Singer Bets Pott returns to Park City for two Dr. Bob concerts
What: Dr. Bob Band and Bets
When: 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18
Where: The Boneyard, 1251 Kearns Blvd.
Bets Pott wants Park City to know she’s coming home.
The rock singer and bassist formerly known as Betsy Conner will perform two concerts with the Dr. Bob Band on Aug. 17 and 18. The Aug. 17 concert will be at 3 p.m. at Park City Mountain Resort’s PayDay Pad. The second show will be at 6:30 p.m. on the roof of The Boneyard.
“I’m in town all week and will hang out with my friends all week,” said Pott, who now lives in Portland, Oregon. “I’ll play the gigs and then I fly back to Oregon on Monday.”
The band, whose current lineup features band leader, guitarist and singer Jeffrey Howrey, bassist Marsha Bloom and drummer Greg Friedman, will play songs from its eight-album catalog, and Pott is ready to rock.
“I usually come back once a year, and playing the shows is as fun as it ever was,” she said. “And this year, I really need to get out of Dodge.”
Pott formed the Dr. Bob Band, formerly called the Utah Zoomers, in 1979 with Howrey.
“Jeff is my best friend,” she said. “We love each other. We hate each other. We want to kill each other, and it’s all good.”
The two met while attending the University of Utah. Pott was in a folk group called the Dry Creek Trio, and Howrey rocked out in the Barney Fife Band.
Howrey was also the editor of the Daily Utah Chronicle student newspaper, Pott said.
“Back in the day, Rolling Stone magazine had this contest where you could send in a thesis, and whoever won would get a job at Rolling Stone in New York City,” she said.
Howrey won that year and decided to move to the Big Apple.
“He called to tell me his band was also moving to New York City to make a recording,” she said. “He asked if I wanted to come sing some backups. And if I did, I should be at his house at 1 p.m. on Aug. 10.”
At that time, Pott, who loved folk music, was working at a Girl Scouts camp while living in a tent near the top of Guardsman Pass.
“So on Aug. 10 at 1 p.m. I showed up at Jeff’s house for band pictures, and the next thing I knew, I was in a van with a bunch of guys moving to New York,” she said.
While in New York, the band landed a string of gigs including one that would change Pott’s taste in music forever.
“I remember we were 10 days out from a party we were going to play in SoHo, and our bass player quit,” she said. “I thought, ‘hey, bass, how could it be that hard?’ So Jeff bought me a bass, and said, ‘Put your money where your mouth is.’”
Potts learned how to play the songs in a little more than a week and went onto play the gig.
“The party was a raging success, and that’s when I fell in love with rock ‘n’ roll,” she said. “There’s nothing like jumping into that bottom end of the songs, and playing bass, to this day, still fires me up.”
The goal for the band was to become rockstars, but after four years, the things fell apart, Pott said.
“We just broke up,” she said. “Jeff moved to Park City, and I went to Dallas where my parents lived. That’s when I realized that Texas is the most (expletive) place on the planet, and I had to get out of there.”
Howrey must have felt Pott’s vibes, because he called her nine months later.
“He asked me to come back to Park City and maybe put the band back together,” she said. “So, I went back and spent the next 16 years writing and putting out albums.”
The Dr. Bob Band goal has always been to put out its own music, tour and sell albums, and that’s what it did until the late 1990s, Pott said.
“Then we found out our drummer was a crackhead and was stealing from us,” she said. “He eventually went to prison.”
A few months later, Pott, who had gotten married in 1996, moved to Portland.
“My husband and I decided it was too expensive to live in Park City, and he ended up getting into a culinary school,” she said. “So, we decided to try the West Coast for a year. Now, 21 years later, we’re still here.”
Pott now runs an art space where she works with many creative people.
“It’s funny, because I’m mainly known for sweeping the floor and fixing things,” she said with a laugh.
When she’s not working there, Pott spends her time playing local bands, because music has always been her first love.
“I played my first piano recital when I was 4,” said Pott, who played classically for 12 years. “Then when I was in eighth grade, I heard Judy Collins and Peter, Paul and Mary, and that changed my tastes.”
Pott knew she needed to get a guitar when she heard Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
“I started babysitting and saving my money, and when I did get my guitar, I taught myself how to play listening to John Denver songs,” she said.
During the last two years of high school, Pott had honed her craft as a musician.
“That’s when Stevie Nicks, Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Heart and Joni Mitchell became my heroes,” she said. “To this day, these are the women who inspired me the most.”
Pott looks forward to her yearly Park City homecoming, but did say the town has changed since she’s been gone.
“Remember the TV show ‘Northern Exposure?’ Park City was that show,” she said laughing.
“Northern Exposure” was a comedy-drama that took place in a fictional and eccentric Alaskan town.
“I know a lot of people in Park City that reminded me of that show,” Pott said. “To this day, I can’t tell you their real names. I know them as Loose and Waterbed, Goose and Puddles, because everyone had a nickname and everyone walked around in long johns and Sorel shoes.”
Still, Pott is grateful to be part of Park City’s history as part of the Dr. Bob Band legacy.
“Every time I roll back in town, it’s crazy how many people still come up to me and tell me how much I touched their lives,” she said. “So what if we didn’t become rock stars. It’s so nice to be welcomed back in a town where I spent the best years of my life.”
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