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Big Head Todd coming to Durango

They’re a Colorado-based band that has never played in Durango. At least frontman and guitar player Todd Park Mohr doesn’t think they have.

They’ve played just about everywhere else in the country, seeing larger venue success early in their career in the mid 1990s when they were picked up by the jam-band crowd as an act on the H.O.R.D.E. Festival tour, playing alongside the likes of Blues Traveler, Phish and The Aquarium Rescue Unit, among others. It makes sense that Durango could have been passed by when you’re playing just about every other city or its suburbs across the country.

Big Head Todd and The Monsters will perform for the “first time” in Durango, when they play The Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College on Wednesday.

When your 30-plus-year career has taken you all over the country via thousands of shows, the memory can get hazy.

“I don’t think Big Head Todd and The Monsters have been there, but I could be mistaken,” Mohr said. “But we’re looking forward to getting down there.”

If you go

WHAT: Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

WHERE: Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, 1000 Rim Drive.

TICKETS: Sold out.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.durangoconcerts.com.

Mohr has been kicking around the music scene his whole life. He started early, “plunking around” on the guitar and piano that was in the family home, while also digging into the family’s record collection, which consisted of anything from The Beatles to the more influential records by Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.

Back then, in the Denver area school district, taking a music course was mandatory, so it was something that was laid out in front of him, even though at that point, a “career” wasn’t considered.

“I started early on, and was always interested in music, but was always discouraged from pursuing a career in music,” Mohr said. “But fortunately, our success began when I was in college, so, I didn’t really have much choice.”

That success came from people digging on what he and the band were doing at venues up and down the Front Range. It also left him with a choice, which was keep up with college, or roll the dice on his early band accomplishments and jump into music full time. Ultimately, pursuing a music career won.

“Some people work their whole life hoping for a career in music, but mine happened so early,” he said. “When I left school, it was sort of like, ‘you’ll be back,’ but it turned out that I never had to consider another career once we started.”

They’re a band that has kept feet in the mainstream and indie music realms. They saw chart success in 1993 when they released “Sister Sweetly,” the album that dropped three charting singles, including hit-rock radio staple “Bittersweet.” However, outside of that they’ve remained an indie outfit, a blues-rock based band driven by the solid and stellar guitar playing of Mohr.

Mainstream or indie success doesn’t matter, as the band’s accomplishments are dictated by ticket sales. They’re still crisscrossing the country playing more than100 dates a year, which includes a tour this summer with former H.O.R.D.E. tour-mates Blues Traveler. Next week’s Durango date sold out on the quick, a telltale sign that the fans still remain.

“We’ve always been an under-the-radar band that is driven by our fan base, the people that are going to the shows. So, you’re not going to see us on the cover of a magazine, we’re not at Coachella, but we’re still pretty damn big. We’re able to do 1,000 or 2,000 people at pretty much any place in the country. That’s a pretty good number,” Mohr said. “So, we’re really pleased to still be around, and still making music and interested in music, and having fans interested in our music.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.