Downtown Lowdown: Ska band Oatie Paste still finding crowds here

by DGO Web Administrator

Durango’s love affair with ska is certainly no secret, with its biggest ska export being the product of a brewery named after the horn-heavy music highly influenced by reggae and punk rock.

But it’s also a genre of music, one with a dedicated audience prone to a more aggressive sound that may or may not let the consumption of beer aid in the good-time soundtrack it provides. While Durango’s diverse catalog of bands that exist now or in years past may not be ska- or punk-heavy, there’s been enough to jar memories from random shows or KDUR Cover Nights.

Oatie Paste is one, the band that formed in 2007 and quickly made a local name for themselves with shows at just about every venue in town. Oatie Paste will host its album release party Friday at the Balcony Backstage. Performing also is local ska band Busters Ghost and Shiprock, New Mexico, punk band End This Year. Oatie Paste is Tim Wenger on guitar and vocals, Brandon French on trombone and vocals, Scott Fowler on bass and vocals and Chad Howard on drums.

“10 Seconds Till Sunday” is a strong release. Albeit short, the opening/title track gets right to a blatant point of melodic aggression, which rips through four songs, influenced by Third Wave ska bands, but also taking a cue from early punk bands like The Descendents.

Their history is reflective of the list of the too-many-to-count bands working to make it; after knocking around Durango for a few years, the band moved to Denver, eager to let a larger market dictate the “next-step.” The entertainment industry, whether you’re a musician, comedian or actor is nothing more than a crap-shoot with hard work and dedication to your craft only rewarding a small percentage of those trying to break into the industry. Denver wasn’t the best thing for Oatie Paste. Three members came back here, and Wenger stayed on the Front Range.

“Being able to have Durango as a home-base has worked out for us better in the long run,” said Wenger in a recent phone interview. “We can easily go somewhere and have Durango be our flagship, and people will want to talk to us about the town, and they’re surprised there’s a band from Durango playing outside of Durango.”

There’s nothing wrong with being a Durango band and having this as your stomping and creative ground. The idiots who moan about there being no music here either don’t make music themselves or don’t get their stoned-asses off the couch to go see something. Oatie Paste may have scaled back the number of shows they play, but they continue to find a crowd here.

“Durango is super supportive. We always were able to play to a good crowd. Even eight years later, every time we come there we can count on our friends coming out,” Wenger said. “It’s a really supportive town. Being able to be a musician from Durango is something special.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].


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