Musician hopes Doomsday performances are a success
Jeffrey Howrey, also known as Dr. Bob, has been playing live music in Park City for 30 years.
He played his gigs in 1977, while he was a student at the University of Utah. After moving to New York to work at Rolling Stone magazine, Howrey returned in 1982 to form the Dr. Bob band and played all over town.
These days, Dr. Bob doesn’t play as much, but the reason isn’t because he’s retired. No, he said the town’s climate has cooled when it comes to nurturing local musicians.
"I’ve been playing here for more 30 years and, in my opinion, the current era is probably the toughest time for us," Howrey said during an interview with The Park Record. "Other people may have a different opinion, but that’s mine and my reasons are simple.
"First off, I feel the amount of venues have decreased over the years and secondly, a lot of the venues on Main Street are booking DJs."
The third reason is out of the 250 live shows presented a year in Park City, only a small portion are performed by actual local musicians, he said.
"I mean it’s great for the town, but on the other hand, no one from San Francisco is coming to town to book Park City bands for shows in the Bay Area," he said.
So, Howrey has taken matters into his own hands and has renovated two venues Mojo’s at Park City Mountain Resort, and Nick’s Greek Café to present a locals’ concert series.
Howrey’s Dr. Bob organization actually did physical renovations in both places.
Over Thanksgiving weekend, Howrey and his sound engineer took out a wall at Nick’s and built a stage at Mojo’s.
"So, you can say we’re a versatile organization and hungry for gigs," Howrey said with a laugh.
John Larson, the owner of Nick’s is a lifetime friend of Howrey’s guitarist Carl Roehmann.
"They went to high school together back in Wisconsin and they’ve known each other forever," Howrey explained. "I do a lot of landscaping near Nick’s and John mentioned that they had an acoustic guitar performance during Sundance."
Larson mentioned that he would like to start featuring more music, but needed to remove a wall.
"I’ve worked with construction for 25 years, and my soundman is an awesome builder," Howrey said. "So we took the wall out and will begin having musicians play music back over in the corner."
With Mojo’s, Howrey did other adjustments and redesigned the venue with the support of owner Rick Anderson and manager Jimii Totora,
"Jimii had called us up and said he wanted to offer some live music during the summer," Howrey said. "So, for the past nine months, there have been musicians, including us, playing outside."
All the while, Howrey’s eye was fixed on Mojo’s interior.
"I wanted to see if we could play inside during ski season," Howrey said. " I mean, Mojo’s has a great location at the base of Pay Day lift."
During the fall, Howrey convinced the two to allow music inside.
"They also had a wall problem," he said. "It’s a pretty big room and they had a wall that divided two rooms.
"I realized if we took the stage and turned it to directly face the wall, the musicians could play to both sides of the room," Howrey said. "So, in the past few weeks we build a foot-high stage where we could store equipment."
Howrey is also installing P.A. systems in both venues.
"Now we have two venues where we can play," he said. "Dr. Bob will be the house band in both places, but they will also book other local musicians."
The concert series will run Wednesdays through Saturdays at Mojo’s from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. and at Nick’s from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m.
The venues will kick off the series with Mayan Doomsday concerts on Friday, Dec. 21.
"The world is suppose to end on Friday, but if we survive the day, we’ll play at Mojo’s starting at 3 o’clock and then move it to Nick’s for shows beginning at 7 o’clock.
"Nick’s will be an open mic night, and that’s another way we’re trying to help local musicians," he said. "If you bring a guitar or want to tell jokes, whatever you want to do, you’re up. We would love local musicians to get in touch with us. We want solo and duo acoustic musicians."
The idea for the Mayan Doomsday concerts emerged from Howrey’s fascination with the whole Mayan prophecy.
"I can’t believe this thing has had such an influence on an advanced, logical country like the United States of America," he said with laugh. "The theme of the party is ‘Survive the Day,’ and I did think about adding some Mayan elements in it, but that would call for human sacrifices, worshipping mummified ancestors and things like that, so we nixed that idea."
The Mayan Doomsday concerts will be held Friday, Dec. 21 at Mojo’s at Park City Mountain Resort Plaza, from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. and Nick’s Greek Café, 1600 Snow Creek Dr., from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.drbobjdh.com.
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The Park City government is not considering layoffs or staff furloughs through at least June 30, the end of the municipal fiscal year, the city manager said this week.