If you were born in the 1980s and have an active imagination, chances are pretty good that at some point during your childhood, you encountered Nickelodeon’s wacky, whimsical series, The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The show followed the exploits of two flame-haired brothers, both named Pete, and their (possibly imaginary) friend, Artie, a.k.a. The Strongest Man in the World. One of the most arresting things about this oddball gem of children’s programming, however, was its instantly catchy intro theme. Polaris’ “Hey Sandy” was one highlight from an entire album of bizarre, terrific pop songs that songwriting legend Mark Mulcahy wrote for the show with bassist Dave McCaffrey and drummer Scott Boutier. All three were members of the New Haven, Connecticut-based Miracle Legion, one of the most influential sleeper bands of the ’80s (Prince and Thom Yorke are both professed fans). Alas, the Pete & Pete soundtrack was a standalone project, and the closest the band came to performing live was in a particularly memorable episode, featuring a garage performance of “Summerbaby” that led Danny Tamborelli’s younger Pete on a quest through suburban streets and amateur airwaves to recapture the magic of the music that found him.
Now, after two decades of wandering, we are all invited to stumble upon that fated garage, as Mulcahy, McCaffrey, and Boutier have decided to rerun Polaris on the “Waiting For October” tour. FLOOD was present at a recent performance in Hamden, Connecticut, and can happily report that while the members of Polaris have tacked on a few years in the interim, the songs haven’t aged a tick. It’s like watching Petunia dance all over again. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of the remaining stops, do your youthful self a favor and go see this fantasy band rediscover its original form. In any case, be sure to check out Miracle Legion and Mark Mulcahy’s solo records, including this year’s excellent Dear Mark J. Mulcahy, I Love You. And revisit The Adventures of Pete & Pete intro, featuring “Hey Sandy,” below.