Big Head Todd and the Monsters have been around, and been a part of several music scenes. They were “the next big thing” in the early ’90s, with a hit record and a big following. They were powered by the songs, guitar, and voice of Todd Park Mohr and made fine records. But the hits didn’t keep coming. Sure, they were played on radio, but they weren’t exactly mainstream. That said, here’s there latest, and it’s a fine addition to a band that’s putting together an impressive catalog.
The first noticeable thing is the influences. They are many, and they cover a broad spectrum – Zeppelin to John Lee Hooker to Al Green to any number of folkies.
Mohr’s guitar anchors the trio. Check out the crunchy chords of “Dirty Juice.” Mix it with the John Lee Hooker-influenced vocals, and you’ve got a fine stew. That’s kind of how their whole deal works. “Beauty Queen” is the kind of slow soul with sly arpeggios dominating the solos and fills that Mohr has become the master of. In fact, “ICU in Everything” is a tune that brings to mind Al Green, and the Reverend may wish to cover. Great stuff, down to the slinky chords driven along by a quiet wah. “Angela Dangerlove” is a rock ballad with serious soul overtones, and a hook big enough to drive a Mack truck through. In a radio world where songs still counted, this would be a gigantic hit. It also features a soulful guitar solo that squeezes every ounce of feel out of the guitar that can be squeezed.
The sound of the band has changed a bit over the past couple of albums. It’s become much more dense. But, it’s still inherently funky. And Mohr is one of the better rock guitarists of his generation.
For those that think good, old-fashioned songwriting and performing is out of vogue, check out this one.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s
Aug. ’04 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.