Dr. Bob celebrates 30 years of Park City gigs with a two-year contract at Mojo’s
January 31, 2014
Jeffrey Howrey, known to Park City as the rocker Dr. Bob, first picked up the guitar in 1964.
Five years later, he began performing his first paying gigs. In 1984, he began playing regularly in Park City.
During the past couple of years, Dr. Bob has entertained crowds at Park City Mountain Resort with his afternoon concerts at Mojo’s. The sessions, which usually are done solo, or as a duo or trio, have become such a success that Mojo’s owner Rick Anderson signed Dr. Bob to a two-year contract extension that will run through October 2015.
The concerts run Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays during the winter and on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer.
Howrey is happy that things have worked out.
"We started the whole venue from scratch and did a renovation and it’s worked out great," he told The Park Record. "It’s been a perfect fit and total delight. The shows at Mojo’s have been the most fun I’ve ever had playing live."
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That says something from a man who has played around 2,300 shows in the past 50 years.
"A lot of it has to do with the audience," Howrey said. "It’s après ski, right at the base of the PayDay run, so that means it’s a healthy crowd. It’s a happy crowd and there are families that come enjoy the music."
The guitarist plays for everyone from the toddlers to senior citizens.
"The younger kids like it because it’s music and they can dance to it," Howrey said. "The older folks love it because we play a lot of classic folk-rock by [Bob] Dylan, Neil Young and the Beatles."
Another factor is that Mojo’s doesn’t serve hard liquor.
"So nobody’s really drunk in the audience," Howrey said. "I spent my whole life playing for the drunks on Main Street late at night, which was great, but it has been awesome to play in the afternoons."
There is also the fact that Howrey keeps these performances family-friendly.
"That’s something that wouldn’t have been the case in times of my career," he said laughing. "I think everyone was wondering how that would work out because Park City Mountain Resort is such a family-oriented place. When I first showed up, I think some of the corporate crowd thought it wasn’t going to work because I have a reputation of being edgy."
Still, like any professional musician, Howrey knows each performances has its own nuances.
"I wasn’t going to go up there and drop a series of F-bombs," he said, still chuckling. "In any case, I generally don’t talk when I play these shows. We just play the music."
On occasion, Howrey will perform with guitarist Carl Roehman and percussionist Greg Friedman."
The idea for Dr. Bob to play Mojo’s essentially came from manager Jimii Totora, whom with Anderson, has supported the idea from the get-go, Howrey said.
"This is the first time I’ve had a long-term contract, and in this town, that’s as good as it gets," he said. "Also, we don’t have to move equipment. Mojo’s has a house sound system, so I just show up and plug in. There is nothing worse than moving amplifiers out of bars at 2 a.m."
In addition to the two-year contract, Howrey is in a party mood because Dr. Bob has released a new CD called "Self Portrait," which is basically a ‘best of’ compilation.
"I’ve enjoyed and had been attracted towards rootsy guitar rock, so I selected the songs from my other nine albums that have that blues-rock sound," Howrey said. "Many people distribute their CDs digitally, but I just hand them out for free during the Mojo’s shows. It’s kind of like an expensive business card."
The CD features Bets Pott, who co-founded Dr. Bob with Howrey 30 years ago.
"Betts now lives in Portland, Oregon, and makes videos," Howrey said. "She has made three for Dr. Bob that can be found on YouTube."
The videos are for the songs "Tick Tick Tick," "Common Man" and "Trustafarian."
Howrey said he’s giving out the CDs for free as tokens of thanks.
"This is my way of showing appreciation to the locals here, for putting up with me," he said. "For better or for worse, whatever I’ve become as musician, singer, bandleader or songwriter, I do owe to the 30 years of opportunities that I was given here in Park City to the locals.
"I know I’m pretty edgy and eccentric," he said. "I know I can be difficult to work with and I’ve rubbed many people the wrong way in this town and there have been times when I’ve been a handful. So, anyone here in town who contacts me and gives me a snail-mail address will get a free CD."
Dr. Bob plays free concerts at Mojo’s at Park City Mountain Resort every Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m. For more information and a CD, visit http://www.facebook.com/jeffreyhowrey or http://www.drbobjdh.com and send an email.