates, but rather colors the words.”

When it comes to videos, TBW has always been a bit camera shy. “I can’t ever imagine being effusive about them—I don’t care for them at all, really,” says Fredrick. “Even during their 120 Minutes heyday, I never fancied them.”

Director Shane McKenzie’s low-key approach suited BTW perfectly. “He went for a sort of bleached-out, grainy result,” says Fredrick. “The footage that’s intercut is from an ancient film of my favorite novel, War And Peace. I’m obsessed with it to the point that I’ve read every English translation of it. Pretty kooky, surely. But every artist has his or her quirks, I reckon—and that’s one of mine.”

We’re proud to premiere the Black Watch’s “Gobbledegook” video.

—Hobart Rowland