Tim Wray’s Fat Paw band returns to Park City to play O.P. Rockwell
Park City was a different town during the summers of the 1990s, says Tim Wray.
“Half the restaurants were closed and the venue called O.P. Rockwell was known as the Star Bar,” said Wray, whose psychedelic band Fat Paw ruled the town back then. “This was all pre-Olympics and Park City was just another little ski town.”
While Wray can’t physically return to those days, he’ll bring Fat Paw back to Park City this Friday to O.P. Rockwell, 268 Main St.
The band will feature an “all-star lineup” composed of musicians who have performed with Wray during his 25-year career, including keyboardist Rhett Card, drummer Jet Redd and bassist Matthew Parrish.
“Rhett has played with me for 20-odd years, while Jet, who is my favorite drummer, has also been with me for 20 years,” said Wray, who now lives in San Diego. “Matt is like a superstar in Salt Lake.”
In addition to Fat Paw songs, the band is working on a few surprises that will make the night interesting, Wray said.
“With the talent of the band, we are putting together some things that we know will make the audience pretty happy,” he said. “But what I’ve learned is that people love the classics. And there is nothing like seeing people in the audience singing Fat Paw songs.”
Playing at O.P. Rockwell is a way for Wray to say “thanks” to Park City, he said.
“It was because of the town’s support that everything worked out,” he said. “We started playing little gigs around town at clubs like the Alamo and places like that, and then we started to branch out to Salt Lake City.”
Fat Paw played to a standing-room only crowd during its first gig at the Zephyr Club, a now-defunct club that was one of the hottest venues in Salt Lake City, in the mid-1990s.
“It was great because half of Park City came down and we filled the place up,” he said. “In fact, we built a reputation at the Zephyr for continually drawing a lot of people, but it was really just Park City people who attended the shows.”
Fat Paw began touring regionally thanks to the clout the band earned from those sold-out shows, Wray said.
“I don’t know what I would have done without Park City’s support,” he said. “I’ve been a session musician for 25 years now, and I have to thank the original Park City crew.”
These days, Wray, who plays mostly solo acoustic shows, performs in a reggae band and a surf band in San Diego.
“While those gigs are fun, the music isn’t the psychedelic, Park City desert music that I played in Fat Paw,” he said. “So coming back means the world to me. It will be neat to see the hugs and feel the warmth, especially because I don’t live there anymore.”
In addition to the Friday concert at O.P. Rockwell, Fat Paw is scheduled to perform at Mountain Town Music’s private Vibe Tribe picnic on Saturday, Sept 7.
“Mountain Town is a great organization, and they have helped a lot of musicians get onto their feet,” Wray said. “In fact, thanks to Mountain Town Music, Park City’s music scene has just exploded with all the venues and summer concerts. These things were just starting up when I moved to San Diego, so I almost want to move back to play all of those venues.”
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