- - Sunday, May 17, 2015

Fans of the cult classic Nickelodeon TV show “The Adventures of Pete & Pete” will instantly recognize the name Polaris. The fictional band was the favorite of both brothers Pete and provided the real soundtrack for the show.

Composed of former Miracle Legion members Mark J. Mulcahy (vocals and guitar), Scott Boutier (drums) and Dave McCaffrey (bass), the trio appeared in the opening credits of the show playing “Hey Sandy” during its three-season run.

Since then, the make-believe band has played only a handful of gigs — until now. Mr. Mulcahy and Mr. McCaffrey took time out before a sold-out show on their recent reunion tour to discuss the weird life of a make-believe band from TV.

Question: Before you were Polaris, the band from “Pete & Pete,” you were Miracle Legion. How did you go from being Miracle Legion to Polaris?

Dave McCaffrey: There was not really a clearly defined moment where we said, “We are not Miracle Legion anymore; we’re Polaris.” I think Polaris happened at the tail end of Miracle Legion. We had been signed to a record company, and there were legal issues about what we could do that kept Miracle Legion in limbo.

Mark J. Mulcahy: Miracle Legion never really split up. When things got weird with the music business, [Mr. Boutier and Mr. McCaffrey] went out and toured with Frank Black for a long time.

DM: We toured for 10 years.

MM: Then [“Pete & Pete” creator] Will [McRobb] called and offered me the job to write the music for the show. I wrote the music for the first year, and they wanted a band to be in the opening credits. I only knew [Mr. Boutier and Mr. McCaffrey]. We were never planning on doing anything other than recording the music together and being in the opening of the show.

Q: When you recorded the songs, did you see the scenes and write them, or did you write the music and they fit it in?

MM: They wanted a library of music that they could fit in and use any way they wanted. That was my contribution: to write fours songs for each season — 12 total — for them. I worked mostly with Will on coming up with what kind of song they wanted. Not so much the lyrics, but the feel of the song was important, a general tone as to what the song was about: a sad song, a fun song, a summer song.

Q: Why did you name the band Polaris?

DM: I have a theory: Mark had always said he wanted a band name with three syllables.

MM: That was definitely the thing. But the name came from when I was sitting at my friend’s house and he had a Polaris fan. I took the sticker off the fan and said, “That will work.”

Q: What triggered this reunion tour?

DM: Two-plus years ago, there was a “Pete & Pete” event that happened out in California. That was the genesis of us going back and learning songs that we had played 20 years ago. It was a lot of fun and went off pretty well. This year, we got a gig at Comic-Con in New York, [and] from that we booked a few gigs to go along with it. My thoughts were, “Who is going to come to these shows?” The “Pete & Pete” conference and Comic-Con were a given. I am pleasantly surprised to see people are coming.

Q: How many live shows has Polaris played to date?

DM: If we include the convention a couple of years ago, 16 or 17. We have a couple more coming in New England in a few weeks. And at least one summer festival lined up.

Q: You just released a live two-CD set. What’s next?

MM: When we first started rehearsing for this tour, we thought, “Hey, we sound really good. We should make another record.” We might. We just recorded two songs that really sound like Polaris [and] released as a single.

Q: Did you develop relationships with the cast members?

MM: Danny [Tamberelli aka “Young Pete”] I know pretty well. Mike [Maronna aka “Older Pete”] I know pretty well. Toby [Huss aka “Artie”] I feel like I know. I never went to the set when they were making the show. That wasn’t really where I was at. But with these reunion events, I feel like I’ve gotten to know them pretty well.

Q: What do you think the appeal of the TV show was?

DM: I think it appeals to people who maybe don’t fit in or feel like they don’t fit in. It’s quirky and oddball. If you feel that way about yourself, then maybe you can identify with the show.

MM: I also felt the fandom of the show was a bit like fans of The Smiths. They feel like, “This guy is speaking to me. He understands me better than the rest of the world.”

• Polaris’ live two-CD set, “Live at Lincoln Hall,” is available now.

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