After playing the Saddle Ridge Battle of the Bands several years ago, The Maxipads' drummer, Joe Melba, was confronted in the bathroom by another contestant, a Beavis & Butthead-esque member of a local Christian rock band, who said: "I liked your songs, but your lyrics suck."
Having just played a series of punk songs with titles like "Kill for Satan" ("Kill your parents! Kill your parents!") and "JonBenet" ("I killed JonBenet! Hey! Hey! Hey!") to the disapproving mothers and grandmothers of other bands, the critique didn't come as a surprise to the self-proclaimed "Worst Band in Pittsburgh."
Anyone going to shows in Pittsburgh four to six years ago will likely remember The Maxipads. During that time, they played as often as they could, with the worst bands they could find; toured the "dumbest" towns they could think of; and released two genuinely entertaining albums. They broke up when guitarist Kacyn Keys moved to Oregon in 2008.
She's since returned, and The Maxipads reunite Friday at the Bloomfield Bridge Tavern to play a benefit for their friend and, as they put it, only fan, Carol Peterson, who is battling breast cancer.
"She is a huge punk-rock fan," bassist Katie Pegher says, "and for some ridiculous reason, she loved The Maxipads."
Peterson, a friend to many in the local music scene, is an architectural and community historian, operating her own business, Pittsburgh House Histories. Because she is self-employed, her illness has cost her income.
The Maxipads figure that, since they can probably convince people to come see them play at least once, they should use that opportunity well. And, Pegher says, "[Peterson] has always supported us, and is just a wonderful person."
The band is currently working on new material ("We started out trying to be as offensive as possible," Pegher says, "but now that we're older we play pop songs") and plan to continue playing shows after Friday, whether Pittsburgh likes it or not.
"We can't play our instruments, and our songs are terrible," says Melba. "Why would you give us money?"
Keys replies: "'Cause we're giving it to Carol!"
THE MAXIPADS with THE LOPEZ and HARD MONEY. 9 p.m. Fri., July 15. Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, 4412 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield. Sliding scale donation. 412-682-8611