Could this video be more 80s?
Blotto followed up the success of I Wanna Be A Lifeguard with this song, which poked fun at the heavy metal bands that were, at that time, popular on MTV. In the video, lead singer Sarge Blotto finds himself turning into a metal head, which means wearing a bandana and a denim jacket and owning a van. I wonder how MTV felt about this video, which was essentially a good-natured parody of everything that the channel was about in the 80s.
Hailing form Albany, New York, Blotto was a band that never quite hit it big despite having a fervent cult following. An oft-repeated story about the band is that they turned down a major recording contract because they would have had to surrender creative control of their music. Instead, they released their own albums on Blotto Records, which meant less exposure but also more freedom to record what they wanted. Today, a band like Blotto can take their music directly to the people on any number of platforms but, in the early 80s, signing with a major label was the only way to get national exposure.
Blotto disbanded in 1984, though they have occasionally reunited over the years. Unfortunately, Sarge Blotto died on April 10th, 2019. In real life, Sarge Blotto was named Greg Haymes and was a widely respected music journalist.
Just in time for Friday, today’s music video is all abut quitting your job. This is the video that asks, “If Nixon could do it, why not you?”
I previously wrote about Blotto last year, when I shared their music video for I Wanna Be A Lifeguard. Sadly, despite the success of Lifeguard, Blotto never really broke into the mainstream. They did, however, have a strong cult following in the Northeast, especially among college students who appreciated their humorous lyrics and DIY style. While this video never made it into the regular MTV rotation, it did show up on Canadian television.
One final note: at the time this video was released, Blotto was being managed by none other than actor Burt Ward, who was best known for playing Robin on the 60s Batman television show.
37 years ago today, MTV first started to broadcast. Over the course of the day, the station aired 116 music videos.
Everyone knows that the first video to ever be shown on MTV was Video Killed The Radio Star by The Buggles. But did you know that the 36th video aired was Blotto’s I Wanna Be A Lifeguard?.
Who were Blotto? A new wave band from Albany, New York, they had a strong cult following among college students in the late 70s and early 80s. Much like the Ramones, all the band members used pseudonyms and took Blotto as their last name. Among the members were: Bowtie Blotto, Broadway Blotto, Cheese Blotto, Lee Harvey Blotto, Sergeant Blotto, Blanche Blotto, and Chevrolet Blotto.
I Wanna Be A Lifeguard was probably their best known song, as it was adopted as an anthem by the Jones Beach lifeguards. Before they made their MTV debut, Blotto and I Wanna Be A Lifeguard were championed by Dr. Demento and, like all good, quirky New York bands, they appeared on both The Joe Franklin Show and the Uncle Floyd Show. Today, it’s clear to see that Blotto were ahead of their time. The band’s mix of humor and music are tailor-made for the age of YouTube and social media.
As for the video, it was filmed by video production students at SUNY Albany and it feels like a cross between two quintessentially 90s shows. Starting in a shoe store and ending on the beach, I Wanna Be A Lifeguard is Married With Children meets Baywatch. Since the video came out ten years before either one of those shows premiered, I Wanna Be A Lifeguard was as ahead of its time as the band that performed it.