Big Head Todd and The Monsters

by Danny Coleman

Dannycoleman Big Head Todd & The Monsters

“We finished the summer out with Blues Traveler for about a month and a half out on the West Coast and we are now gearing up to release a new album towards the end of May and as you mentioned, we have some singles kind of trickling their way out; we just released the second one, which is called, “Her Way Out.”  

Big Head Todd and The Monsters formed circa 1986/1987 in Colorado after Columbine High School classmates Todd Mohr, Brian Nevin and Rob Squires followed one another to the University of Colorado and began knocking around clubs in the Denver area and beyond.

Now, nearly four decades later, the band is still discovering and making new music as well as touring and on January 28, they will be making an appearance in Red Bank, NJ at The Count Basie Center for the Arts.

“We are just enjoying life, we’ve been a group for 38 years and we still love making music together,” stated Todd Mohr himself as he recently discussed the band and their music. “So, it’s really a pleasure to be out on the road with that longevity and catalog of songs and every night is a little different for us but it’s always fun.” 

Although they have a platinum selling album to their credit. 1993’s “Sister Sweetly,” the band has built a fierce reputation as a live act which has spawned a large following and benefitted them well over their lengthy career. 

One of those benefits was when they were asked to be part of a 1995 Led Zeppelin tribute called, “Encomium: A Tribute to Led Zeppelin” on which they did one of the most popular cuts from the legendary rock band’s third album. 

“Well, of course it was a great honor,” said Mohr with satisfaction. “I was lucky to get the song that I wanted which was “Tangerine” but more importantly, we were able to tour with Robert Plant before that which is how that came about. We were out with him on his Fate of Nations tour when he was a solo artist and that was an incredible college of rock for us to be able to do the shows with him.” 

As is often the case, methods ebb and flow like the tides in the music business. Every band has a different approach based on what is happening in their sphere of influence or what the industry trends dictate and Big Head Todd and the Monsters are no different. Like most acts, there comes a time where you desire to change things up a bit and prior to the recording of their upcoming new album; they did just that. 

“Our last album was called “New World Arisin'” and it was released in 2017,” he explained. “We have consistently been together and our album cycle is every couple of years. Around the time that we put out our last album, we kind of felt like we wanted to do something different. So, for a couple of years, instead of doing albums, we produced a new song a month and made a video for it and it was called, “Monsters Music Monthly.” We did that for a couple of years and all the way through the first year of COVID and decided that we wanted to do a record again. So, we stopped doing that and started making a record and a couple of years later; here we are.” 

Yes, here they are; never mind a post-COVID world, the music world in general is always rife with evolution. One of the evolving trends is the way the major record labels conduct business and the support or lack thereof for artists. So,with the release of another single, “Her Way Out,” leading up to the full release scheduled for late Spring of this current year; how does a seasoned act such as themselves balance the past with the present?  

“That’s a great question,” chuckled Mohr. “The old school music business, as it emerged in the ’70s and ’80s of selling units; what that model did was, it built superstars because those companies got behind an artist with more of a long-term plan; “It’s gonna be the third album and that’s when we are going to start to make money.” You don’t have that kind of infrastructure that is moving artists’ careers along anymore but you do have a different kind of infrastructure that allows for many other people to get involved and have success. So, I think it’s harder to become a superstar but easier to become, um, something (laughs).” 

“Her Way Out,” is the second single, “Crush” was first and we’ll probably have another two or three before May when the album is released,” he continued. “Our manager says that this is how it’s done now because it’s more of a singles driven market. I like monthly releases anyway but in June we have a big Red Rocks show and The Wallflowers will be opening for us and we’ll have vinyl printed up by then so that will be cool but in our world, it’s mostly downloads as to how the people get our music; iTunes, Spotify and YouTube are probably the big three ways.Sales of CDs and hard unit sales; it has been a while since we’ve actually pressed vinyl, we’ve had CDs but those are a much smaller portion of how people listen to the music but I’m looking forward to the vinyl because that’s a big market and it has been a while since we’ve actually led with vinyl so that is going to be fun.”

In order to be relevant in the present, sometimes you have to revisit the past and for Mohr and the rest of the Monsters; they’ve done just that and where they went may be surprising.

“I would say, over the long term for me personally, that the blues has made the difference. By that I mean, we’ve had some chances since 2011 to do two major blues projects that involved many other great blues artists and as a consequence, I learned so much about blues music and music generally that it made a profound impact on how I look at songs and musicianship and so on. The first one was a Robert Johnson tour and it had Hubert Sumlin who was Howlin’ Wolf’s guitar player and who was from New Jersey, Charlie Musselwhite, a couple of younger artists, B.B. King; it was a great opportunity to learn a lot. The second one was a Willie Dixon project that was kind of like the sons of everybody. Muddy Water’s son, Mud Morganfield, Lonnie Brook’s son, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Billy Branch were the big stars on that one and that was really life changing for me; I learned so much.”  The January 28 Basie date is the last of four straight nights of performances before the band heads to New England in February. Mohr says that those attending their shows are going to see a mixture of new, old and surprise works from their collection. 

“The set is about two hours long, we play all of our hits and it comes out to be about 21 songs per night. We usually play about three well-chosen covers and three new songs and the rest is rotated amongst all of our other songs; so it’s a different show every night.” 

To see their touring schedule, purchase tickets or discover more about Big Head Todd and The Monsters, please visit