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He was soon interrupted again, by a tall gray-haired man who, before he could articulate his point, was told, “We have a set form here for questions.” Gordon quickly returned to that format, addressing a question on another index card asking how many people have been secretly detained. “I’m not sure exactly what the thrust of the question is,” Gordon claimed, and pointed out that all detainees have the right to make phone calls.
On the next card was a question asking whether there is any risk of prosecution for people who have contributed to charities that the government has since linked to terrorists. “If you honestly believe you’re providing charitable contributions” for humanitarian purposes,” Gordon said, “you will not be prosecuted.” This spurred three people to simultaneously shout, “Who would decide?”
“Excuse me, you have to follow the format,” Gordon responded.
But the audience stubbornly persisted. In answer to Steinhauser’s claim that “the Holy Land Foundation was sponsoring Hamas, which is a terrorist organization,” a man in the audience shouted, “It’s made up!” Steinhauser explained patiently, “Ladies and gentlemen, we live in the United States of America, and the government of the United States of America, the president, the attorney general, believe it is a terrorist organization.” To widespread gasps and guffaws he went on, “You must accept certain things from your government.”
After the next audience outburst — following Gordon’s scolding that “you don’t get a free pass to stay in the United States just because you provide information” — the feds got testy. “We’re trying to conduct ourselves in a dignified and courteous manner,” Gordon complained. “We’re here as a service to you.”
Only a handful of the dozens of audience note cards were addressed, and at the end of the day, it was John Gordon’s confident oath that rang in my ears: “I can guarantee you,” he swore, “that the U.S. government is not turning into something that is reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”
The prize is two tickets to see the Beatles tribute band the Fab Four at Anaheim’s Sun Theater.Phone lines light up like heartbeats on an EKG before the host can even ask the contest question: “What two Beatles albums were never mixed in mono?”
Hardcore fans know the answer is “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road,” and there are a lot of those fans out there. For nearly 15 years, Deirdre O’Donoghue hosted Breakfast With the Beatleson KLSX. She played mainly the classic U.S. releases that were in stereo, and she loved Paul McCartney all the way down to his silly love songs. She died last year, and after weeks of alternating guest hosts, her station took a poll on its Web site to decide who O’Donohue’s permanent replacement should be. The campaign was as goofy as the presidential election. Fortunately, the best man won.
Enter Chris Carter.
Aside from being the former bassist for late-’80s alternative band Dramarama, producing a new record for Stew of the Negro Problem, managing Brian Wilson’s band Wondermints, and producing and writing a film with Emmy winner George Hickenlooper, Carter is now hosting BWTBevery Sunday on KLSX from 8 a.m. until noon.
Not just a DJ with a laid-back 1970s FM-radio delivery, Carter is also a Beatles expert with a near-freakish knowledge of the original Fab Four and an unbelievable cache of unreleased recordings that helps separate his from other Beatles shows.
“I try to do the show the way the Beatles might do a show,” says Carter. “Remember, when the Beatles were the Beatles, they very rarely talked about their music when they were interviewed — they talked about the guy’s trousers. They were just funny, witty guys.”
Carter’s show starts with a milk crate. Inside the crate are about a hundred CDs — some look like regular Beatles CDs, and some are labeled like laboratory petri dishes. All are Beatles and Beatles solo recordings. Some are the kind anyone can buy in a store; some are so rare that Carter gets real quiet and excited when he talks about them, like a kid who just discovered his dad’s stash of Playboymagazines.
It takes about two hours of pre-production with assistant Mike Walusko and engineer Forrest Nelson to put BWTBtogether. During the show, the three, with Kris the phone guy, laugh a lot, and 98 percent of the conversation is Beatles. Every Beatle is alive in this room. Nobody eats breakfast.
“There’s something about the Beatles,” says Carter. “More than any other group, they dominated an entire decade. That whole era was taken up with them, and they seem like old friends. I feel like George Harrison was my friend only because I’ve known everything he’s done since the time I was 7.”
During the request hour, the New Jersey–born Carter haggles over the playlist with callers like an East Coast car salesman. “Yeah, I have the Peter Sellers recording,” Carter tells one guy requesting a particular recording of “Everybody‘s Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” “But that has a bad beginning — look, I got a really cool acetate, and I think you’re gonna love it.” The song starts, and a satisfied Carter says to himself, “Yeah, he’s diggin’ that.”