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Band of the Week: Big Head Todd and the Monsters

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MEET THE BAND: Todd Park Mohr (vocals, guitar), Rob Squires (bass), Brian Nevin (drums, percussion), Jeremy Lawton (keyboards, lap and pedal steel guitar, and backing vocals)

ROAD WARRIORS: After forming in the mid-'80s in Boulder, Colorado, Big Head Todd and the Monsters initially focused on playing shows regionally in the Colorado area. They'd quickly take to the road, however, and logged hundreds of thousands of miles in a van they dubbed "the Colonel." "Most of the bands that existed at the time we formed were cover bands or metal bands," says Mohr. "We were one of only a few original bands in the Denver area at the time. It was a very nascent scene. We did a lot of driving and a lot of sleeping in the van. We got a lot of mosquito bites. It was an incredible time. When you start out, there's nothing like that."

ROCKING HARD: When the band began to assemble the songs that would make up its latest effort, New World Arisin', it realized the album would rock a little harder than previous efforts. The band recorded the disc at E-Town Studios in Boulder. It was mixed by Mark Needham and engineered by James Tuttle. Mohr produced the album himself.

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The blues artist Charley Patton inspired the album's title track, a bluesy song that features a grunge-y guitar riff and hoarse vocals. "[Patton] has a gospel song on one of his albums that became a pattern for the melody of that song, and the lyrics have been in mind for quite some time," says Mohr. "Detonator" is another hard rock tune that Mohr describes as a "Petty-ish punk song," and "Trip" features some of the album's funkiest guitar work. Big Head might get pigeonholed as a jam band, but the group embraces a wide range of musical genres on New World Risin'. "We grew up in the early jam band scene, but we've always thought of ourselves as a rock band," says Mohr. "We focus on the songs, and my aim as a songwriter is to not write the same song twice. I love all kinds of music. We're a little bit eclectic but not any more than any other rock band. American music is just a melting pot."

WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: bigheadtodd.com.

WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Big Head Todd and the Monsters perform with Luther Dickinson at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at House of Blues.

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