Two New Members of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame!
By Jim Lawson on June 12, 2023
This past Saturday night, June 10, 2023, at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado favorites Big Head Todd & The Monsters and local R&B legend Hazel Miller were inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame just ahead of their at capacity show.
Columbine high school friends and founding members Todd Park Mohr, Brian Nevin, and Rob Squires formed the band in 1986 while attending CU Boulder and set out to tour the country in the Colonel, their yellow 1977 Plymouth van. In 2004, they added keyboardist Jeremy Lawton.
Miller was first noticed in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, where she sang backup vocals for the likes of Al Green, but she landed in Denver in 1984 when her family’s U-Haul broke down during a planned move to Los Angeles. She never left. After 54 years and 4 albums, Hazel has been a Colorado staple at many venues around the state and also lends her emotional energy as a backup vocalist for Big Head Todd & The Monsters.
After the hall of fame induction, Big Head Todd and the Monsters returned to a familiar packed house alongside longtime collaborator Hazel Miller.
There’s a unique energy that exists at shows in their home state when Big Head Todd & The Monsters perform. It felt like we were watching an old friend perform for the first time in a while instead of a band that has defined Colorado’s blues-rock scene for multiple decades.
The crowd is a mixture of many age groups, but the largest demographic seems to be those who certainly supported the group in their early days playing gigs all over Colorado.
The band provided the crowd with plenty of nostalgia from their most momentous album, 1993’s platinum-certified Sister Sweetly, earning them both commercial and mainstream success. The setlist included, “Bittersweet,” “Circle,” “Broken Hearted Savior,” “It’s Alright,” and the title track “Sister Sweetly. The latter two featuring Hazel Miller.
They took us all through their considerable collection of forceful live versions of their pop-blues rock familiar songs including “Black Beehive” which celebrates the style on soulfulness of the late Amy Winehouse, “Resignation Superman,” Hey Delila,” “Please Don’t Tell Her,“ and “Beautiful World,” with Hazel Miller joining on the latter two. Are they still writing new songs? We’re happy to report that, yes they are. The band gave us all a treat with “My New Number One”
The band also featured Hazel on a cover of the Rolling Stones “Beast of Burden,” which had the Red Rocks audience singing along to every word. Speaking of covers, Big Head Todd & The Monsters are masters of taking big songs from other artists and making it their own as they did with two songs in the encore, “Brandy,” from Looking Glass again with Hazel Miller and Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me.”
If you haven’t seen Big Head Todd & The Monsters live, you are truly missing out on the quintessential Colorado music experience.
– photos by Jim Lawson. All rights reserved.