Winter Park / Live Music: Former ski patroller returns with band Cat-A-Tac |

Winter Park / Live Music: Former ski patroller returns with band Cat-A-Tac

As Cat-A-Tac springs into action for a free concert tonight, guitarist Andy Tennant finds himself prowling around his old stomping grounds in Grand County where he worked as a ski patroller for many years.

Tennant worked as a ski patroller in upstate New York since he was about 15, and started patrolling at Eldora after he moved to Colorado for college. In 1996, he and a friend heard about the revitalization of the Berthoud Pass ski area and they jumped at the chance to get involved.

“Basically, I bothered the paid staff patrol at Berthoud until they agreed to hire me,” he said.

He started working at Berthoud, explaining that he wasn’t technically working but served as “your run-of-the-mill” volunteer ski patroller “until its demise as a ski area.”

When he turned 21, he was allowed to “blow up snow” as avalanche control team leader and, to an extent, he said, he did a fair amount of medical aid.

“Berthoud’s years, and my years in Winter Park were some of the best,” he said. “I don’t get up to Winter Park very often these days, so returning to play a show at the Pub is exciting.”

Tennant said the band planned some shows in the mountains and that they’d been talking about doing a show at the Pub for years. When the band takes the stage in Winter Park, they will be celebrating their first full-length CD “Past Lies and Former Lives.”

Their music is pop music with a hint of menace.

It’s a little grittier than music from the band’s earlier days, but continues their signature sonic experimenation.

Cat-a-tac has been compared to the Dandy Warhols.

One critic wrote, “(Their sound) combines pop and drone, but with more than enough loud and distorted guitars.”

Members include Tennant, vocals, Jim McTurnan, who plays guitar and also sings vocals, Connor Bailey on bass and Warren Wonders on drums.

When they’re not on stage, McTurnan is a lawyer, Bailey works geographic information systems for an environmental non-profit, Wonders is a computer programmer, and Tennant runs a recording studio and “dabbles” in anthropology.

“Love it or hate it, it is a palindrome, and the Web site domain name was open,” Tennant said.

He and McTurnan compose most of the songs for the band, “and while our styles are disparate, the binding theme is women, and more specifically, ex-girlfriends, so not really love songs per se,” Tennant said. “We have the occasional song about rock ‘n’ roll or drugs, but our style gravitates to darker, gloomier lyrics.”

Their sets are comprised almost completely of originals, and for tonight’s show Tennant said he and McTurnan, who used to play with Ego Ramp, will probably play a few cover songs solo.

“We’re not a political band, nor do we sing about philosophical or heady subjects,” Tennant said. “If you like loud guitars that you wouldn’t expect to hear on MTV, then our music is for you.”

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