A rock band with an easygoing jam band sensibility and a taste for the blues, Big Head Todd & the Monsters have proven to be one of the most enduring bands in their genre, still attracting fans to their live shows over 30 years after they first started playing out.
BHT formed in Boulder, Colorado by Todd Park Mohr on guitar and vocals, Rob Squires on bass and vocals, and Brian Nevin on drums and vocals. The three had been friends in high school, and they formed the band in 1986 while they were attending the University of Colorado. The band quickly found an audience in their home state, and were soon touring regularly on the West Coast and through the Mountain States. In 1989, the group released their first album, Another Mayberry, which was issued through their own label, Big Records. A collection of live recordings, Midnight Radio, was BHT's second release in 1990.
As their following grew, major labels began to take notice, and the band struck a deal with the Warner Bros.-distributed Giant Records. The group's first album for Giant, 1993's Sister Sweetly, went platinum in the wake of the successful singles "Bittersweet," "Circle," and "Broken Hearted Savior," and BHT signed on as one of the headline acts for the 1993 edition of the H.O.R.D.E. touring festival. The band wasted no time releasing a follow-up, with Strategem appearing in 1994. After an extensive round of touring, they returned to the studio to record 1997's Beautiful World, which included guest appearances from John Lee Hooker and P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell. A live set recorded during one of their H.O.R.D.E. dates, Live Monsters appeared in 1998. By the time BHT released Riviera in 2002, Giant had gone out of business, and the group revived the Big Records label to distribute it.
The group expanded to a quartet with the addition of Jeremy Lawton on keyboards and pedal steel guitar; he joined the lineup in time to record the 2004 concert album Live at the Fillmore. The same year, BHT also issued a studio album, Crimes of Passion, released by Sanctuary Records. In 2005, the band released a digital single of the song "Blue Sky," which was written and recorded to honor the members of the Discovery Space Shuttle mission; it later became a campaign song for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential campaign. The album All the Love You Need followed in 2007, which found them returning to their Big label, and Rocksteady followed in 2010. BHT indulged their love for classic blues with their next album; credited to Big Head Blues Club -- 2011's 100 Years of Robert Johnson was a set of tunes honoring the centennial of his birth, and featured guest appearances from B.B. King, Charlie Musselwhite, Hubert Sumlin, Cedric Burnside, and others.
BHT returned to their traditional style for 2014's Black Beehive, and another concert set, Live at Red Rocks 2015, appeared the following year. Another Big Head Blues Club release appeared in 2016: Way Down Inside was a tribute to the songs of Willie Dixon, with the group joined by Billy Branch, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Mud Morganfield (the son of the legendary Muddy Waters). Big Head Todd & the Monsters returned with the self-produced New World Arisin' in November 2017. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi