I'd only encountered Erik Petersen once, and never got the chance to speak with him. I really wouldn't have had anything to say to him, either. From what I hear though, it was one of the friendliest people in the local scene, and I have to say, he was probably the glue that held a lot of the Philly scene together. In some way or another, I feel like he touched every musician in the local area, even if it was inadvertent and unknown. I was never a Mischief Brew fan, but I understood the importance of the group, and of Erik in our community. He had local legend status, and any DIY musician worth his or her salt in the community aspired to have some aspect of what Erik had, be it musicianship, drive, or success. Of course, it all depends on how you measure success as well, but that's a separate thing entirely.
My only encounter (if you could even call it one) with Erik Petersen was at a Pat the Bunny solo show a while back. The place was packed, and if you've never been to a folkpunk show, you've missed the wave, and I don't know if I can recommend it anymore. It's a strange crowd, and even stranger when it begins to thrash around aggressively to sad acoustic guitar, but you know, that's what you sign on for. Back to the story at hand, it was a great, albeit cramped, show at Eris Temple Arts. When Pat was finished playing, he went out back to smoke, and was joined by, as a friend put at the time "the guy from Mischief Brew." The two were literally standing out back and catching up, but a crowd amassed around them as if this was part of the show. This was the sort of weird reverence that the two of them had-- that within the scene, they were legends, and they deserved to be. Both, within their own rite, helped to found and popularize a genre that would make the DIY scene more powerful and more unified than it had been in quite some time. The whole concept of acoustic punk made house shows more feasible, and tours easier. It paved the way for some great musicians to come into popularity, or for some older and lesser known musicians to finally gain the recognition they deserved.
On Friday, July 15, 2016 Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew passed away. I was introduced to his music by a bunch of drunk teenagers in a Doylestown alley about four or five years back, and I remember that night fondly. It introduced me to an emerging genre, and one that was innovative and self-aware. Something that I needed in my life. And while I personally haven't been able to call myself a fan of Mischief Brew, I am a fan of the genre that he helped to shape, and I'm thankful for the memories that he helped to create, despite never meeting him in person, or seeing a show of his. My heart goes out to all of those who are feeling this loss, because it must be a massive one. Erik Petersen's memory will continue on in all of the artists, venues, and fans who have been touched by his music. May he rest in peace.