Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hardcore Handles: "Sweet" Pete Maher

Would you mind explaining how you became Sweet Pete?

Well there have been many stories floating around over the years (can’t say I didn’t help spread some) but I guess it’s time to come clean with the real story. To the best of my knowledge the story goes like this...

Back in 1986 there was this band from around Boston called Underage (who later became Said and Done). They did a demo and on the thanks list they wanted to thank me, but they had already thanked a “Pete,” and nobody knew my last name. They just wrote “Sweet Pete,” and then when people started asking “who’s that?” they’d just say “you know, that tallish, goofy kid.” It just stuck from then on.

Now I say to the best of my knowledge because I don’t have a copy of the demo and a few years after that my friend swears it was a ‘zine that thanked me as “Sweet Pete” back then because they did not know my last name. Either way it was back in the mid-80's, someone did not know my last name and already had thanked a “Pete” so I just became “Sweet Pete.” Not even exactly sure who from the band or ‘zine actually named me that but for almost 20 years now it has stuck.

Was there one specific person who came up with the name?

Well as you can above as I said I really have no idea exactly “who” came up with it. A funny story is that Ralphie from Wrecking Crew claims that he gave me the nickname back in the mid 80s as I was always eating candy at parties and drinking soda. I used to hang with the “Boston Crew” then and Ralphie claims he started calling me that after witnessing me always eating a lot candy at shows and parties. I do admit I love me some candy and soda and just maybe Ralphie did give me the nickname and that is why the band/’zine used it on the thanks list. I guess since nobody else has claimed it, I will have to give Ralphie the credit as nobody else has ever actually laid claim to nicknaming me. If he wants it he’s got it! So thanks Ralphie!

How did it end up sticking?

I just think it ended up sticking because the Boston scene then was pretty smallish and close-knit, so it spread pretty fast and everyone would say “Yeah. That kid is pretty nice and sweet” so it stuck. There used to be shows and parties every weekend and I’d just see the same group of kids over and over and everyone had nicknames and this one was not very challenging. Like if someone’s nickname is HARD DAVID people may not want to call him that as they don’t think he's hard enough to have it, or someone may not want to call someone BILLY EDGE as they don’t like straight edge or whatever. It was a harmless nickname that just kind of stuck.

Any kind of weird/adverse/funny reactions by others to your annointed name?

The only one I can think of off-hand is with my sister. She is older than I am and was not, and never has been into punk/hardcore at all. She knew I hung out with “punks,” but as I said, she never knew anything about “the scene.” A few years ago I guess she did a Google search of In My Eyes, as she knew I did a band, and found a Yahoo music bio of the band or some music site. The bio said “In My Eyes was formed in the last 90s by USA Punk Legend Sweet Pete…”

She called me up right after seeing that saying “Are you USA Punk Legend and do they call you SWEET Pete?” I had never seen that bio so I was totally confused. She clearer it up for me by showing me the site, but even after explaining to her that I was not even close to a legend and that my "scene" nickname was Sweet Pete, she still to this day (since she knows nothing of punk) just thinks I am trying to be modest. She says “You toured the US and Europe and put out records that I see at the mall. Don’t be modest.” To this day when I see her at X-Mas and whatnot she busts my chops, and will bust out "Does Sweet Pete want some more carrots?" She thinks it's funny.

The only other stories is one time (watch your feet as I am going to drop a name) Zack from RATM put me on a “will call” list for one of their shows at a huge stadium here in Massachusetts as “Sweet Pete.” I have known him forever since the Inside Out days but he never knew my last name. I talked to him before the show and he said “you’re all set at the Will Call. They have tickets and passes for you.”

Well I get to the Will Call and give them my ID and of course it does not say “Sweet Pete,” on it so I get denied. After bumming out thinking I got dissed, I said to the person, “this may sound weird but can you check to see if anything was left under Sweet Pete?” They did, and they were left under that name, but they were still being jerks about giving me the passes as I had no ID that said "Sweet Pete."

Finally after giving me grief forever they gave me my passes. This has happened on small levels too at hardcore shows, as nobody really knows my last name and puts me on as Sweet Pete. But at hardcore shows, that never causes a problem really. Just arena shows were I can’t pull the hardcore cred and say “YOU DON’T KNOW WHO I AM?” Haha.

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