Premiere: Mean Mr. Mustard Comes to Life As a Queer Icon in Caleb Nichols’ Campy Romp “Jerome”

Caleb Nichols "Jerome" music video still
Caleb Nichols "Jerome" music video still
The Beatles’ Mean Mr. Mustard comes to life on singer/songwriter Caleb Nichols’ new song “Jerome,” a campy and captivating anthem full of ’60s psych rock passion, charged emotions, and a fresh perspective that transforms the Abbey Road narrative.
Stream: “Jerome” – Caleb Nichols




Jerome,  I don’t know which way to go, why do I feel so bloody low? And why is love so hard to find…

It’s been 52 years and 8 months since The Beatles released their triumphant, timeless eleventh studio album Abbey Road – meaning it’s high time someone told “Mean” Mr. Mustard’s side of the story: Who is this supposed dirty old man, what is his relationship with his sister Polythene Pam like, and why does he really shave in the dark? Singer/songwriter Caleb Nichols answers many of our long-burning Beatles queries in “Jerome,” a campy and captivating anthem full of ’60s psych rock passion, exasperation, and longing.

Jerome - Caleb Nichols
Jerome – Caleb Nichols
You came along and changed
the way I said my name

told me love was more
than just a word to say

You talked me up
you talked me in, talked me around

But now you can’t be found

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Jerome,” the third single taken off Caleb Nichols’ forthcoming debut solo album, Ramon (out June 24, 2022 via Kill Rock Stars). Hailing from San Luis Obispo, CA, Nichols has been enmeshed in the music scene for nearly two decades now: In addition to playing in DIY folk-punk band Bloody Heads, indie rock band Port O’Brien, and Rogue Wave side project Release the Sunbird, Nichols has also previously released music through their own projects Grand Lake, CHURCHES, and Soft People.

Caleb Nichols © Deborah Denkar
Caleb Nichols © Deborah Denkar



Still, they’ve never embarked on something quite like this. A concept album that “tells the tragic story” of Mean Mr. Mustard as a queer icon, Ramon is an expansive, expressive, and singular listening experience unto itself. Previous singles “Run Rabbit Run” and title track “Ramon” have already hinted at Nichols’ uplifting, nuanced musical style – seamlessly marrying past and present influences – and “Jerome” follows suit with searing guitar tones and warm, harmony-laden vocal ahhs that can’t help but remind us of Abbey Road.

Nichols comes to life in a cinematic, theatrical, and undeniably catchy chorus:

Jerome, I don’t know which way to go
why do I feel so bloody low?
And why is love so hard to find
in eighteen-hundred ninety-nine
in nineteen-hundred ninety-nine
way out in twenty ninety-nine?
Caleb Nichols "Jerome" music video still
Caleb Nichols “Jerome” music video still



Mean Mr. Mustard is humanized in Caleb Nichols' "Jerome" music video
Mean Mr. Mustard is humanized in Caleb Nichols’ “Jerome” music video

“My new solo album, Ramon, is a short rock opera that digs into the backstory of iconic Beatles character Mean Mr. Mustard (and to some degree, just by way of association, Polythene Pam),” Nichols tells Atwood Magazinel. “‘Jerome’ is one of several songs on the album that really leans into the Mr. Mustard narrative and more than any other song it upcycles the lyrics of “Mean Mr. Mustard” to tell more of Mustard’s origin story.”

“Sung from Mr. Mustard’s perspective, the song features Ramon (Mustard) singing to Jerome, his ex-lover, in order to try and make sense of all the hurt he feels after being ghosted. ‘My sister took me out to gaze upon the queen. That was the furthest I had been – I thought that you might help me change my little scene, now I’ve lost my certainty,‘ sings a distraught Ramon.”

My sister took me out to gaze upon the queen
that was the furthest I have been — all of my life!
I thought that you might help me change my little scene
but I’ve lost my certainty.
Jerome,  I don’t know which way to go
why do I feel so bloody low?
And why is love so hard to find
in eighteen-hundred ninety-nine
in nineteen-hundred ninety-nine
way out in twenty ninety-nine?



Ramon - Caleb Nichols
Ramon – Caleb Nichols

A colorful affair fit for The Beatles’ psychedelic origins, the “Jerome” music video is a feast for the eyes.

“The video is a campy romp, featuring a house party full of ghosts drinking, playing cards, dancing, drinking some more, cavorting on couches, and ultimately encircling and freaking out a crazed Mr. Mustard, who’s just discovered his boyfriend making out with none other than his own sister, Polythene Pam!” Nichols shares. “In some ways ‘Jerome’ is a prequel to our previous single/video ‘Ramon,’ which shows Jerome splitting town, but not quite being able to shake his feelings for Ramon.”

A radiant musical indulgence, the “Jerome” video invites us to watch the real life Mustard deal with the tension in his immediate world. Is he right to feel the way he does, given the betrayals and hurt he’s experienced? Is he justified in his own attitude, given his enduring, seemingly endless struggles with love?



Caleb Nichols isn’t just continuing Abbey Road‘s storyline: They’re transforming the script, giving a voice to a character we’ve long accepted as “mean,” without ever hearing Mustard’s side of the story. Ramon gives Mustard the microphone, and “Jerome” is his indignant anthem: An outpouring of feverish emotion wrapped in enthralling, invigorating technicolor rock ‘n roll.

Stream “Jerome” exclusively on Atwood Magazine! Ramon is out June 24th via Kill Rock Stars.

All of my life, I’ve been waiting for the day
You’d come along and take me away
Was it so wrong to ask you to stay?
Well now you’ve gone…
Jerome, I don’t know which way to go
why do I feel so bloody low?
And why is love so hard to find
in eighteen-hundred ninety-nine
in nineteen-hundred sixty-nine
way out in twenty ninety-nine?

— —

:: stream/purchase “Jerome” here ::
:: Live Dates ::
6/17 San Luis Obispo – Live Oak Music Festival
6/24 Santa Barbara TBD*
6/25 Los Angeles – Permanent Records Roadhouse*
6/26 San Luis Obispo – Kreuzberg Lounge – Album Release Party*
6/27 Santa Cruz TBD*
6/28 San Francisco – Brick and Mortar Music Hall*
6/30 Portland – Music Millennium In-store
7/1 Corvallis, OR – Old World Deli*
7/2 Portland – Mississippi Studios
7/3 Seattle – High Dive
7/6 Boise – Neurolux*
7/7 Salt Lake City – The Beehive*
7/8 Reno – The Holland Project*
* w/ Strange Pilgrim
Stream: “Jerome” – Caleb Nichols



— — — —

Jerome - Caleb Nichols

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📸 © Deborah Denkar

:: Stream Caleb Nichols ::



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