Sean Maher grew up in San Francisco and attended John O'Connell School at 21st and Treat, with McIlroy, Tony Calzone, and his other future fellow messengers. Back in 1977, McIlroy and Sean got together and formed the Noize Boyz, the infamous punk band whose shows would end when the band started beating each other up on stage. I first met Sean while writing a piece about the band for Mercury Rising. Then Sean was a dispatcher at Silver Bullet and the drummer for Bugtussel, a punk bluegrass outfit. He wrote the lyrics to "Hayride to Hades" with David Deering, which later would be recorded by Family Scott and appear on the Pothole compilation. The first show I ever put together featured the Noize Boyz and Bugtussel.
Years later Sean moved into a messenger house around the corner from me, across the street from the remains of John O'Connell. My roommates and I would occasionally go visit his house for beers. One time my buddy Eileen and I hosted a going-away party at their house since Eileen, Pierre, and the Colonel were leaving for Alaska the next day. Inspired by Everclear, we all played strip-poker, with Eileen running into Sean's room and putting on 17 layers of his clothes. She lost anyway.
Sean showed up at our house for parties as well, including one where we baked a half-dozen different types of pot brownies. He kept asking which was which and sampling them over and over and over - then finally joining our impromptu limbo line.
Heroin began taking its toll. I know it was hard for Mack to watch his childhood buddy start that downward spiral. Sean lost his apartment and began pushing a shopping cart, but he tried to hang on and actually got a new place. Sheila started going out with him. I remember she was really pretty, with a freckled face and black hair. She loved dogs and was very soft-spoken. At a party she fell over a balcony to her death.Sean was crushed but he kept the memory of her alive.
Trying to keep a good attitude, Sean struggled with heroin for years, but finally in 2001, Life found his body, leaning against Jr.'s van on Folsom Street. Sean left a number of songs and recordings and some good memories for his bandmates behind, but the last few years were a tragedy, one that I hope someday will stop being repeated by others. He was a good guy and he deserved better.