‘The Ghosts of Rock ‘n’ Roll’ live again in Dr. Bob concert film￼
Deer Valley gig marked band's 40th anniversary
Park City’s Dr. Bob Band’s new film has awakened the spirit of rock music.
“The Ghosts of Rock ‘n’ Roll,” the band’s first-ever in-concert documentary, was released last week.
The hour-long movie, which is currently streaming on YouTube, was filmed during the band’s 40th anniversary concert on July 6, 2022, at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater, by roadie John Gonthier, who has been with the band for multiple decades, said band leader and founder Jeffrey Howrey.
“He is much more than a roadie,” Howrey said about Gonthier. “This is what I wrote about him in a recent Facebook post on the occasion of his 60th birthday — ‘Duct tape and baling wire is what longtime Dr. Bob roadie John Gonthier has used, along with his magical mechanical abilities, to keep the Dr. Bob band rolling over the last four decades.'”
Howrey describes “The Ghosts of Rock ‘n’ Roll” as “punk cinema.”
“The concept was basically to give John a camera and let him film it, which he dutifully did,” he said. “John is the perfect example of how, in the artistic world, those behind the scenes are equally, if not more, important than those onstage.”
The film, which Gonthier also produced and edited, captures the band as they played, which means no post-production overdubs were added, according to Howrey.
“For this particular performance at Deer Valley’s Snow Park Amphitheater I was fortunate enough to be joined onstage by two awesome veterans of the Utah rock scene, bassist Klay Gustin — one of the best players to ever emerge from Heber City — and the legendary drummer Meter Jagertown (Demitri Mannos), of the nationally famous modern country band Jagertown,” he said. “(And) The star of the movie is the soundtrack.”
The set list kicks off with the band pounding out Slim Harpo’s “Hip Shake (Shake Your Hips),” a song covered by such artists as The Rolling Stones and Joan Osborne.
The band also cranks out covers of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World,” sung by Gustin, Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire,” and a mashup of the Beastie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!)” and Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode.”
Other songs in the set include Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues,” Alice Cooper’s “I’m 18,” the show capper, an extended version of Them’s “Gloria,” as well as the Ramones’s “I Wanna Be Sedated.”
Throughout the show, the Dr. Bob Band was joined on stage by harpist and former Park City Mayor Dana Williams, founder of the Motherlode Canyon Band, and the film’s tracks were recorded at the show by Mountain Town Music engineer Jeremy Eldredge, according to Howrey.
“There were 16 microphones on Meter’s drums alone,” he said. “We then transferred the files to Wes Johnson at Archive Recordings in Salt Lake City, who mixed and mastered them.”
“The Ghosts of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was 40 years in the making, Howrey said.
The Dr. Bob Band was founded in 1982 by Jeffrey Howrey and singer/bassist Bets Conner-Pott.
The two had met while playing in rival bands during the late 1970s. Howrey was playing in the Barney Fife Band, and Pott was in a folk group called the Dry Creek Trio.
“Everyone went to see Jeff’s band because it was a spectacle,” Conner-Pott said during a Park Record interview last year. “The band really knew how to throw a fun party, and that’s how Jeff and I met.”
Conner-Pott, to whom the film is dedicated, now lives in Portland, Oregon, and still makes music with another band, Macey Gard.
Gonthier joined up with the Dr. Bob Band shortly after it was established, Howrey said.
“And (John) has been there ever since in his various roles as sound man, I.T. tech, recording engineer, equipment repairman, graphic artist, video producer, car mechanic, etc.,” he said.
Gontheir’s work as the band’s video producer is his latest accomplishment, Howrey said.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, as the world ground to a halt in early 2020, we decided to keep the Dr. Bob Band’s momentum going by switching our focus online to the digital realm,” he said. “John bought himself some software, taught himself to use it and, lo and behold, three years later we have our own Dr. Bob Band YouTube channel, with nearly twenty videos now capped off by John’s magnum opus, ‘The Ghosts of Rock ‘n’ Roll.'”
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