“I honestly wanted to freak people out,” Northey says. “I wanted them to know in advance that it was going to be an hour where every minute mattered. I had a hunch that the whole day was going to be a stressful whirlwind with people falling behind, but in reality, everyone was incredibly prepared. Some people even finished well before their allotted time period.”
A lifelong Beatles fan, the idea behind Revolver in a Day had been in Northey’s brain for a long time, originally planning to broadcast it over Edmonton radio before finalizing the project in Toronto. “I’m addicted to ideas that involve The Beatles, and I like things that bring the community together with a shared creative goal,” he says. “I just thought it would be a ridiculous stunt that sounds absurd, but would equally be awesome.” Judging from performances like Ella Coyes’ “For No One” (recorded in a single take!) that still give Northey “instant goosebumps,” he certainly considers the awesomeness quotient surpassed.
Keep an eye out for a possible follow-up project tackling Fleetwood Mac’s iconic Rumours, but for now, enjoy these fresh Beatles covers.
Espanola – “Taxman”
As soon as Jesse (Northey) called to ask, I knew I had to do “Taxman.” I’m a big George guy and always kinda thought it was one of his tougher tunes. I obsessed over the alternate version on the Anthology when I was young, with the different backing vocals, but ultimately decided to keep my version true to the Revolver cut. I don’t get a chance too often to work with Thom (Darcy) at Taurus Studios so that was a treat. I just ripped through the whole thing piece by piece in single takes, had it tied up inside of an hour, and was off to do another session across town! Wish I coulda hung out though. I think this was a cool project and I’m glad they asked me to do it.
Zinnia – “Eleanor Rigby”
Coming from the stagnant fog of the pandemic, stepping into a recording studio packed with a revolving cast of talent felt bizarre, electric, and surreal. “Eleanor Rigby” has lived in my bloodstream since grade school and at first I was wary of taking on such a sentimentally familiar song. I wanted to wrap in my own experience of loneliness and see if I could pull out a new level of quiet ache within the layers.
Wild Black – “I’m Only Sleeping”
Playing and recording a song I love from one of my favourite Beatles albums in under an hour with folks I’d never met before was such a unique and fun experience. 10/10 would recommend!
Jesse Northey – “Here, There and Everywhere”
Small Sins – “Yellow Submarine”
Altameda – “She Said, She Said”
The vocal harmonies and energy of this song felt like a natural fit. While in classic Beatles fashion, the unorthodox time arrangements made for a fun and interesting challenge for us. We had recently recorded our new album, Born Losers, with Thom (Darcy), who was engineering the session—so this made for a smooth and easy process in getting the tune cut in under an hour. Unfortunately, this session happened before Get Back was released, so I’m sure next time everyone will have an arsenal of quotes to bust out in between takes. Nevertheless, there were still plenty of Ringo impressions flying around. All in all, a great experience, and we hope people enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording it.
Dani Nash – “Good Day Sunshine”
My favourite thing about this Revolver In A Day experience was the pace of the session, how we jumped from one song to the next and everyone played their parts so well. I absolutely loved laying down drums on a few tunes as well as doing my own rendition of “Good Day Sunshine.” I’ve always loved that tune and was lucky to get my good buddy Peter Elkas to track the iconic piano parts. Such a blast.
Geordie Gordon – “And Your Bird Can Sing”
“And Your Bird Can Sing” is the perfect little capsule of melody and harmony with few frills. As I was learning the song, my good old friend Rich Burnett dropped by. He became the perfect vocal partner for our version. We slowed down and spaced out the song, using the metronomic tick of a 606 to float our voices over. I have so much respect for the engineers and organizers of the recording day. We arrived into an impressive record-making machine. Adam Hindle jumped in and perfected the arrangement with some perfect percussion.
Ella Coyes (Sister Ray) – “For No One”
Revolver In A Day was the first time in a very long time that I had gathered to play music. It felt really monumental to be in the studio with pals, and radical to share the studio with so many people, as that’s been a part of music for me that’s been very personal. One of my favourite exercises is to learn songs that I love to really get the feeling of why they’re good in my body. Having the time constraint be an element of the day forced me to prepare and think about why they’re great songs, and hear why they’re great in new ways on all of these tracks.
Chloe Doucet – “I Want To Tell You”
Revolver In A Day was such a fun challenge because we didn’t have time to fuss over details. The time pressure forced me to zero in on the essence of the song and deliver it without thinking. I realized how sparse the production is on these tunes. The Beatles are so brilliant in the way they make something so simple yet so impactful. A lesson that I feel like I learn over and over again: minimalism is powerful.
Dave Azzolini – “Got To Get You Into My Life”
When Thom Darcy first contacted me about singing “Got To Get You Into My Life” for the Revolver In A Day project, I immediately said no way! I just remembered trying to sing this song in the past and how much of a high busking Macca vocal job it is. But, after having a few tries I thought it’d be fun to take a stab at it anyway. Another challenge was what to do about all the horn parts… the song is built around all these horn licks after all. The night before the recording, I put a metronome down since this song is very on the beat and metronomic. I figured it couldn’t hurt. I then went through and recorded all the horn lines and re-did them all with my guitar one by one. The next day, the band and I ended up jamming live to that backup track in our headphones and luckily it all worked out thanks to Adam Hindle on drums and Jesse Northey on bass, nailing their parts. Also, a shout out to Thom Darcy’s very nice mixing job.
Nyssa – “Tomorrow Never Knows”
I’m not going to lie, I was one of those annoying, purposeful Beatles haters in high school. Mom liked The Stones so—juvenile-minded—I picked The Stones. I guess my sports-cursing, angsty, teenage self still needed a team or two to rally behind. But, I always loved “Tomorrow Never Knows.” Sans identity crisis, even. Because it’s never not sounded like pure magic. Like Crowleian High Ceremonial Magick and also a kid’s backyard sympathetic magick and also the literal force behind clouds and rivers. I have to nod to the fact that part of this could be its featuring role on The Craft soundtrack, but I think it only got covered for that because of how elemental and eternal it is. The song wheezes and runs like spirits—creatures—gods, of the abyss, the void, the endless Nothing of being. It careens and gallops like true wilderness but also like highways. I spent COVID becoming pretty spiritual (i.e. going FULL witch), and this song just continues to settle in upon me like an ancient, worn, traveller’s cloak. I really wouldn’t have wanted to cover any other song on Revolver, because although I’ve outgrown the nonsense of hating for the sake of hating, I still don’t carry a torch for their other tunes as much as I do this one. I’m very grateful to my similarly psychedelically-minded Gemini friend and collaborator Lukas Cheung (Mother Tongues) for shredding and co-producing this molasses-fried, heavy/pretty rendition. Surrender 2 The Void.