Blotto's name had brush with Journey fame

by Sarge Blotto


I'd like to take you back about 20 years when Blotto was just another goofball local band, slugging it out in a little club known as 17 Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs. These days, the club is known as the Metro. And what is now the disco room downstairs was then the club's only live music space.

Blotto didn't have a lot of original music to our credit back then, so we padded our three sets a night with a wide-ranging assortment of cover tunes that included a raucous rendition of Paul Revere and the Raiders' "Kicks'' and a straight-faced version of Sgt. Barry Sadler's "Ballad of the Green Berets.''

 

One evening -- I think it was June 15, 1979 -- we were churning our way through our second set of the evening when a handful of guys sporting rock-'n'-roll haircuts and satin jackets came strolling through the crowd and began to settle in at one of the empty tables off to the side of the stage.

Our lead guitarist, Broadway, immediately engaged them from the stage.

"Hey, are you guys in a band or what?'' he asked with his usual tact. "You've got to be in a band with those poodle-boy haircuts, but you must not be doing so well because it's Saturday night and you're here instead of out somewhere playing a gig.''

Fortunately, they thought that Broadway was pretty funny, and they got a good laugh out it all.

After a rousing version of the Dave Clark Five's "Can't You See That She's Mine'' to close the set, we took a break and headed over to their table to introduce ourselves. It turned out that they were indeed in a band and they did have a gig that night. They were the members of Journey and they had just stopped in for a drink after playing to thousands of screaming fans at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center earlier that evening.

Needless to say, we were a bit embarrassed. Not too embarrassed to ask them if they wanted to jam with us, however, and drummer Steve Smith (who had fairly recently joined the band as Anysley Dunbar's replacement) and guitarist Neal Schon jumped up on stage with us and cranked out a couple of extended-jam tunes like "House of the Rising Sun'' and "Johnny B. Goode.''

Afterward, they headed out of the club before we finished up our last set, and that probably would have been the end of the story.

Except that several months later, I got an excited and somewhat cryptic phone call from our fan club president, British Blotto.

"You won't believe it. You've got to get over to the Spencer Gifts store in Colonie Center,'' she declared breathlessly on my answering machine. "In the back of the store there's a big rack of rock posters. Check out number 101.''

My curiosity properly piqued, I headed over to Colonie Center the next day, flipped through the rack of posters and finally found number 101, which was a poster of our old buddies, Journey. It was a shot of them standing in a park looking like the quintessential arena-rock stars that they were at the time. And upon closer inspection, there it was hanging from Steve Smith's belt-loop -- a cardboard tag that proudly declared, "Hello! My Name is Blotto. What's Yours?''

Subliminal national promotion from Journey! Not bad for a goofball band from Albany, eh?

 

 The Official Journey Website