robsquires

Monstrous Bassist:
Rob Squires

Rob Squires is the bassist for the blues-influenced rock group Big Head Todd & The Monsters. Big Head Todd & The Monsters are a band known for it’s live shows, and they have a massive following of fans. Calling from the road, Rob discussed their writing method, how they started out and why Colorado is such an important music state.

What inspired the name Big Head Todd & The Monsters?

It’s just kind of a silly name, there’re a lot of blues artists that have silly names. We started out as a blues band, made something up goofy and it stuck.

How do you feel that your band has evolved over the years from that blues sound?

There’s still a blues influence in our music. Obviously, with Todd [Park Mohr]’s writing, we’re now a one hundred percent original act. There are elements of a lot of different types of music in there.

Did you guys start out as a cover band?

Most bands do, just not having enough material to do their own shows. Most bands will start out as cover bands, and as you write your own material, you kind of slip those in when you can.

Do you have a favorite song to cover?

We’ve done lots of covers over the years. We’ve done a lot of Johnny Cash songs and I’m a big fan of his. Probably one of our Johnny Cash covers.

How would you describe the sound of Big Head Todd?

Its just rock’n’roll. Blues-based rock’n’roll. If you like guitar music, Todd is one of the best guitar players out there. People that enjoy good guitar-based music would enjoy our band.

As a bass player, who are some of your big influences?

John Paul Jones, of Zeppelin, who was just an amazing player and performer. Billy Talent, from the E Street Band, I’ve always loved a lot. Those would probably be one and two.

Do you have a favorite song off of “Crimes of Passion”?

My favorites change all the time. If I had to pick one [song] right now, I would pick “ICU in Everything.”

Do you remember your first gig with Big Head Todd?

Probably not the very first one {gig], because we started out just playing a lot of parties and things like that. Those parties kind of run together.

What is the biggest difference between doing studio work and being onstage?

It’s just the immediacy and the moment of it. Live music, you play it, it’s there and then it’s gone. In a studio situation, obviously, you have the ability to go back and doctor things and change things. It’s a different way of making music.

What do you feel makes a great live band?

Definitely a lot of playing together over the years. People get trained off of one another, so you know where people are going as far as their individual playing. You kind of see how you fit into that hole. Just some good sensibilities and listening in order to fit into that hole.

 How have the fans been responding to the new material?

We’ve gotten great reviews on our new record, “Crimes of Passion.” The fans seem to be really enjoying it and we’re really excited about that. We make music because we love it, that’s the first thing, but it’s always great when you get a positive response from the fans as well.

Were you surprised by how quickly you gained a fan base without being signed?

There were a lot of years of just playing anywhere and everywhere that we could. A lot of parties, and a lot of fraternity houses; any and every bar we could get a gig in. It took awhile to build that following, but it was a quality way of doing it. A lot of it was word of mouth, of people getting turned on to our band and telling their friends about it. That’s a really good way to build loyalty.

You seem to have a really hardcore fan base…

Our fans have been unbelievable; it’s because of them that we’ve been able to make music together for almost twenty years now. We’ve been really blessed to have such a big, loyal fan base.

What do you feel is the key to being in a band together for over twenty years?

Well, we’re all good friends and I think we’ve been able to maintain our friendship. Just as important as that is the quality of what Todd does as a guitar player, and as a writer. He’s one of the best that’s out there today, and to continually be able to come up with great writing and great records; it allows you to continue the momentum of a career.

Are you working on any new projects?

We just had a live DVD come out; it was filmed at The Fillmore in San Francisco. That was just released in August. We are going to be on a tribute record for Lynard Syknard. There are a few other things we are working on in addition to touring.

What are your hobbies outside of music?

I enjoy a lot of sports, go to see a lot of sports. I’m also into skiing a lot. That’s really my main hobby.

Do you have a favorite team?

It depends on what sports season is in progress. I pretty much follow all of the Colorado sports teams. I was born and raised there.

What do you feel makes Colorado such a strong music state?

Our music scene has gotten a lot better over the years. There are a lot more clubs and opportunities for bands to play in these days. The University of Colorado is there, as well as Colorado State, so you have a lot of young college-aged people that are into music. There’s a good amount of people that live there who support the arts and support music.

Do you guys have a certain method for creating music in the studio?

Todd’s our main writer, he writes everything. The way it usually works is he’ll work on his own and assemble some songs and bring them in to [drummer] Brian [Nevin] and I. [He’ll get] our input on them and let us fill our parts in there as well. As a group, we formulate it into its final stage. We just try to build to what he brings in.

Of all of the albums you’ve released, do you have a personal favorite album?

I’m not the most objective because I’m so close to it. As a musician, you have a tendency to like your most current one, just because it’s what you’re working on today. I’d say “Crimes of Passion” is my favorite at this point.

Does this record reflect where you are now?

That’s the thing about recorded music; it’s kind of a snapshot in time. [Music] is an indication of where your band is at the moment. Hopefully, over the years, we’ll be able to grow and improve. Hopefully, [our] records will continue to get better.

For more info on Big Head Todd & The Monsters, please check out:www.bigheadtodd.com

Check out some live photos of Big Head Todd & the Monsters here

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