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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

Chris Opperman

The Bottom Line
New York, NY
August 14, 1998

The Bottom Line
New York, NY
October 26, 1998

Greetings, citizens of Dolphania! Oppy here to tell you about my mad phat experiences as Guest Host of both shows at The Bottom Line in New York City. We will begin with the show in August '98 because, according to Greggary Peccary, this show occurred before the other show. Right? Right-O.

The Bottom Line - August 14, 1998

As you all know, this particular show was awarded the "Best Overall Crowd and Best Overall Venue Award" by Mr. Bryan Beller, and I was also awarded "Most Musically Tweaked Guest Host" by the same amazing dude, even if he insists on calling me "kid" when I'm 20 years old and all grown up now. As far as the best crowd stuff goes, I was pumped and primed for this show weeks before it actually occurred. It was all I talked about to my friends, and I was even PRACTICING my trumpet for awhile so I could blast away at the show, and all would be good in Oppyland.

So the day of the show, I had serious ants in my pants, and I was running around like a madman trying to get everything set-up perfectly. I had my hair cut in the morning by the amazing Denise Anderson, and I picked up my Calvin Klein suit at the dry cleaners, I did some sit-ups to try and hide the fact that I'm pregnant with beef enchiladas, I played all my Arban's and Schlockhsburg junk on the trumpet, and bopped my ass over to Tanya Smith's house to pick her up. She immediately commented that I should ditch the hat and sunglasses which adorned my head for both shows in LA that I was at in May and the BPC show in July, and I said, "No way, man!"

Then, we picked up my friend John Von Achen, my brother David, and my dad's client and friend Jeff Stone. Then, we FINALLY went to New York, and I was going totally bonkers in the car. So we get to the club, and Mr. Chatfield lets me in, and I don't know what happened to my entourage at that point, but they apparently made it in the club, so it was all good. I started chilling out backstage and being myself and all that jazz, and it was really cool. Bob Tedde and I got into a really in-depth conversation about something I don't remember now. However, it was just really cool to get to hang out with the band and all that hanging out with the band kind-of good stuff.

Anyway, eventually MK came in and they worked out a set-list, and it was all going to be good to go. It was show-time, and I came out in my opulent splendor (minus the hat and sunglasses...MK agreed with Tanya, so MK and Tanya won out, although I found out later that Heather La Mastro asked MK if I was the lost member of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones). Anyway, MK introduced me, and I got back this huge applause, which was rather surprising, and we burst into the "Oppy Intro" as it was written on the set-list, which basically consisted of me blasting out a fanfare on my trumpet. I then introduced the band (my favorite part of this intro was making Marc Ziegenhagen play the killer quintuplets at the end of the Drowning Witch Interlude), and everything was totally awesome. I was a happy guy. Everything about this show was 100% magic, I can't even adequately describe in words how awesome this gig was. I'm looking very forward to obtaining the video to this performance...even if J didn't manage to catch my opening trumpet stuff.

After BFD finished performing, Ed Palermo's Big Band took the stage, and they sounded mad phat AND a bag of chips. They played a plethora of Zappa tunes, most of which I don't remember, but J sat at our table, and we were all singing along to most of the songs, and MK was rocking out, and it was just so freaking cool. Towards the end of the set, they surprised MK with their arrangements of "Frang Tang, The Valentine Bear" and "There Have Been Bad Moments." You should have heard it, it was SO awesome, and it was so great seeing the look on MK's face as he worded "fuck me" with his mouth when the first giant chord came down. SO awesome.

After that, it was time for the second set, and I was ready to go out and do my thing, when MK asked me to play by myself for a little bit while they completed tuning their instruments. So here I was, in NYC, at a famous club, playing my SECONDARY instrument...by MYSELF. So what did I play? Sunshine of Your Love, of course! I don't remember most of the stuff I played, but I also played the opening line to the alto solo on "The Confidence Song," an as-yet unreleased Oppy Music composition. Anyway, MK eventually stopped me and asked me to play a duet with him, and I said, "Sure! What key?" and he replied, "O Minus."

So we played in O minus, and eventually the rest of the band came in, and I remember this rocking super super hard. Then I went backstage and was preparing to do Pencil Music (which never happened, but that's OK), and Chatfield sent me out with the digital camera to take a shot of MK and MZ kicking ass during the killer 7/16 section of Inca Roads.

I really love TRANQUILLADO. Just thought I should mention that. I was hoping that they would play The Unhappy Monologist, but they didn't. But that's OK.

Anyway, after this set was completed, I had to bounce because Tanya needed to be home by 1 AM, so I said my goodbyes and I went bye-bye.

The Bottom Line October 26, 1998

This is a day that will forever live in infamy, as far as I'm concerned. It'll be a personal holiday of mine for both wonderful and terrible reasons.

I woke up at about 9:30, and I went downstairs to take a shower. I was in a damn good mood, considering that I would be taking a trip down to south Jersey to pick up 2,000 copies of Oppy Music, Vol. I: Purple, Crayon. (which you should get, if you haven't gotten it already). I mean, my life couldn't have been more perfect at that moment. Here I was, 19 years old, and I had a CD coming out that was 100% mine, funded by me, written and arranged by me, and produced by Mike Keneally, my all-time favorite Zappa side-man, and I was going into NYC to release it at The Bottom Line. Anyway, I was getting dressed when my dad came downstairs, and he called me out of the bathroom, and he was quite visibly upset. My first thought was that something had gone wrong with the CD's and that I wouldn't be getting them that day. However, the truth was something much more terrible.

As it turned out, my Aunt Janet and Uncle John, who we were meeting in NYC for dinner and the BFD show to celebrate the release of my CD, were in a terrible car crash late the night before. My aunt was instantly killed, and my Uncle John had 5 broken ribs and a punctured lung. The Random Factor had claimed another victim. I didn't even know what to say or do, but my dad went upstairs to make the funeral arrangements, and I went out to Quick Check to get a sandwich and a soda.

When I got back, I sat in my living room and wrote in my journal for awhile. My dad called me upstairs to tell me that I should still go to the show that night, although he wasn't going to be able to be there himself. Of course I was going to go to the show, no matter what happened, because the only excuse for missing a gig is a funeral...yours.

Eventually my brother David showed up and we went down to Pennsauken to pick up the Oppy Music CD's. I was driving, and we finally got there only to have our sales person tell us that the CD's weren't ready yet and that we should go have lunch and come back, and then they would be ready. So David and I went out for lunch and came back, and the CD's were finally ready, so we loaded them in the car and took off. At this point, time was of the essence, since I had to get my ass out to NY. So, as soon as I got home, I threw on my suit, called John Von Achen and Noelle Hartline to let them know I was coming, and off we went. First, we stopped at Tanya's house so I could give her a copy of the CD, and I told her about my aunt, and she was really sad. Tanya couldn't go to the concert because she had school the next day...fair enough, says me.

So we booked to NYC as fast as we could, and I got out of the car and brought in a couple hundred CD's for MK to sell. I hung out with the band a bit, to be quite honest, I don't really remember much about this gig...I just remember doing my best to have a good time and not bring everybody down. I did have a really fun time, however. During the first set of this show, I was fired as Guest Host for introducing Bryan as "Brianna Bel-Air," which I thought was hilarious, but hey. During the second set of the show, I came up adorned in tons of MK merchandise and gave a little speech about why everyone should go and give Cami $20. It was fun. Oh, yeah! I also mentioned the fact that my CD had just been released, and MK and BFD did a little cheer for me. I spent most of the night giving away (and selling) CD's to a plethora of people, and giving autographs and all that good stuff. Cal Schenkel even asked for my autograph, and at that point, I thought life was very strange. I mean, here I was and CAL SCHENKEL was asking for MY autograph. Wacky stuff, I tell ya. Anyway, a bunch of people asked where my trumpet was, but it was still at Berklee (I was cutting school to go this gig...a naughty boy, am I), but all in all it was pretty fun. Oh, my God! During "The Wreckage Was Large" I couldn't stop laughing because MK was HILARIOUS, oh, wow, that was one of the funniest things I had ever seen.

Another good story to tell: After the first BFD set, I sat by my entourage, and my friend Noelle passed me a folder and said, "Some lady told me to give this to you, but she made me promise not to look at it, and not to tell you who gave it to me." So I checked it out, and it was the letterhead and business cards for Purple Cow Records. Mr. wolrab is one wacky guy, let me tell you.

OK, I'm done now.



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Mike Keneally's Guest Host Hall Of Fame

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