As of 6/29/06

The following email arrived in our mailbox recently:

Dear Mr. Blotto,

It's my pleasure to inform you that you and your fellow Blottomen have secured a spot on MARTHA QUINN'S TOP 5 80'S TOUR DE FORCES!

Are you #5?
No, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Parents Just Don't Understand will be at that address.

Hmmm. What about #4?
Nope, not that either, that honor went to the Beastie Boys for You Gotta Fight For Your Right To Party.

Well surely you must be #3 then?
Oh gosh no, I'm so sorry! #3 is taken by Frank and Moon Zappa's Valley Girl.

So where is Blotto on the countdown of MARTHA QUINN'S TOP 5 80'S TOUR DE FORCES?

That's right folks, right between Valley Girl and Video Killed the Radio Star, (I had to, anything else would have been sacreligious!) please find the brilliant I WANNA BE A LIFEGUARD by BLOTTO!!!

This riveting ascent up the mountain of 80's Tour De Forces can be heard this week on

Martha Quinn Presents… Gods of the Big '80s
Saturdays Noon ET
Reairs Saturdays 8 am ET, 8 pm ET, Sunday 1 am ET & 3 pm ET, Monday midnight ET, Wednesday 11 pm ET

Congratulations, you must be thrilled beyond words.

Best Wishes,


Not bad, huh? Blotto is also all over the XM sattelite network. Just click HERE to see where to find them:

As of 06/15/05

Here's the full scoop on the July 16th gig:


Pittsfield, MA—The Storefront Artist Project announces
its 2005 summer benefit event –TALENT SHOW—Saturday
July 16, at the Berkshire Music Hall, 30 Union Avenue,
Pittsfield at 7:30 PM -- a four-hour musical
extravaganza featuring four incredible bands:

BLOTTO – MTV pioneers, best known for the 80’s beach
classic “I Wanna Be A Lifeguard,” the desperate cry
for help “Metalhead,” and teen pop death-song “My
Baby’s The Star of a Driver’s Ed Movie” (8:30 pm)

ED MANN AND FRIENDS – Long-time Frank Zappa cohort,
master percussionist, gongalier, and composer, leading
the all-star reggae-jazz quartet, ‘Jaz’ (7:30 pm)

MELODROME -- The pride of Housatonic, Robbie
Baier-led rock trio plays from their intense new disk
“Happens While You Blink” (9:30 pm)

HECTOR ON STILTS – Proud Storefront Artists and
BMI-award winning group featuring Jeb and Clayton
Colwell, hot on the release of their new disk “Same
Height Relation” (10:30 pm)

The Berkshire Music Hall lobby will host a show of
works by Storefront Artist Project (“SAP”) graphic
designer Mark Tomasi. For the first time, large
scale, framed archival prints of Mark’s posters and
designs will be available for sale. Proceeds of the
event will benefit the Storefront Artist Project and
Pittsfield’s Youth Alive.

The Storefront Artist Project is a not-for-profit
organization dedicated to the promotion of art and
working artists in Pittsfield, MA. Over the last three
years, the Storefront Artist Project has collaborated
with local landlords, engaging available commercial
storefronts for use as free or reduced- rent artist
studios for over thirty artists. This event celebrates
the close of a three year run in two separate
storefront locations in Pittsfield: the ten-artist
studio complex at 55 North Street, and the first
storefront studio at 297 North Street. Both locations
will return to commercial use and include plans for
new construction.

The event also celebrates the opening of Storefront
Artist Project’s first-ever headquarters in the Howard
Building at 124 Fenn Street in July 2005. The new
storefront space in the front will be a home to
rotating, visiting artists. Inside, the
‘ante-storefront’ will feature a library, lounge,
project, and classroom space.

Doors open at 7pm.

As of 05/28/05

Saturday, July 16th. The show is at the Berkshire Music Hall in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and will feature guests Ed Mann, Hector on Stilts, and Melodrome.

Blotto would like to help you ring in 2006, or ring out 2005, depending on how you look at it! Saratoga Springs, NY is hosting a festival called "First Night Saratoga." Blotto and The McKrells will participate in the festival by playing at the convention center!

For more info, look below for info and websites--

Saturday July 16th Berkshire Music Hall
30 Union Street in downtown Pittsfield Massachusetts
w/ Ed Mann, Hector on Stilts, and Melodrome

December 31st "First Night Saratoga"
Saratoga Convention Center with the McKrells

As of 9/9/04

What are you doing October 2? Nothing? Great! Come to the Berkshire Music Hall in beautiful Pittsfield, Massachusetts for a great Blotto show!!

You busy October 23rd? Tough! Blotto's playing Revolution Hall in Troy, NY with Fear of Strangers!

As of 11/09/03

McGeary's Pub in Albany, NY hosts Blotto on December 13th at 9:30pm! There is a $5.00 cover. That's less than $1 per band member! Go to for more details.

As of 9/10/03

Blotto plays Revolution Hall, in Troy NY, on Saturday, October 18th. Doors open at 8:30pm, with Lawn Sausages playing at 9:30 and Blotto at 10:30. Tickets are $10.00 in advance, $12.00 at the door. Go to for more details.

As of 8/8/03

Blotto's Van Dyck show is totally confirmed! August 15th at 7:00pm and 9:30pm. Go to for directions or other details. The Van Dyck is a restaurant/bar in Schenectady, NY.
It also looks like we're gonna get a show in October...the 18th, to be precise, at Revolution Hall performing arts center, in Troy, NY. Got to for more details.

As of 6/21/03

Here's the latest and most complete information regarding the two Blotto shows in July:

Time: 6 pm
Free Admission
Opening act: Rocky Velvet (
Blotto performs at 7:30 pm

Location: Brunswick Family Community Center, Keyes Lane, Troy, New York
Mapquest link:

"Various vendors will be available for food and fun. "

Altamont Fairgrounds (
Party begins at 4:00pm and continues to 11:00pm
Blotto plays before fireworks, but exact time is sketchy.
Other bands include:

GE Smith Trio
(show after fireworks)
The Lustre Kings
Blue Machine
Taylor Barton

$8.00 gets you into the park. Children 12 and under are free.

An evening filled with music, mouth watering food and beverages, fireworks and fun for the whole family.
Family Entertainment sponsored by Fort William Henry
Pony Rides — Magic Shows — Clowns
Face Painting — Caricatures — and much much more...
Also featuring:
Demolition Derby sponsored by Adirondack Tire - 4-5pm & 6-7pm
Classic Car Show sponsored by Enchanted Forest Water Safari
(free admission with classic car!)

Altamont is located approximately 10 miles west of Albany, NY. The Fairgrounds are at the base of the Heldeberg Escarpment, historic hills rich in bluestone, fossils and early New York history.

From the NORTH on I-87 (Northway):
Take I-87 south to Albany. Do NOT take Exit One for the I-90 / I-87 New York Thruway. Stay in the LEFT LANE and continue to Rt. 20 (Western Avenue). Turn right (west) on Rt. 20. Follow Rt. 20 about 5 miles west to Rt. 146 west. Turn left on Rt. 146 towards Altamont. Turn left at the Altamont Fairgrounds sign (just under 6 miles).
From the SOUTH on I-87 (NY Thruway):
Take Exit 24. Follow signs to Rt. 20, Western Ave. (It’s the first exit, immediately after the toll booth). Turn right (west) on Rt. 20. Follow Rt. 20 about 5 miles west to Rt. 146 west. Turn left on Rt. 146 towards Altamont. Turn left at the Altamont Fairgrounds sign (just under 6 miles).
From the EAST on I-90:
From the direction of Massachusetts and eastern New York follow I-90 to Exit B-1. Follow this non-Thruway section of I-90 to the Fuller Road Exit in Albany. Turn left on Fuller Rd. and continue to Rt. 20 (Western Ave). Turn right (west) on Rt. 20. Follow Rt. 20 west about 5.5 miles to Rt. 146 west. Turn left on Rt. 146 towards Altamont. Turn left at the Altamont Fairgrounds sign (just under 6 miles).
From the WEST on I-90 (NY Thruway):
I-90 to Exit 25. After toll booth, follow signs to Rt. 146 (immediate fork to right). Left on Rt. 146. Turn left (east) on Rt. 20. Turn right on Rt. 146 towards Altamont. Turn left at the Altamont Fairgrounds sign (just under 6 miles).

As of 10/20/01

Due to unforseen circumstances, the Blottoween/Fear Of Strangers extravaganza has been cancelled.

As of 9/23/01
The tragedy on September 11th has had a tremendous impact on the country, especially New York. Everyone has been
affected in some way or another.
Blotto has decided it would be phony to play their September 29th show, and pretend they weren't feeling the grief of the
country. We apologize and hope you understand.

As of 8/26/01
On Friday, July 20th, THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN featured the "Top Ten Pet Peeves Of Lifeguards", and whaddya suppose Paul and band played at the end of the piece? That's right! Blotto's own "I Wanna Be A Lifeguard"! We have a clip of the piece right HERE

As of 6/23/01
Blotto will play two shows this fall at McGeary's Pub.
The first is on September 29th, 2001.
The second brings Blotto together with FEAR OF STRANGERS on October 27th.

McGeary's Pub

4 Clinton Square
Albany NY

As of 4/5/01
Blotto plays Tawasenthwa Park in Guilderland, NY on Thursday, June 14th.
Jeff Strange opens at 7. Blotto takes the stage at 8. This a FREE SHOW!
The park is 1 mile down Route 146 from the intersection of Routes 20 and 146 (Western Ave.)...on the left.
Free, family oriented entertainment! What a way to start the summer!
As of 2/22/01

On March 31st, McGeary's Pub will host the first Blotto concert of the 21st century! Time TBA

Here's the pub's info:

4 Clinton Square
Albany NY

or go to

As of 11/29/00

On December 9th, McGeary's Pub will host the last Blotto concert of the 20th century! Doors open at 9, and Blotto hits the stage at 11:00pm

Here's the pub's info:

4 Clinton Square
Albany NY

or go to

As of 9/23/00

The famed Capital Region paper, Metroland, has done a cover story on Blotto. Go out and buy it for new photos and interviews!

Or, if you're a cheapskate, go to!

As of 8/24/00

Blotto will be treating the town of Saratoga Springs to a night of fun and great music on September 9th.  
THE PARTING GLASS will host the festivities at 10:00pm, so get there early, grab a pint o'Guinness Stout and 
kiss the Blotto stone. (that was horrible, sorry.)  Here's the info:
40 Lake Avenue
Saratoga, NY
Phone: (518) 583-1916 

If you don't trust your local record store to stock such fine funk as Blotto's new CD, "Then More Than Ever", 
just go to CD NOW and pre order your copy now!  And just look at that price!  Why are you still reading this?  
You should be preordering now!

As of 7/22/00

"Then More Than Ever," Blotto's next CD, will be released on September 12th, 2000. It will be available wherever fine CDs are sold.

Lee Harvey Blotto has changed his name! You may now refer to him as F. Lee Harvey Blotto. Click HERE to see why.

As of 6/30/00

Blotto vs. N Sync

Blotto will be shakin' the the little club in downtown Albany, known as Savannah's, on Wednesday, July 12th.

"Oh, no! July 12th? *N Sync is playing that very night!" I hear you cry. Have no fears, Soccer moms! Now you can drop your giggly children off at the *N Sync show and boogie on down to Savannah's and giggle the night away yourself!

Just show your Mini-van registration at the door and get $1.00 off! Rock On!
As of 5/07/00

Hoo Boy, have we got news for you!

Early this summer, Blotto will release their first CD since 1994's "Collected Works". The CD is called "Then More Than Ever" and will contain unreleased studio tracks as well as live cuts recorded at "The Chance" in Poughkeepsie.. If you think you've heard these tracks before, think again!! We'll keep you posted about the release and the track listing.

To promote the new CD, Blotto has announced two live shows at The Bottom Line, NYC on Friday, July 21. Hope to see you there!

Stop drooling, I'm not done yet.

Blotto will also be making an appearance on Carmine's Table, a cooking show on WNYT, Channel 13 in Albany, NY. The show will air on May 19 at 11:00am and then again on May 20 at 2:00am. Don't miss it!

What? That's not enough for you?? All right, how about this? Blotto has recorded the new theme song for Carmine's Table!! Yep, that's right! The first new recorded material from the band in 17 years!! Hopefully, we'll have it available on the website in the very near future. Once again, we'll keep you posted.

As of 3/15/00

Upstate New York's THE LUSTRE KINGS have released their new CD, "Once A King, Always A King". This new collection contains the Broadway Blotto-penned "1,2,3, Hang Up." The song was written for Blotto and even recorded by Blotto, but still remains unreleased by Blotto . Click HERE for the MetroLand review.

As of 11/14/99
Stephenson, Keith A. BALLSTON SPA -- Keith A. "Cheese
Blotto" Stephenson, 43, of Middleline Road, Ballston Spa, died
suddenly of a cardio-myopathy Sunday, October 3, in Saratoga Springs.
Born in Ballston Spa, July 31, 1956, he was the son of Kenneth and
Louella Stephenson. He was a 1974 graduate of Ballston Spa High
School. He attended Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
Keith was an accomplished local musician. He played the electric bass
guitar in the well known local rock band Blotto and was known as
Cheese Blotto. They played in Saratoga and Albany clubs and toured
the United States and England. He was the past owner and operator of
the former Edible Express in Saratoga Springs. He earned his pilots
license through Flight International School in Vero Beach, Florida
and owned his own airplane. He was a member of Simpson United
Methodist Church in Rock City Falls and National Rifle Association.
He enjoyed reading, classic car restoration, fishing, target shooting
and his motorcycle.
He was the loving son of Kenneth and Louella Stephenson of Ballston
Spa. He is also survived by three sisters, Nancy Stephenson of
Mashpee, MA, Mary Lou Stephenson Dolan of Sandwich, MA and her
husband Michael Dolan, Rose Bain of Cossayuna and her husband Ken
Bain; grandmother, Anna Donaldson of Saratoga Springs; two nieces,
Jessica Dolan and Kayleigh Bain; nephew, Eric Dolan; several aunts,
uncles and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Keith
Stephenson Memorial Fund to be used for a deserving Ballston Spa High
School graduating music student
c/o Kenneth Stephenson, 1084
Middleline Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.
(Originally printed in THE ALBANY TIMES UNION)


First published:

Thursday, October 7, 1999 , Albany times Union

Precious moments

by Sarge Blotto

Vivid memories pop up after Cheese Blotto's death

It's funny what memories pop into your head after you lose someone who is close to you. When I heard on Sunday that my pal and bandmate Cheese Blotto had died, all sorts of images flashed through my brain.

I remember the first night I met Cheese back in the '70s when a band that I was in, the Star Spangled Washboard Band, was looking for a new bassist. We went down to Shea's Little Bavaria in Albany to check him out where he was playing with Chuck Wilson's country band, Dallas. There was no question that he was the right man for the job.

I remember how Blotto never would have become a band if it hadn't been for Cheese. In the late '70s, he was bartending at 17 Maple Avenue in Saratoga Springs (now known as the Metro), but he could get out of his bartending chores if he could gather together some musicians to play with in the back room. So he kept calling us up, and gradually we just became a band.

I remember the night in the dressing room of a Brooklyn rock club when, sometime between the soundcheck and the show, Cheese first decided to shave his head. It became his trademark look, and now I have a difficult time picturing him with hair.

I remember sitting in countless hotel rooms watching Clint Eastwood movies with him. Eventually, he could recite most of the dialogue from "Dirty Harry.''

I remember that every time we played "The Nowtones,'' Cheese and I would both look at each other and jump up into the air at the same time in the middle of the song. Every time. But I don't remember why.

I remember listening to George Jones tapes over and over in the van as we rolled down the highway from one show to another, and how even a "real man'' like Cheese would well up with tears when George sang, "He Stopped Loving Her Today.''

I remember that cocked eyebrow and maniacal gleam in his eyes whenever he thundered through "Metal Head.''

I remember that every time we were headed out on the road, we'd meet at the van, and I'd say, "Cheese, do you have your luggage?'' He'd say, "Yup,'' and toss in the brown paper grocery bag that contained his clothes for the week.

I remember that after Blotto had run its course, and each of the band members took straight jobs (like this one), Cheese was the only one who stayed in the music biz, playing bass with local rockabilly favorites Johnny Rabb and the Jailhouse Rockers.

But most vividly, I remember a night about 15 or 16 years ago when Blotto was playing in Detroit. It was my birthday, and after the gig we had a little champagne celebration in the backstage dressing room. The rest of the guys in the band packed it in after that, but I wanted to go out somewhere for a nightcap, and Cheese said he'd be glad to tag along.

We found a nightclub about a block from the hotel, but they wouldn't let us in because I didn't have any ID with me. I laughed and decided to call it a night, but Cheese said, "No, let's do this right. It's your birthday.''

So we went back to the band van, dug through my shoulder bag for my wallet and ran back to the club, laughing all the way. This time they let us in, and we took stools at the bar with about a dozen other patrons, while a Nowtones-like lounge band in matching outfits ran through the hits of the day on a tiny stage behind the bar.

Before I knew it, Cheese had sent drinks up to the band along with a message. He bought a round of drinks for the bar, and then suddenly, the band stopped playing "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show'' and broke into "Happy Birthday.'' It was the sweetest, most touching birthday present that I received that year.

And that's how I'll remember Cheese -- a bald-headed, big-hearted friend to the end.

Funeral services for Cheese (aka Keith Stephenson) will be held this morning in his hometown of Ballston Spa.

And one of Cheese's very favorite bands, NRBQ, will be playing tonight at the Big House in Albany. A coincidence? Somehow I don't think so.

In Blotto, Cheese didn't get many opportunities to sing. (Who would with a bunch of spotlight hogs like the rest of us in the band?) But whenever he did get a chance to step up to the microphone, his favorite selection to sing was invariably NRBQ's jaunty "Ain't No Free.''

NRBQ and Blotto shared many a stage over the years, but while Blotto faded away in the late '80s, NRBQ has never slowed down.

Whenever NRBQ is in town, it's pretty much a guaranteed good time. Even when the band is having an off-night, they're more exciting than most arena-rock stars. And when they're having a good night, all you can do is jump on the dance floor and marvel at the wildly eclectic grab bag of pop, rock, jazz and whatever that the crazed quartet churns out.

NRBQ is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Their music already has popped up on three recent episodes of "The Simpsons,'' and they'll be back on the show again in cartoon form next month. They spent some of their summer recording the soundtrack music for an upcoming Sandra Bullock movie. And they just released their first new studio album in, well, let's just say too long. The album -- simply titled "NRBQ,'' just like their 1969 debut -- features 15 fresh new tunes from the band.

And it seems only fitting that Cheese Blotto's swansong recording would have an NRBQ connection. As a side-project band calling themselves the Neanderthals, Cheese teamed up with Johnny Rabb and guitarslinger Eddie Angel (another Star Spangled Washboard Band alum) to play marvelous raw, primitive rock 'n' roll like "Toe Rag Twitch,'' "The Neanderthal Twist'' and "Rockin' in the Jungle.''

This summer, the Neanderthals released their latest album, "The Modern Stone-Age Family,'' on Sundazed Records. Playing drums on the album was NRBQ drummer Tommy Ardolino and handling the production chores (as well as adding his trademark madcap piano pounding) was none other than NRBQ keyboard maniac Terry Adams.

What a way to go, Cheese.

The Song Is Over

-Peter Hanson

photograph by Martin Benjamin

Courtesy of Metroland. Used by permission.


Originally published October 7, 1999


The royal family of Albany's '80s rock scene lost one of its members this weekend when Keith A. Stephenson-better known to scenesters as Cheese Blotto-died on Sunday. Although he last played bass with Blotto about two years ago when the beloved novelty group opened an Albany gig for classic-rockers Blue Oyster Cult, the bald-headed Stephenson was still closely associated with the Blotto mystique. He is remembered by friends as being not only a consummate musician but also a consummate cut-up.

Stephenson, 43, was found early Sunday morning in the cab of his truck, which was parked in Saratoga Spa State Park. Saratoga County Coroner Thomas A. Salvadore told the Daily Gazette that the cause of death was a heart problem aggravated by an existing liver condition. Albany attorney Paul Rapp, a Metroland writer and, under the stage name Lee Harvey Blotto, the group's drummer, said he received the news of Stephenson's death with a mix of "sadness and anger."

"He brought virtuoso musicianship and a deep understanding of every genre of music to the band," Rapp says, "and a profound sense of humor."

A viable funny bone was necessary for life in Blotto, who made their mark in 1980 with the MTV hit "I Wanna Be a Lifeguard." Boasting a jittery new-wave sound and broadly satirical lyrics, the group hit the charts again in 1983 with "Metalhead." They stopped recording original material the same year and spent the latter part of the '80s off the road and out of the studio as band members drifted into private life. By 1992, when the group did their first big reunion gigs, Stephenson was the only member who was still a full-time musician.

His activities reached far beyond music, however. A Ballston Spa native, he was a licensed pilot, avid hunter and member of the National Rifle Association. His hobbies included restoring classic cars, and he briefly owned a Saratoga Springs business called Edible Express.

It's ironic that Blotto's goofy music is what many area residents will remember Stephenson for, because he was actually a Berklee College-trained player who&emdash;along with Rapp&emdash;formed the tightly wound rhythm section that helped give Blotto credibility even as their silly songs made them appear to be rock's court jesters.

Rapp says that although he didn't see Stephenson much outside of Blotto gigs in recent years, whenever they started playing together, it was "like putting on the most comfortable pair of shoes I've ever owned."

Asked for a moment that crystallized the dynamic between Stephenson and the other band members, Rapp pauses for a moment, then describes this scene: "Four in the morning. Thruway rest stop. I ran ahead and got right in the middle of a long line of urinals. There was no one else around. I dropped my pants to my ankles. Cheese came in and just fell down on the floor, he was laughing so hard."

But just in case this anecdote creates the impression that life with Blotto was all about cheap laughs, Rapp acknowledges that he'll miss everything about Stephenson, not just his sense of humor. "I loved him like a brother," Rapp says.

Family members request that instead of flowers, mourners send donations to the Keith Stephenson Memorial Fund. A scholarship will be given to a Ballston Spa High School graduating music student in Stephenson's name. Also, Rapp says a concert benefiting the fund probably will be scheduled in the near future and will feature Blotto as well as other bands.


The following item is from

 Keith A. Stephenson, a.k.a. Cheese Blotto, the bass player from '80s rock group Blotto, was found dead early Sunday morning, according to "The Saratogian." He was 43 years old.

The paper reports that Lt. Edward Moore of the Saratoga Springs police found Stephenson at 3:07 a.m. Sunday morning in Spa State Park. Lt. Moore told MTV News that Stephenson had been in his truck at the time of his death.

Saratoga County Coroner Tom Salvadore was quoted in "The Saratogian" as saying that Stephenson died of heart problems brought on by a liver condition.

Blotto was one of the first groups to get played on MTV when the channel first launched; its biggest hit was "I Wanna Be A Lifeguard." Some of the band's other popular songs included "She's Got A Big Boyfriend," "My Baby's The Star Of A Driver's Ed Movie," and "Metal Head," the latter of which was a collaboration with Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser of the Blue Öyster Cult.

As homage to the Ramones, the bandmembers each took "Blotto" as his surname; other members of the band included Sarge Blotto, Broadway Blotto, Bowtie Blotto, and Lee Harvey Blotto. The band's offbeat sense of humor made them favorites on Dr. Demento's infamous radio show and on college radio, despite the fact that they were unable to get signed to a major label.

The band broke up in 1984; however, they reunited in 1987, and have occasionally played together since then.

Contributions in Stephenson's name may be made the Rubin Dialysis Center, 59 Myrtle Street, Saratoga Springs, New York, 12866, or to a deserving Ballston Spa High School graduating music student c/o Kenneth Stephenson, 1084 Middleline Road, Ballston Spa, New York 12020.


-- Brian Ives