Popular band to play Key West
The true testament to any great band is to evolve and somehow resonate beyond musical genres and singular fan bases. For Big Head Todd and The Monsters (BHTM), who play two shows this Saturday and Sunday at the Key West Theater, the band can certainly hold their own claim to being one of the rare, enduring bands spanning several generations of music.
Although the Colorado-based band formed in the mid ’80s, many casual fans still know BHTM for a flurry of top 15 songs in the early ’90s, such as “Bittersweet” and “Broken Hearted Savior,” which still have mass radio appeal today. However, much like their better-known hits, BHTM continue to produce original songs that reverberate amongst a wide array of fans.
In early June, BHTM will play at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheater before more than 8,500 fans (a venue they’ve sold out dozens of times over their career). But this weekend, Key West music lovers will have a rare opportunity to hear BHTM in the intimate, personal setting of the Key West Theater. On the eve of the band’s dual shows in the Southernmost City, the Key West Weekly caught up with legendary lead singer Todd Park Mohr to discuss the upcoming shows and more:
Keys Weekly: Have you been to Key West before?
Todd Park Mohr: I’ve never been, but I’ve always wanted to go. It’s always been one of my bucket list items and I’m looking forward to it.
KW: You guys have played Red Rocks over 20 times. What’s it like to go from such a large venue such as that to something much more personable like a Key West Theater?
TM: It really doesn’t change [the approach]. The smallest gigs you might have could end up being your most significant. You just never know who’s out there and what’s going to happen.
KW: Most everyone, whether they realize it or not, knows your music. For the causal fan, how would you describe your sound?
TM: I would say we are a roots oriented rock ‘n’ roll band. As songwriters, we’ve had a lengthy career of original songs, but our style is all over the place.
KW: You have one of the most unique voices in the business. What comparisons has it drawn?
TM: I could tell you who I wish I could be compared to, like my songwriting heroes. Bob Dylan is at the top. Springsteen. I love Johnny Cash, Hendrix, Muddy Waters. But I don’t know that I would ever be compared to any of those people, but that’s where a lot of my influences came from.
KW: Cliché question. Are you as smart as they say you are and is that where your name Big Head Todd came from?
TM: [laughing] No … people say I’m smart and that’s silly. We were in college and we needed a name for a gig at a party. I think I thought of the name Big Head Todd and a Side of Beef. There’s a blues jazz artist by the name of Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and I think that’s sort of where the origins come from.
KW: For the two Key West shows—should fans expect similar sets or a variety between the two nights?
TM: No, we’ll mix it up. Yeah, we’re hoping we’ll get some two timers and have some fun.
KW: What’s the secret to keeping a successful band together far as long as you have?
TM: In a band you have to make harmony — that’s the thing about music I guess.
KW: Do you approach songwriting now, the same way you did 25 years ago?
TM: I’ve gone through phases where I haven’t been as interested, or on the mark, as a writer, but obviously when we started out I had a lot of success as a songwriter and I am still extremely motivated as a writer. I think it’s an incredible opportunity to have something to say and to create music for a living.
KW: You have three hours to kill on the road. What’s your pleasure?
TM: I like to read or play silly video games on the iPad; but if I can practice guitar that would be my preferred thing to do anywhere.
KW: Are you working on anything new now?
TM: We just completed a new album and I think it will be released in the fall. We are going to be playing four to six of those songs at our Key West shows.