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They were the shouldabeen Monkees of the early 80s, the thinking man’s “Weird Al” Yankovic and, judging from their video’s appearance on MTV’s first day, the lineal ancestors of Britney Spears. And now, as definitive proof that the rock nostalgia trend is burning itself out, they’re back, puffing their new CD, “Then More Than Ever.” Yes, Blotto is back. The cult parody band best known for “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” will play at New York’s Bottom Line on July 21. Only it turns out that, all along, drummer Paul Rapp just wanted to be a lawyer. Blotto’s biggest break came in 1980, when some kids at the State University of New York at Albany filmed a video of “I Wanna Be a Lifeguard” as their senior project and passed it on to friends who were testing a new concept called Music Television. Disk jockey Dr. Demento latched onto Blotto that same year, and Rapp quit his job as an economist for New York’s Public Service Commission. Blotto enjoyed a self-fancied run as “the band that painted a mustache on the face of pop music.” Other discographic lowlights include the teen death rock parody, “My Baby’s the Star of a Driver’s Ed Movie” and “Metal Head,” which contains the deathless lyric “Wanna customize my van, and I don’t even own one.” But by 1984, Rapp found himself playing square dance music at a dude ranch and hitting rimshots for a talking horse. “A year ago I’m on MTV, and now I’m taking cues from a barnyard animal,” he recalls. He took the LSAT the next day. Rapp had been known on stage as Lee Harvey Blotto, which caused him some discomfort when, in filling out the bar’s character committee form, he encountered question No. 1: “Are you now, or have you ever been, known by any other names?” Rapp was admitted, and now practices at the Albany boutique Cohen Dax & Koenig His sordid past (he once impersonated a dead Karen Carpenter on stage) has turned out to be an asset. “An opposing lawyer will stop me in the middle of an argument and say, ‘I know who you are. I saw you five times in college and got smashed.’ “ Rapp teaches intellectual property at SUNY Albany. But his star turn as a rocker-lawyer came when he defended a Swedish fanzine against the artist formerly and once again known as Prince, in between being known by a glyph. According to the fanzine’s lawyers, Prince had sent the fanzine his glyph on a disc; then, when the editors remarked on Prince’s failure to write a good song in the 1990s, turned around and sued them for unauthorized glyph use. The lawyers threatened Prince with a deposition, and last summer, he backed down. In a wonderful twist, the second lawyer representing the fanzine was also an ex-rocker associate — lead guitarist Alex Hahn of the post-punk, pre-alternative Volcano Suns. Hahn is a commercial litigator at Boston’s Lurie & Krupp and a pro bono music columnist. “Lawyer rock ‘n’ roll is no oxymoron,” as I related in a column of that title a year ago. The rocker column tied for second in reader response with my marathoner column — both running a distant second to a workaholics column. There are natural affinities between law, running and workaholism. Rockers are just vocal. Rocker-associates tend to be wannabes or barely-have-beens such as Blotto. Talented wannabes include Paul Stancil, of Baker & Botts, who writes country music, and The Frivolous Suits, a classic rock/funk band that plays the Washington, D.C., club scene, and features Tim Armstrong, of D.C.’s Howrey Simon Arnold & White, and Danno Farrington, of that city’s Crowell & Moring. Blotto’s Paul Rapp is a big defender of Napster — partly, he confides, because he’s thrilled that anyone even wants to pirate him. Assuming Blotto’s comeback kills the nation’s appetite for nostalgia, young musician-lawyers would do better to look to Dan Gottlieb as a role model. The creative Gottlieb, of Seattle’s Gottlieb Fisher & Andrews, works music into his life by taking out his tuba and tooting “We’re in the Money” at municipal bond closings. In Memoriam. On an altogether different note, I would like to mourn the passing, on July 8, of political lawyer and law professor Peter M. Cicchino, who died at age 39 after a battle with colon cancer. Although never an associate, Cicchino founded his great legacy — the Urban Justice Center’s Lesbian and Gay Youth Project — while on a Skadden Fellowship. He inspired scores of future associates as a student at Harvard Law School and a teacher at American University’s Washington College of Law. A member of the Jesuit religious order as a young man, Cicchino was arrested more than 100 times in nonviolent political protests. At Harvard, in the spring of 1992, he was the student lawyer who argued to the disciplinary board on behalf of the “Griswold Nine,” the students who staged a sit-in at the dean’s office in a protest over faculty diversity. Cicchino went on to give an address at commencement and to clerk for New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Alan B. Handler. The week he died, the Lesbian and Gay Youth Project suffered a setback, losing a federal appeal on behalf of gay foster children. But Cicchino would not have despaired. However hard the quest for social justice, he wrote, “the process of becoming and being a political lawyer is something beautiful. It should make us happy and proud.” His life was, to use the title of the book he had hoped to write, An Argument for Goodness.”

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