Big Head Todd & The Monsters

Going into the project that would become “100 years of Robert Johnson,” Big Head Todd frontman Todd Park Mohr admits he didn’t know a whole lot about the delta blues player from the 1930s who was later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“I’d been exposed to some of his recordings before, but they never grabbed me somehow,” he said recently from Chicago.
But by the end of the project, which was a couple of years in the making and found Big Head Todd sharing the stage with such blues legends as 95-year-old Honeyboy Edwards and Hubert Sumlin, it had a profound impact on him.
“It was absolutely an honor. I can’t say enough good things about them and the experience,” Mohr said. “It revolutionized my life musically.”
With the 23-city tour that followed, and spending time with many of the album’s players on the tour bus, Mohr said it was incredible to hear the stories they had to share.
On Sunday, Big Head Todd and the Monsters will be back in Utah, bringing their 21-year legacy of music to Red Butte Garden.
“We’ve been to Salt Lake for our whole career, ever since I was 21 and started playing in a band,” he said.
The Colorado band hit big on the music scene in 1993 with their album Sister Sweetly which contained songs like “Broken Hearted Savior” and “Bittersweet.”
Because The Moody Blues show was moved to the Nu Skin Theatre inside the Energy Solutions Arena due to continuing cleanup of the oil spill (it would have been a rainy concert anyway), the Big Head Todd show will be the first of the season at Red Butte.
Their last album, before the Robert Johnson project, was Rocksteady, released in 2010. Ironically, it didn’t contain a lot of “rock,” as Mohr described it as more of a “Caribbean soul album,” though it did contain a great cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Beast of Burden.”
“We deliberately left out a lot of the rock sound,” he said.
But changing up each album, while still having the underlying Big Head Todd sound, is nothing new for the band. The goal is to keep making music, even in an age where selling full albums is tough.
“We just keep writing music and putting out music as regularly as possible,” he said.
The next album due to be released in the winter will be a rock album, Mohr said.
Mohr is also working on his first solo acoustic record.
“It’s a pretty risky thing. There’s a lot at stake when there’s just a vocal and a guitar. There’s a different dynamic making that kind of thing fly,” he said. “It’s just a wooden instrument and your voice and you have to make something happen. Turns out you can make a lot happen.”

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