Classic rock always maintains a very simple dividing line for those who wish to rate the genres greatest heroes. It goes something like this: There’s the Beatles, and then there’s everybody else. Nowhere is that more clear than on Sunday morning when fans of the Fab Four tune into their version of church, otherwise known as Breakfast With the Beatles, hosted by Chris Carter on 95.5 KLOS. After 33 years, it’s legacy is older than the Beatles were when they called it quits in 1970. For the last 15 of those years, Carter’s stamina for endlessly playing every square inch of their catalog continues to be astounding. Not to mention the fact that he’s interviewed Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Pete Beste, Billy Preston and many other rock stars and important people in the annals of Beatles history.
When he’s not in the studio doling out timeless tunes, he’s broadcasting the show live to an audience of diehard Beatles fans. He’ll be at the Anaheim Hilton on Father’s Day doing a three hour show dedicated to McCartney in honor of his 74th birthday tomorrow. We can’t think of a better way to honor your pops (who was a fan before you were even a thought) than with an English-style breakfast and the mother of all radio shows. The fun starts at 8:30 a.m. We’re told even Hot Wheels will be down there handing out special edition Beatles Hot Wheel cars. But before all that, we talked to Carter about what it’s like being host of the longest running Beatles radio show.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): What are some aspects of the Beatles music that keep you excited about doing the Breakfast With the Beatles show after 15 years?
Chris Carter: Every week is different. You would think after so many years, one might get tired of the Beatles, but it never happens. That’s one magical thing about the Beatles that makes them unique to almost all other recording artists. The longevity exists because every time you hear the music you get something new out of it. If you go see Paul McCartney play any night you’ll see little kids in the crowd singing along, a 67 year-old hippie with a tie-dye shirt, people in their 30s and 40s, it’s a span of generations you don’t get anywhere else. If you go to a Stones concert for instance, you’re not gonna see little kids singing along to “Sister Morphine.” Paul carries the torch, as well as Ringo. But Paul is a perfect example of what the Beatles did when they first came out in the ’60s, you had the same deal—little kids who loved Beatles albums who were 7,8 and 9 years old and then you had the coolest of the cool—mid to late teens who loved the Beatles—and professors in their 40s and 50s who dug the Beatles and that was always kinda unique to them.
What’s your first memory of listening to them and was their music something that instantly grabbed you?
I have a bunch of little firsts when it comes to the Beatles. I remember hearing my first Beatles song in 1964, I was five. My first Beatles album was Rubber Soul when I was seven or eight. I remember my mom would let me walk by myself to the movie theater two miles from my house to see “Let It Be” when I was 11. I could never picture myself letting my daughter walk two miles to go see a rock-n-roll movie now. But of course, it was a different time back then.
What are your thoughts on Paul and these various classic rock gods going out to Indio for Desert Trip?
It’s beyond a trip. Not only is it a mind blower of a bill, but the average age of everybody is like 72, it really is hard to believe. I was watching a special about the Stones doing their tour in ’76 and announcer goes, “In two hours, Mick Jagger, who is a 32 year-old man will be on this stage running up and down!” It was like they couldn’t believe he’d be 32 years old playing in a rock band still. If only they knew in 2016 he’d still being doing rock concerts with Keith and Charlie, we would’ve never believed it in the 60s and 70s. But its gonna be a great show. I’m gonna go out there and broadcast live, I also do a show for XM radio called Chris Carter’s British Invasion and I’m gonna be out there for that. So maybe I’ll get to interview some of these guys, I know they’ll probably be going to bed pretty early. But I hope each act does something special for it as opposed to just doing a regular setlist. If the Stones come out and do “Let It Bleed,” or Paul McCartney comes out to do songs he’s never done before…there’s a rumor that Roger Waters is gonna do one song from every Pink Floyd album, I’d love Dylan to come out and do “Blonde on Blonde” and leaves.
What is the vibe you get from fans when you go to these live broadcast events for BWTB considering the show has been around for as long as it has?
After 33 years it’s part of people’s lives. It sounds corny or cliche that a radio station could be part of people’s lives but it really has become that. If something is always there, you can rely on it and really get used to it. But it’s the music of the Beatles that carries the weight, so to speak—not to use an overused Beatles pun there. But it’s a beautiful thing. We try to keep it fresh and have themes and make the sets sound good. And we add bits and pieces between songs, to make the listing experience more fun. It’s been fun to have the Beatles involved with the show over the years.
The British Invasion Breakfast at the Anaheim Hilton is on June 19 at 8: 30 p.m. It includes a Chef’s breakfast selection (including a traditional English Breakfast option) with your choice of two draft beers or two hand-crafted Bloody Marys for $30 per person. Children’s menu options will also be available. For more information, please visit www.opentable.com/mix-restaurant-and-lounge.