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Tim Wray, who now lives near San Diego, Calif., founded the band Fat Paw in Park City 20 years ago. The band's songs are a "soundtrack" to what his life was like back then. (Photo courtesy of Tim Wray)
Tim Wray's band Fat Paw will always belong to Park City.

Even though Wray moved alone to California three years ago so he could focus on surfing, he still returns to the mountains to play with his band, which is comprised of pick-up musicians and friends, to show appreciation to the community that he called home for nearly 22 years.

"I felt like I got to be part of the community in Park City," Wray said during an interview with The Park Record. "I'm kind of a quiet and reserved guy and I don't think I would have made the friends I did or had the experiences I had in Park City had I not been in Fat Paw."

Wray will slip back into town to celebrate the band's 20th anniversary with a free concert at Newpark Plaza on Thursday, Aug. 22.

"It will be like a tribute to Park City," Wray said. "All my songs in Fat Paw were soundtracks for my life there.

"We have rock climbers, skiers, river rafters and all those things going on," he said. "I felt like Park City got the meanings of what I was doing, and when we went on tour, we would spread the message of that lifestyle. I mean, 'Down the River' was about people who were river rafters."

Wray formed Fat Paw because he wanted to create a lifestyle more than he wanted a career.

"I've never been a nine-to-five kind of guy and the band has allowed a lot of freedom to live how I want," he said with a laugh. "I never wanted to be a rock star. I've never felt comfortable being the center of attention, but music mixed well with what I wanted to do.


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Throughout the past two decades, the band has seen its members change.

"It's funny, because it feels like this 20-year thing is cheating, because I've had different players come and go through the Fat Paw revolving door," Wray said. "But the fact remains that the songs have been around for all these years."

Music was an immediate draw for Wray when he first picked up the guitar.

"I've always loved music and it came really easy to me when I discovered the instrument," he said. "It was a natural progression. I got a guitar. I started playing with people. I started writing songs. There was nothing forced about it. It all had a natural flow to it and I never questioned it."

Fat Paw turned out to be more successful than Wray originally expected.

"Yes, there was a time when I believed I was going to pursue the band life, but after a while, I didn't know if I really wanted to spend my whole life sitting in bands with people and driving around and being up until 4 a.m. with the bars and the drunks," he said. "And there were other things that I liked to do as well and I didn't want to give them up, but I always returned to playing with Fat Paw. There was something good and solid about it."

Although Wray is also known as a solo artist and has toured internationally, he gets Fat Paw back together once or twice a year to do some shows, which are usually in Park City or the surrounding area.

He has played shows in Park City when the Sundance Film Festival was in town and he performs at the Spookadelic concerts on Halloween, he said.

"The Spookadelic shows were special because the community was really involved," he said. "I mean the original idea for them was to have the community working together to put it on for everyone else. And the last time we played in Park City was last year's Spookadelic concert that was at (Park City Live).

"I'm looking forward to playing Newpark this time," he said. "I can't believe it's been 20 years, but that's a good sign, right?"

Fat Paw will celebrate 20 years of live music with a free concert at Newpark Plaza on Thursday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.mountaintownmusic.com .