History

Really? You're curious about the "History" of Celtic Cat & Prairie Dog? Have you no life? Obviously your curiosity knows no bounds, since whatever "history" is recorded here will not be found in your U.S. or World History textbooks, nor can it be Googled or be vetted on Wikipedia (yet). If you insist, here is a bit of a visual and verbal journey through the CC & PD's cryptic past . . . darkly.

It started here . . . really . . . with a "Spinal Tap"-inspired group called "Non-Skid Roses." This was a throw-together group of teachers at New Prague Middle School in New Prague, Minnesota. Inspired by "Guns 'n Roses" (popular group at the time), Pat Quinn and Keith Johnson got together with two other teachers (Craig Sundberg and Craig Jenson) and played twice, maybe three times, at NPMS Variety Shows in the early 90s. You can view the first-year effort on YouTube. This YouTube video hasn't gone viral yet, but it's only been on YouTube for six years, so one never knows. Pictured above (left to right) in bad, fake wigs and barely plausible rock star poses are: Craig Jenson (digital drums, played on an original Mac Classic), Pat Quinn (guitarist, vocalist, and future Celtic Cat), Craig Sundberg (guitarist and vocalist), and Keith Johnson (bassist, and future Prairie Dog). Rock on indeed . . . however briefly.

Once that Rock 'n Roll itch had been scratched and the apparent faux rock 'n roll attitudes had been abandoned, we got serious about music. We went unplugged, sort of.  After some early gigs in Hudson, Wisconsin (at a book store/coffee shop) We played gigs at the Montgomery Music Hall in Montgomery, MN (above) as part of a music variety show. It was a big hall, with a big stage, and low lighting (as evidenced by the photo). The dark lighting added to the growing mystique of Celtic Cat & Prairie Dog ("which one is the feline . . . which one is the canine...?"), and there were subsequent rumors that one of them had died, and had been replaced by a look-alike double. That rumor can be Googled on the web, parallel to the 'Paul McCartney is Dead' rumors.

After other sporadic gigs we found somewhat of a home at the Hogan Brothers Acoustic Cafe in Northfield, Minnesota. We played there regularly over the course of about 7 years, amidst the background of artistic armpits of paintings (see above photo). We didn't mind having a girl in the group, even if she was a painting showing an armpit with an attitude of disgust. It was a great place to play and we fancied ourselves as their 'house band' for a good number of years.

On occasion we played some Irish music lyceums on St. Patrick's Day at schools, like the New Prague Elementary School (above). Young kids are an honest audience, which is refreshing, and we've found that they bop to the beat of Irish music better than anybody. Some people clap their hands to the beat . . . these kids slapped their cheeks in time to the music, which we took as a compliment, and some kids even applauded in that same way (ouch).

Then there was this gig . . . at Sponsel's Apple Orchard in Jordan, Minnesota. We played there for 8 hours, with only 3 breaks. No kidding. It was a break-through moment, actually a break-through 480 moments (8 hrs x60 min =480 min) of solid playing. We called it 'Industrial Strength playing.' It was a beautiful day, lots of beautiful people listened (at least we thought they were beautiful, since we were hallucinating in the latter hours of this eternal gig). No carpal tunnel effects have resulted [yet]. Stretched out over that considerable length of time, the pay averaged out to about two bits an hour. And we never had the courtesy to thank them.

Since archival pictures of CC & PD are rare (or lost) this picture represents a one-time gig at a Coffee House in New Prague. It might've been called Chameleon . . . no matter, we were positioned at the back of a back room off a secondary room which was off of an auxiliary room of a bric a brac shop in New Prague, Minnesota. If you can get any musician to be honest, they'll confess that they'll play anywhere, and most anytime, and if you insist, they'll play for free and/or tips. That was one of those gigs.

Here we are playing our inimitable brand of music at the old New Market Public Library at New Market, Minnesota. It was a nice, but very small and intimate library. That library has since relocated to a much-improved and larger location located on the east edge of New Market. But nevertheless, playing amidst books and amidst bookish people is one of our favorite environments.

Here we are at the Coffee Corner in New Prague, Minnesota. It was a great little place to play, located on a strip mall. It has since gone out of business and become an ice cream shop. This picture shows one song we play on duel mandolins on the song "Muddy Creek." Videos of songs we played at the Coffee Corner can be viewed on YouTube.

. . . more history to be added, as it accrues, and as it is rediscovered and reinterpreted. Stay tuned.

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