Big Head Todd and the Monsters kick off Snow Daze in Vail on Dec. 11
Vail, CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” As a young adult in college, Todd Park Mohr said his parents discouraged him from pursuing a career as a rock star. But music was always a big part of his life, he said, and while he was working to become an English teacher he and friends Brian Nevin and Rob Squires started a band. They came up with the name Big Head Todd and the Monsters and have been making a living jamming together ever since.
“I just felt I had an opportunity… that I’d never see again so I never really looked back,” said Mohr, frontman for Big Head Todd.
Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Mohr on guitar and vocals, Nevin on drums, Squires on bass and Jeremy Lawton on keys) has been a fixture in the Colorado music scene ever since they formed in 1986 in Boulder. Their blues-infused rock eventually caught on with large crowds evidenced by solid record sales ” their third album, “Sister Sweetly,” went platinum ” and a devoted fan following. Songs like “Broken Hearted Savior” and “Bittersweet” remain FM radio favorites 15 years after they first hit the airwaves.
The four-piece band kicks off this year’s Snow Daze concert series Thursday night at Dobson Arena in Vail. They are part of a lineup of bands from Colorado’s Front Range: Leftover Salmon performs Friday night at Dobson, while The Fray headlines Snow Daze with a performance on Saturday at Ford Park in Vail.
“Big Head Todd obviously is extremely successful and has been in Colorado for over 20 years, I think. (They’ve sold) out Red Rocks every year basically almost since (their) inception,” said James Deighan of Highline Sports and Entertainment .
Doing what they love
Mohr said he was influenced by musical legends like Muddy Waters, Ray Charles and Wilson Pickett but lyrically he was taken by Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan.
“I guess I’m always trying to find new combinations of styles and I’ve always worked hard in my career to not repeat myself … I like trying to find new things,” Mohr said of the band’s music.
Not surprisingly, Mohr didn’t think the band would become as successful as it has when he first started. But they did have goals in mind like having fun and not taking things too seriously, Mohr said. Eventually the foursome could afford to quit their day jobs and focus on what they really wanted to do.
“When you have the opportunity to do what you love for a living I think you stick with it as long as you can,” Mohr said.
Still drawing a crowd
Now they tour an average of 90 days a year, sometimes more, sometimes less. And 11 albums later, the band still isn’t satisfied.
“I’ve been writing a lot of music and doing a little bit of recording but hopefully we’ll have something, I don’t know, maybe (next) summer,” Mohr said of a new CD release from Big Head Todd.
Mohr said the band has been experimenting with a horn section for the new album and plans on traveling with it during their tour next year.
“Recently I’ve seen it a couple of times and it’s kind of excited me. Trey Anastasio had a big horn section when I saw him last. It just allows for a lot of different textures and that’s kind of neat,” Mohr said.
Spontaneity, a very large catalogue of material, oddball covers and the fact that the band has 20 years of experience when it comes to playing live are a few of the reasons why Mohr thinks Big Head Todd is still able to keep drawing a crowd.
“I think people just don’t know exactly what they’re going to hear when they see the band and that makes it exciting,” Mohr said.
High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or email@example.com.
If you go …
What: Big Head Todd And The Monsters kick off Vail Snow Daze with opening act Little Hercules.
When: Thursday night from 7 to 10 p.m.
Where: Dobson Arena in Vail.
Cost: $30 for general admission or $125 for private reserved. Tickets are available at the door.
More information: Call 970-476-6797 or visit http://www.vailsnowdaze.com.