Polaris in concert at College Street Music Hall, May 2015
|Origin||New Haven, Connecticut, USA|
|Years active||1993–1996, 2012, 2014–present|
|Labels||The Mezzotint Label|
|Associated acts||Mark Mulcahy
Henning Ohlenbusch (2012-)
Polaris is an indie rock band that initially formed as a one-off musical project in the mid-1990s involving members of the New Haven indie rock band Miracle Legion. They were commissioned specifically to produce music for the Nickelodeon television show The Adventures of Pete & Pete, which was later compiled into the group's first and only album. Nearly twenty years after the show was cancelled, Polaris re-emerged with its first tour and a cassingle of two new songs.
Mark Mulcahy, Scott Boutier, and Dave McCaffrey performed music for the Nickelodeon television show The Adventures of Pete & Pete under the name Polaris because fourth Miracle Legion member Mr. Ray Neal was not available at the time; occasional guests included Joyce Raskin, Dennis Kelly, and Buell Thomas.
Polaris performed many of the songs featured on the show, including the theme song, "Hey Sandy", and its members took "TV names": Mulcahy was "Muggy", Boutier was "Jersey", and McCaffrey was "Harris Polaris." In addition to appearing in the opening credits of each show, the band featured prominently in the episode "A Hard Day's Pete", in which Little Pete (Danny Tamberelli) is mesmerized by a garage band's song (Polaris' "Summerbaby") and forms his own band to keep the tune in his memory.
The group’s first release was a 1995 cassette mini-album titled “Happily Dearanged” that contained three songs from the television show, including the television show’s title song, “Hey Sandy”. The other two songs were “Staggering” and “Coronado II”. The versions of these songs differed in both running time and mix from the versions later released on their full album. The cassette also contained two additional rare tracks, an introduction and closing comments by the older of the two Pete’s from the television show. This cassette was released by Nickelodeon/ Sony Wonder and only available by mail-in. It was heavily promoted during Nickelodeon’s SNICK (Saturday Night Nickelodeon) anthology series.
From 1997 to 2003, Scott Boutier and Dave McCaffrey played drums & bass for Frank Black and the Catholics.
On August 28 2012, Polaris reunited for a concert at Cinefamily's Everything Is Festival II, adding Henning Ohlenbusch (dubbed "Penny Polaris") to their roster on guitar, keyboard, and backing vocals. The band claimed it was their first ever live performance. For one song at this concert, the band was joined by Rain Phoenix on vocals.
In October 2014, the band released their first new material since the Nickelodeon show in the form of a digital and cassette single, thus ending their status as a "one-off project." The cassingle, consisting of "Great Big Happy Green Moonface" (also its title) and "Baby Tae Kwon Do" was made available through the Mezzotint website. It was produced by new member Ohlenbusch. In addition, an animated music video was produced for "Great Big Happy Green Moonface."
Polaris continued touring into 2015, their sets including all fourteen Polaris songs as well as selections from the Miracle Legion discography. On April 18, 2015, Polaris released both a vinyl edition of Music from The Adventures of Pete & Pete and the double CD album "Live at Lincoln Hall," a recording of their October 26 2014 concert at the Chicago venue. The former was released both in stores as part of Record Store Day and online, while the latter was sold exclusively online and at concerts.
- "Happily Deranged" (Cassette, Nickelodeon/Sony Wonder, LAT-6688, 1995)
- Music from The Adventures of Pete & Pete (CD, 1999; Vinyl, 2015)
- "Great Big Happy Green Moonface"/"Baby Tae Kwon Do" (Cassette/Digital, 2014)
- "Live at Lincoln Hall" (CD/Digital, 2015)
- Eakin, Marah. "Polaris, the band from The Adventures Of Pete And Pete, is going on tour". A.V. Club. Retrieved February 7, 2015.