The Bay Bridged is excited to present the first ever Polaris (as seen on The Adventures of Pete & Pete) show in San Francisco this Friday at The Chapel. To mark the occasion, I spoke with Polaris founder and lead singer Mark Mulcahy about the origins of the Pete & Pete theme song “Hey Sandy,” his plans in San Francisco, and what is was like to have two dozen gifted musicians come together to produce the benefit album — Ciao My Shining Star — in order to raise funds to support Mulcahy after his wife suddenly died in 2008.
The Bay Bridged: What was the inspiration for putting Polaris back together and going on tour?
Mark Mulcahy: It’s a weird inspiration but we got offered a gig that was financially insane at Comic-Con. This was in New York – this guy was doing a whole Nickelodeon night and asked us to play at it and we really had no intentions of anything. No one was even thinking about it at all. This guy — Mathew Klickstein — it was his pushing. And then we said we would do it.
Once we thought about playing together, we thought we would try to get another gigs. It turned out to be a whole bunch of serendipity. Most of the gigs we have are booked with someone that is a huge fan of The Adventures of Pete & Pete. If you call up the venue and they don’t know who it is and then we said, “okay forget it.” Because we don’t really have any track record to run on — unless you’re a fan of the show and you have some understanding that there are a lot of people that want to see us.
And it’s gone really well. We’ve had a ton of sold-out shows all over the place.
TBB: You guys just played Boston for the 2015 tour. How’s it going so far?
MM: It’s great so far. Boston is a great town. Normally you could play all sorts of smaller towns but this tour we’re playing only cities. There was a guy at the Boston show that drove up from Atlanta. I would say, from what I discern, 20% of the people could have come from anywhere — flown in from Florida — and it’s just a real meaningful thing for a lot of people.
It’s been one of the greatest surprises of my whole career. I wasn’t even thinking anything about this and now it’s all I’m doing.
TBB: It’s it odd to be playing songs you guys wrote so long ago? Was it a challenge to relearn them?
MM: It wasn’t such a challenge because I’ve played some of them solo. Also we had never played them so they are, in some way, fresh to us. All we did was record them, we never played them live so these songs are new to us, too. And new to the audience because we never played a gig.
It is some hybrid of nostalgia and something else — I don’t know what the hybrid would be. It’s not oldies where we are playing the classics, these songs are old but fresh. It’s like we are the Twinkie of rock ‘n roll. We’re still edible after twenty years. That’s horribly put.