Eastern Carolina Style Interviews: Rob Squires of Big Head Todd and the Monsters

Posted: January 2, 2014 by MichaelSmithNC in All, Interview, Music
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It is the early 1980s in Colorado, three boys; Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin and Rob Squires are at Columbine High School dreaming about hitting it big in music. Fast forward, a little bit, to 1986 and change the setting to The University of Colorado and those three same boys, now grown men, begin touring the college scene performing a jazz and blues inspired set as Big Head Todd and the Monsters. In 1989 they take their work to another level and form Big Records and release their first album, Another Mayberry.  It is now 1993 and Big Head Todd and the Monsters are set to release their third album, Sister Sweetly, under new label Giant Records. Sister Sweetly is widely critically acclaimed and goes on to sell well into Platinum status. From that point on, Big Head Todd and The Monsters would always consider themselves, and be considered by many to be, a truly successful band.

On February 4, 2014 the band will release Black Beehive which will be their 14th album. Throughout their careers and their large catalog of music the band has stayed true to their roots of being a blues based rock band. They were not concerned with fame or with being the “next big thing”; they just wanted to make music.

Rob Squires, the bassist and a founding member of the group, took some time recently to answer a few questions about their music, their upcoming show at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh and the new album.

MAS – You guys will perform at the Lincoln Theatre in Raleigh, NC on Friday, January 31. What can we expect from the show, a mix of old and new or mostly material from the upcoming album?

Rob Squires – With our new CD coming out I’m sure we’ll focus on some of the new material as well as older crowd favorites. We’ll have special guests Ronnie Baker Brooks and Hazel Miller joining us for the tour so that will allow us to present some really cool and different things as well.

MAS – Everywhere I look I read that the 1993 release ‘Sister Sweetly’ should have made you all superstars.  It sold over a million copies and was consistently ranked in the Billboard Top 200. In an interview you did a few years back with MusicPix.net it was said that you were just not ready for all that came with that type of success. Now, here you are 20 years after the release of that album, do you have any regrets about pulling back on the reigns? What would you have done differently?

Rob Squires – We are very happy with our career and have no regrets. We have always stayed true to what we believe in musically and have been rewarded by our fans with a very successful 27 year and counting career.

MAS – Since the early 90’s you all have produced 13 or 14 albums all with varying degrees of success. Your musical style in those albums has been described as “a little bit of everything.” With your interests and abilities being so diverse, how do you assemble all of those styles into the identity that is Big Head Todd and the Monsters?

Rob Squires – Even with the differing styles in CDs I think you can find a common thread and that’s the sound of the band and the underlying influence of the blues. Blues spawned so many varieties of music but everything can be traced back to those basics.

MAS – You guys are a true success story in music, three buddies from high-school that decided to make music; and keep it working for over 20 years. How do you make it work in the age of “creative differences” breaking up groups every day?

Rob Squires – We have always been good friends and supportive of each other’s ideas. Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have Todd who is such an incredible songwriter.

MAS – Your soon to be released studio album, Black Beehive, sounds like some of your very best work. Tell me about the development of the album. What was the inspiration? Who developed the overall concept? Is there anything noteworthy about this album as compared to your others?

Rob Squires – Todd came up with an incredibly strong batch of songs and we were fortunate enough to connect with Steve Jordan as a producer. Steve is one of the most musically talented people on the planet and has worked with a who’s who of legends. Steve really focused the project and brought great sounds and vibe to the recording. We recorded fairly live in a one room studio and it really captures the essence and the sound of our band.

MAS – In looking through the current Billboard Hot 100, blues music or even blues inspired music is barely represented if at all. The charts are dominated by the likes of Katy Perry, One Direction, Miley Cyrus and others like them. Does that make you feel challenged or pressured to pursue a more pop style of music too?

Rob Squires – Not at all. We’ve never chased trends. We make music that we love and we’ve been blessed that enough people love it too.


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