Park City’s Muddpuddle will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a concert at Deer Valley on Wednesday, Aug. 6. Guitarist Marty Klein said the secret
Park City's Muddpuddle will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a concert at Deer Valley on Wednesday, Aug. 6. Guitarist Marty Klein said the secret of the band's longevity includes support from Park City and the fun the band has playing live. (Courtesy of Muddpuddle)
Twenty years ago, Muddpuddle, featuring the core group of bassist Phil Dean and guitarists Marty Klein and Cole Hobbs, played its first show in Park City.

The show was upstairs at the Club, a venue adjacent to the Alamo, Klein remembered.

"Like all the other places on Main Street, the Alamo has turned into an art gallery, I think," Klein said during an interview with The Park Record. "I never thought that we would be playing together this long, but we are."

Muddpuddle — Klein, Hobbs, Dean, drummer Matt Gordon and keyboardist Mike Rogers — will celebrate its 20th anniversary with a show at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater on Wednesday, Aug. 6. The concert, which is part of the Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series, will start at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

"Deer Valley is an incredible place to play because I've seen great bands play there," Klein said. "The fact that we have this opportunity to go up there and play through an incredible sound system is a treat. It's one of those gigs that gets you fired up. We hope everyone comes out and has a good time."

Klein and Hobbs founded Muddpuddle after they both moved to Park City from New Jersey to ski.

"Cole and I have been best friends since the first grade," Klein said. "I moved out here first and he came out to ski and finally made the move himself."

The guitarists recruited Dean for the bass and have since worked with three different drummers and two keyboardists.

The band has also featured saxophonists and trumpeters.


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"All of the musicians have been great and have helped form our sound to where it is today," Klein said.

Park City has been a huge support for Muddpuddle, he said.

"It's always been good as far as getting steady gigs in the winter because of the tourists and ski season," Klein explained. "We certainly play a type of ski-town rock that is popular with the people who come through town.

"With Randy Barton starting Mountain Town Stages and Brian Richards taking over as Mountain Town Music, there is such an opportunity to play so many great venues and nice outdoor events in town," Klein said. "There are many parts of the country where a band like us finds it hard to get gigs or wind up having to pay to play. So, we're lucky to be in a town that allows us to go out and make a couple of bucks and drink free beer."

Also, Park City residents seem drawn to the type of tunes Muddpuddle performs.

"We play the type of music we listen to at home, you know, the type of music that turns us on," Klein said.

It started as a cover band that played Beatles, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Neil Young and other jam-band works like Phish.

"Then we started doing some originals," Klein said. "Probably our most prolific songwriter is Phil, but we've all written songs."

The band first released a cassette and then followed that up with two CDs — "Muddpuddle" and "Nothing I Can Do."

"As you can see, we're not super prolific if you consider three original releases in 20 years, Klein said, laughing. "But somehow we mix it up and have been able to do what we enjoy."

Part of the joy of playing music is making connections with its audience.

"We've met a great deal of people through the band who have become dear friends," Klein said. "It's great to reconnect with everyone when we play live."

One of the biggest highlights in the band's career is performing during the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

"We did some shows on the Main Stage on Main Street and it was pretty cool to see ourselves on the jumbo-tron," Klein said. "We also enjoy Deer Valley concerts, because they are always fun.

Still, some of Muddpuddle's best gigs have been random nights in Park City, he said.

"You get people from out of town and after we play a good show, they ask when we're going to go to their city to play," Klein said. "We tell them that we don't leave town very much and that we're a local band.

"I think if we had gone at this with expectations of making music a career, we probably wouldn't play anymore," he said. "Part of that reason is the fact that we have day jobs and families."

Over the past two decades, the Muddpuddlers have seen many changes in the town and in their personal lives.

"Guys have gotten married and have had kids with their spouses," he said. "We've experienced divorces, deaths and pretty much everything that big-time bands go through."

Keeping things local and close to home has helped keep Muddpuddle together.

"We've been able to keep it fun, regardless of those issues," Klein said. "Park City has been incredible in its support of live music. I think there are likeminded people in this valley and we all appreciate the outdoors, quality of life and the music."

When the band first started, it played 70 to 80 gigs a year.

"That was mostly local and in Salt Lake, and there were times when we would play the Alamo on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in the same week," Klein said. "The clubs here have changed a bit, and now I think we do about 25 gigs a year. I think that reflects our increasing responsibilities with our jobs and families.

"The band is older than my kids and all of our children have grown up with the band," he said. "They have all danced in the grass at a Muddpuddle show."

These days the weight of responsibilities have even prevented the band from rehearsing.

"We used to practice all the time, but I don't think we've had a practice for a few years now," Klein said. "Our motto has become 'No practice makes perfect.'"

Still, the time apart between shows does have a way of reconnecting the band members.

"We also don't always have time to see each other socially, so when we do meet up at a gig, it's always great to get together again," Klein said. "That comes out in our music. There is structure in what we play, but there is also some improvisation if we're psyched to see each other and want to have a good time, that comes across in our live shows."

Klein said he has mixed feelings about the future.

"I can't see us playing another 20 years, but who knows," he said. "We never had any goals when we started, and I think that kept us going. So, when I think of things, I can see us continuing as long as we're having fun."

The Grand Valley Bank Community Concert Series will present Muddpuddle, which will celebrate its 20-year anniversary, at Deer Valley's Snow Park Amphitheater on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 6 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, visit www.mountaintownmusic.org . For more information about Muddpuddle, visit muddpuddle.net.