Having played together for nearly three decades, Big Head Todd and The Monsters are putting their energy into promotion and touring around their 11th studio album New World Arisin’ which makes good on its forward-facing title with what might be the brashest rock and roll of their career. The album explores various subgenres, from the funky “Trip” to punk inspired “Detonator” to raging country-rock “Damaged One,” to the expansive storytelling in the Van Morrison/Springsteen mode of “Wipeout Turn,” a Jimi Hendrix cover “Room Full of Mirrors,” and, in the title track, “New World Arisin” a Charley Patton-inspired tune that ended up with a heavy metal/gospel feel.
But if there’s a dominant musical motif to New World Arisin’, it’s “straight-up rock-pop,” says lead guitarist/singer Todd Mohr. That contemporary approach might come as a slight surprise to hardcore fans that saw the Monsters take a seriously rootsy turn in the last 10 years. With this album the blues take a back seat to the unapologetically mainstream instincts that had Big Head Todd going platinum in the mid-’90s with the album Sister Sweetly, which spawned the rock radio hits “Broken Hearted Savior,” “Bittersweet,” and “Circle.”
Whether it is selling out Red Rocks Amphitheater nineteen times, or playing the Denver Broncos Super Bowl Parade or releasing the single “Blue Sky,” a tribute to the space program and performed years later as a live wake-up call to the astronauts on the shuttle, the band has seen and done it all. What’s clear is Big Head Todd is one multi-headed rock monster, easily traversing the most accessible hooks and the heaviest grooves. It’s not surprising that they would appeal to any audience or sub-audience that values durability over flavors of the moment. Todd goes on to state, “Music has an incredible capacity to convey other cultures and times, and to create a lot of empathy and togetherness. There’s harmony in it, and it implies oneness — the root.