Henry Rollins: This New Sgt. Pepper Stereo Mix Is So Good I Almost Forgot About Trump

Don't worry — eventually, this column does get to The Beatles.
Don't worry — eventually, this column does get to The Beatles.
Capitol Records

Comrade Trump is folding like an old pig’s bladder. Watching him fall apart in the Oval Office during his interview with Reuters reporters last month was almost sad. The only time I have ever heard him sound so winded was when he made his terrified acceptance speech hours after he lost by millions of votes and become the 45th president.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Reuters reporters say comrade Trump handed them a map of the country, with the parts that Trump won in red. Great souvenir. Almost as corny as the auto-signed letter I got from Rumsfeld after a USO tour.

“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers. It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”

Two days later, Trump’s getting his ego reinflated in Harrisburg, Pa., at one of his shit fest rallies. “We are keeping one promise after another and, frankly, the people are really happy about it.”

He went on to claim that the rally “broke the all-time record for this arena.” The journalists’ photos of all the empty seats crushed that lie.

In an interview with John Dickerson of CBS, Trump, when asked if he would keep military options on the table after North Korea’s recent missile launch, said, “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.” What the fuck does that mean?

Then, in an example of mouth rot so densely moronic and obtuse you’d think Trump was taking lessons from Sarah Palin, he shut down the interview after Dickerson had the audacity to ask if Trump still stood by his claims that the Obama administration had wiretapped his phone lines during the campaign.

“I don’t stand by anything. I just, you can take it the way you want. I think our side’s been proven very strongly. And everybody’s talking about it. And frankly it should be discussed. I think that is a very big surveillance of our citizens. I think it’s a very big topic. And it’s a topic that should be No. 1. And we should find out what the hell is going on.”

Exsqueeze me? Baking powder? This is the president of the United States. You think America’s enemies were emboldened by the last president?

At a little over 100 days in office, Trump is a disaster. Only 1,300 and some days to go before his second term starts in 2020. By that time, everyone will have unicorn health care, there will be a wall between America and Mexico, you will pay five bucks in taxes, and there will be only two terrorists left.

Try as I might, I can’t see anything good coming from this administration and only wish the 45th president the same thing that petitioners wished President John Adams: “peace and retirement.” Comrade, your old life of ripping off contractors, going bankrupt and pudenda grabbing is calling you. All you have to do is answer.

Needless to say, I am looking for any bright spots on the horizon. As I sit here, I am consumed by curiosity as to what will be tomorrow at Capitol Studios, where at 1030 hrs., Giles Martin, son of the legendary producer George Martin, will play his new stereo mix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which will be part of a 50-year anniversary edition of the iconic album. I lucked out and got an invite.

My curiosity stems from why this album needs remixing. A few hours ago, I listened to the stereo mix yet again and once more was taken by how truly amazing it is. George Martin has been called the fifth Beatle. I think he’s the fifth, sixth and seventh. His production skills are at least as great as the awesome talent of the band. I would go further to say that without George Martin and engineer extraordinaire Geoff Emerick, The Beatles’ music would still be popular all over the world but not nearly as captivating. It was a perfect team.

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What Giles can do to top his father’s mix, or better my understanding of this album, which I’ve loved since my mother bought it soon after it came out in 1967, I am all ears to hear. Report to follow.

Fifteen hours, 48 minutes later. Back from Capitol. Giles Martin and his engineers knocked it out of the park.

Before the new mix was played to us in Studio A, Giles told us a bit about what was available to them this time around. Back in the 1960s, drum tracks were often mixed onto a single track, thus limiting much of the sound. This time, Giles was able to go to those tapes before they were bounced. Now we’re talking.

Giles said something I found fascinating. He said the objective was to make a stereo version of the mono mix. Back in those days, all the effort went into the mono mix, as stereo was seen as a bit of a novelty. He said that ultimately, it’s not gadgets or studio wizardry but a very good band recorded very well, and his job was to not screw up that perfect truth. Even before I heard anything, I liked where Giles was coming from.

Soon enough, playback started. The first thing that hit me was that Ringo Starr is one badass drummer. There are so many great grooves on this album, and the drums coming at you with their full sonic potential doesn’t overwhelm but definitely lets the songs swing a bit more. The standout tracks for me were “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “She’s Leaving Home,” where the perfection of every aspect of the songs was almost frightening.

Stunning album, amazing band, incredible mix. Release date is later this month. Can’t wait to hear the vinyl.

Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.


More from the mind of Henry Rollins:
White America Couldn't Handle What Black America Deals With Every Day
Bowie's Blackstar Is on the Level of Low and Heroes
No Matter Who Wins, America Is Only Going to Get Angrier


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