Park City rock ‘n’ rollers Dr. Bob Band readies birthday bash
The Dr. Bob Band will perform at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 9, at The Cabin, and at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at Heber City Park. For information, visit http://www.drbobjdh.com.
The Dr. Bob Band says it’s time to party, and want to invite fans and curious onlookers to a two-fold birthday party on Saturday, June 9, at The Cabin.
The group will celebrate 36 years of playing its own brand of blues-based rock ‘n’ roll in Park City and will also honor Dr. Bob’s leader, Jeffrey Howrey, the self-proclaimed “World’s Oldest Angry Young Man,” who turns 63 this year.
The last time the band threw a party for Howrey’s birthday was in 2010, and it was a “total disaster,” according to Howrey, because someone spiked his beer with flunitrazepam, the date-rape drug.
“Someone slipped me a ‘roofie’ in an open beer, and I experienced the most horrific night of my life,” he said.
A “roofie” is scientifically known as flunitrazepam, the date-rape drug.
“That drug is nothing to play around with,” Howrey said. “If anyone is convicted of using that drug, they should be put in prison.”
The Dr. Bob Band continued to play that night, but Howrey can’t remember the show.
“There is a big gap in my memory,” he said. “I do know that I was not functioning well.”
The incident did have a positive effect on the bandleader.
“I haven’t had a drink for eight years,” he said. “While I was never a heavy drinker, it turned my life around.”
Howrey decided that enough time had passed since the incident to bring back the party.
“It’s an open invitation for my friends and my detractors to come and celebrate,” he said.
The singer knows he has detractors because his public complaints about his perceived discrepancies in the local music scene has made a few people angry in the past three decades.
“There are certain amount of local music insiders that I have rubbed the wrong way,” he said. “I’ve always been an outcast. I have never been one of the cool people, but I’d say 95 percent of the people in town love me.”
It’s that 95 percent that Howrey credits with keeping the Dr. Bob Band alive.
“They have managed to keep this this silly little garage band going,” he said. “I mean, we’ve lasted 36 years.”
The party will also mark the debut of Howrey’s new project, Dr. Bob Dylan, a Bob Dylan tribute band.
The singer, with the help of his backing band — bassist-vocalist Marsha Bloom and drummer Greg Friedman — will present a full Bob Dylan tribute show.
“I’ll have a wig, shades and harmonica, but I’m not going to do what people like Jimmy Fallon or the people who imitate Dylan,” Howrey said. “This will not be a parody. I will not do the overexaggerated singing and things like that.”
Howrey’s goal is to pay tribute to Dylan, who won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature for what the nomination committee called “creating new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”
Dr. Bob Dylan will play what Howrey feels are the Dylan’s best songs.
“We’re going to do ‘Tangled Up in Blue,’ ‘Like a Rolling Stone,’ ‘All Along the Watchtower,’ ‘Mr. Tambourine Man,’” Howrey said. “We’ve been doing these songs for years, but this will be the first time we’ll do a full-on tribute. I am a huge fan of the best of his catalog and I want to do those songs justice.”
Howrey first heard Dylan’s lyrics in 1963 with folk group Peter, Paul and Mary’s version of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
“I really found out who he was when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965,” Howrey said. “I would say his song ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ affected me more than any song in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. So the Dylan era we want to cover is from 1965 and 1966.”
Howrey said Dylan’s lyrics are the main draw for him.
“Without Bob Dylan, I think there would be no modern lyric writer,” he said. “While he is a pretty rudimentary musician, and he is aware of his limitations, what he had to say outranks any songwriter in different ways.”
Howrey said his main qualification for doing a Dylan tribute stems from his familiarity with those lyrics.
“I am one of the few people on the planet who can remember all the words, probably better than Bob himself these days,” he said with a laugh.
Howrey, who used to write for Rolling Stone magazine, started to develop a spiritual kinship with Dylan’s work while playing gigs at Gerde’s Folk City in New York, the venue where Dylan was discovered.
“Our birthdays are also just a few days away from each other and we’re the same astrological sign (Gemini),” Howrey said. “I’m a nut. He’s a nut. So it seemed to fit.”
Dr. Bob Band will also repeat the Dr. Bob Dylan set at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 14, at Heber’s City Park.
“It’s always great playing with Marsha and Greg,” Howrey said. “These guys are still my top three local players.”
As a bonus to the birthday celebrations, Dr. Bob Band is offering free downloads of its new album, “Men Are Pigs,” at its website, http://www.drbobjdh.com. The band also posted some music videos on the site as well.
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