Feb. 19, 2004

Big Head Todd & The Monsters Prepares To Groove Riviera Theatre

By Randy J. Klodz

Upon the pre-Valentine’s Day release of jazz-blues artists Big Head Todd & the Monsters’ latest release “Crimes of Passion,” the band embarked on a headlining theatre tour that will have Big Head Todd once again touring without a supporting act. This tour is set to hit Chicago for a Feb. 21 date at Riviera Theatre.

Big Head Todd & The Monsters—which includes Todd Park Mohr (vocals, guitar, keyboards and saxophone), Rob Squires (bass) and Brian Nevin (drums and percussion)—celebrated the Feb. 10 release of “Crimes of Passion” while playing a small club in which the band first got its break, called Herman’s Hideaway, in the band’s hometown of Denver, Colo. Tickets for the event sold-out in about five minutes.

Even at this point in the band’s storied history, people still ask about the silly band name. But, according to the band, the moniker Big Head Todd & the Monsters was originally humorous for a purpose. “We just made it up,” bassist Rob Squires said with a laugh. “It’s kind of just a silly name. When we first started playing, we were kind of doing a lot of blues covers and stuff like that. And a lot of blues bands have kind of silly names, so we just made one up.”

“Crimes of Passion” fully displays the stellar vocals and blues-hall spirit of Big Head Todd & the Monsters. Songs such as “Beauty Queen,” “Come On” and “Dirty Juice” groove while the lyrics: “Your crazy love will never make it in the end / As your imaginary ships they come crashing in / And they’ll never fly again” make the mellow, Bruce Springsteen-esque “Imaginary Ships” glisten.

On this tour, Squires said that the band plans to play two sets each night, totaling about 150 minutes of Big Head Todd & The Monsters’ music showcasing various tracks from the band’s impressive catalog as well as select “Crimes of Passion” tracks.

Before the release of “Crimes of Passion,” the most recent Big Head Todd album was titled “Riviera.” And, although the band has played Chicago’s Riviera Theatre during the band’s last few winter tours, Squires said that the album’s title was just a coincidence.

Riviera Theatre is at 4750 N. Broadway. Tickets for this 18+ event are listed for $28.50 each with a start time scheduled for 8 p.m. For more information on Big Head Todd & the Monsters log on to www.bigheadtodd.com.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters Photo: Tim Jackson