Fans of the Baltimore-area band Pirates for Sail are accustomed to song titles like "Time Flyes When You're Havin' Rum."
They're used to such silly lyrics as: "Well we're pyrate singers, we've got most of our fingers/ And we pillage everywhere we go. / We sing about booty and we sing about blood / But we can't get paid for a show."
Supporters have rolled their eyes at the story describing the group's first public (albeit unauthorized) appearance at the Mall in Columbia in 2005. After uttering the immortal line, "You look somewhat familiar. Have I threatened you before?" Captain Molly and her faithful crew were escorted off the premises by mall security. (The guards weren't persuaded by Molly's insistence that the phone kiosk employee she'd accosted was, in fact, her son.)
It was just one more step in the transformation of Kathy Michau, a mild-mannered grandmother and the retired receptionist for a home remodeling company, into Captain Molly the Crympe, band leader and Scourge of the High Cs. ("Crympe," she says, is a pirate word for the sailor who conscripts others, voluntarily or not, to join the crew.)
The band was formed after Michau turned 50 and saw the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film. As Michau was leaving the theater, she decided, "I want to be a pirate when I grow up."
Six years later, Pirates for Sail now has 19 members and a standing gig on Friday nights at Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, where they identify themselves as the crew of the Drunken Ferret. This fall, the band is slated to release its third CD. Some of their music consists of maritime tunes that have been around for centuries, while other numbers are new songs written by band members.
Pirates for Sail (piratesforsail.com) also appears throughout the Mid-Atlantic at Renaissance festivals and provides entertainment at private parties and corporate events.
"The band is a great opportunity for grown-ups to break out and act like kids without having to apologize," Michau says. "I have four grandsons. When they were little, they knew I lived in a house. But they also thought I lived on a pirate ship."