Once upon a time, just five years ago, in fact, Andrew Watt was the least famous member of LA hard rock power trio California Breed, alongside former Deep Purple/Black Sabbath frontman Glenn Hughes and Jason ‘Son of John’ Bonham.
These days, Watt is a music industry superstar in his own right: in 2020, the guitarist co-produced Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts album, produced songs for UK pop stars Dua Lipa, Sam Smith and Louis Tomlinson, and scored a Producer Of The Year nomination at the Grammy Awards. He also found the time to co-write and produce the best Ozzy Osbourne solo album for 30 years, Ordinary Man, and is now knee-deep in making its follow-up. And if Watt is to be believed, Ozzy is cooking up something pretty special for what will be the singer’s 13th solo long-player
Speaking to Guitar World, Watt says that he and Osbourne are currently “halfway through” the singer’s next album, and that’s he’s “really excited” about the songs he and Ozzy have been committing to tape.
“You know, it’s been hard with COVID and everything to keep him safe,” Watt admits, speaking before Sharon Osbourne’s positive test for coronavirus. “We all test every day before we work and it’s just me, Ozzy and my engineer. So it’s taken a little longer this time, but it’s cool because the last one was made in this, like, swift love affair of passion, like, ‘Oh my God, this is incredible!’ [Laughs]
“This time everyone’s moving a little slower and we’re taking a little more time. And the songs, there’s some songs on there that are like eight or nine minutes long that are these really crazy journeys.”
“It could still change,” Watt cautions. “Some of these songs we have could wind up not even making the album. So I can’t really say yet. But in the end it’s all Ozzy’s decision. When he tells me we’ve got the album, that’s when I’ll stop.”
Watt recruited Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith to play alongside him on Ordinary Man, and he’s secured some decent collaborators for Ozzy’s current work-in-progress too, with Metallica’s Robert Trujillo, Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and the returning Smith among the musicians contributing to the new material.
“I think it’s so cool for a rock fan to be able to listen to half an album with Chad Smith on drums, and then you flip it over and you get to hear Taylor Hawkins,” says Watt. “The last album was really special for everyone involved. And so there was no point in Ozzy or me doing this again unless we thought we could bring something new to the table. And I feel like we’re achieving that.”
If all goes according to plan, we can expect Ozzy’s 13th album to be with us at some point in 2021. But after the year we’ve just had, let’s not go making any wild assumptions.