On March 31st, McGeary's Pub will host the first Blotto concert of the 21st century! Time TBA
Here's the pub's info:
or go to www.mcgearyspub.com
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:
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 www.metroland.net!
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: THE PARTING GLASS 40 Lake Avenue Saratoga, NY 10:00pm. 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
As of 6/30/00
Blotto vs. N Sync
"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!
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.
Upstate New York's
have released their new CD, "Once A King, Always A King". This new
collection contains the Broadway
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
Keith A. BALLSTON SPA -- Keith A. "Cheese
Stephenson, 43, of Middleline Road, Ballston Spa,
of a cardio-myopathy Sunday, October 3, in Saratoga
in Ballston Spa, July 31, 1956, he was the son of Kenneth
Stephenson. He was a 1974 graduate of Ballston Spa
He attended Berklee School of Music in Boston,
was an accomplished local musician. He played the electric
in the well known local rock band Blotto and was known
Blotto. They played in Saratoga and Albany clubs and
United States and England. He was the past owner and
former Edible Express in Saratoga Springs. He earned his
through Flight International School in Vero Beach,
owned his own airplane. He was a member of Simpson
Church in Rock City Falls and National Rifle
enjoyed reading, classic car restoration, fishing, target
the loving son of Kenneth and Louella Stephenson of
He is also survived by three sisters, Nancy Stephenson
MA, Mary Lou Stephenson Dolan of Sandwich, MA and
Michael Dolan, Rose Bain of Cossayuna and her husband
grandmother, Anna Donaldson of Saratoga Springs; two
Dolan and Kayleigh Bain; nephew, Eric Dolan; several
lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to
Memorial Fund to be used for a deserving Ballston Spa
graduating music student
Kenneth Stephenson, 1084
Road, Ballston Spa, NY 12020.
printed in THE ALBANY TIMES UNION)
Thursday, October 7, 1999 , Albany times Union
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
by Martin Benjamin Courtesy of
Metroland. Used by permission. - Originally
published October 7, 1999
The Song Is Over
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 MTV.com.
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