When Peter Michael was a kid, his family called him “Little Petie.” His dad was Peter and his grandfather was Pete, so the nickname sort of made sense.
But he hated it.
As he’s gotten older, though, he’s reconsidered. In fact, he’s using it for his latest musical project, Little Petie and the Mean Old Men. And the once-hated nickname has become a bit of an alter ego.
“He’s a little more happy-go-lucky and perhaps intentionally naïve,” Michael says. “There are times when I’m writing songs that I think, ‘Yeah, Little Petie wouldn’t say that.’ It has created a lens through which the songs are delivered.”
Michael spent his younger years playing in an intense punk band, and then became a serious, contemplative singer-songwriter. Ultimately, he wanted to have more fun.
“I enjoyed presenting those songs in the past, but there was an emotional cost that after a while I just got tired of paying,” Michael says. “I decided I would write songs that were up-tempo and catchy, not really thinky or heartbreaky.”
Now he’s having a great time playing good old-fashioned riff-heavy rock music.
“Our songs are in a style that is already familiar to people,” Michael says. “We’re not reinventing rock ’n’ roll. There’s nothing that’s gimmicky. It’s straightforward. I think once people start to familiarize themselves with our songs, they really appreciate and enjoy them.”
INFO: 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31. Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.