Big Head Todd & The Monsters made their mark the old-fashioned way. The Colorado-based trio broke onto the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s not by signing with a major record label, releasing hit albums, or being promoted on television; they toured constantly. They built a grass-roots following, mostly of college students who liked the sound they heard at concerts on their campuses across the country. The sounds of Big Head Todd & The Monsters were made possible by front-man, guitarist, and keyboard player Todd Park Mohr. Mohr is backed up by bassist Rob Squires and drummer Brian Nevin.
Eventually the band did lay their jazzy, blues-based pop onto vinyl, but not until after earning their reputation with fantastic live shows. The band had become well-known on the college campuses for their unpredictable blends of soul and pop, as well as breaking out with a Johnny Cash cover or two. They also worked on original music as a trio, all putting in their efforts and ideas. When they finally decided it was time to cut a record, the group formed their own record label called Big Records. Their first two albums, Another Mayberry and Midnight Radio, were released on the label. The albums did very well considering the band was on an independent label, but soon they decided to take their sounds to a larger audience and signed with Warner Records.
Their first album on a major label, Sister Sweetly, went platinum and stayed on the pop charts for more than a year. The single 'Broken Hearted Savior' was a rock radio hit. Soon after, their second album, Strategem, also did moderately well on the charts and received some critical praise, but Big Head Todd & The Monsters were having some troubles with the major label. The company wanted them to produce another smash hit like Sister Sweetly, but the band was determined to stay true to themselves and produce music they cared about. They continued releasing albums with Warner, but relations were poor. By 1997 the band had released Beautiful World, and Live Monsters followed a year later.
Throughout their time with the major labels, they continued to tour. Live shows continued to be their forte. Their records never sold as well as tickets to their shows. Big Head Todd's passion for the music could not be captured and canned like so many artists attempt. When on the stage, the band found more energy and excitement to pour into their tunes. Audiences were always delighted when the trio took the stage. But after little success with their second and third albums, Big Head Todd & The Monsters were dropped from the Warner label.
Knowing their touring potential was still strong, the band took a few years to regroup and find their sound once more. After they returned to the music scene they released Rivera in 2002 and two years later Crimes of Passion hit the shelves, both released on their independent label, Big Records.