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|Big Head Todd And The Monsters is not a remake of a scary horror film. They are, however, a scary great rock group punctuated with one "Guitar God" in the name of Todd Park Mohr. Along with his two mates, Brian Nevin (on drums and vocals), and Rob Squires (on bass and vocals), the group has evolved musically and professionally to even higher ground since they first started playing music together at Colorado's Columbine High School where they chose their band name in homage to blues hero Eddie "Clean Head" Vinson. Having attained platinum sales status for Sister Sweetly along with two more (close to gold releases) Strategem and Beautiful World, Big Head Todd And The Monsters are releasing their first new studio album in four years entitled Riviera on their own Big Records label. They have more than 2,500 live dates under their collective belts and performing live is where the band lives. Their live shows are incendiary. Todd's scorching guitar licks and quiet charisma is a wonderful counterpoint to the easy give and take between him and lifelong friends bassist Rob and drummer Brian. Riviera is a fully realized collection of rousing rock songs reflecting a sense of hope and strength that's perfect for 2002. Highlights include the straight-ahead topical rocker "Freedom Fighter," the mid-tempo 'should I stay or should I go' heartbreaker "Again and Again," and the flat-out love plea "Julianna." The first single is: "Wishing Well," a hard rocking spacious song showcasing what a matured, well-oiled machine this longtime three-man unit has become. Mohr, the band's songwriter, says that Riviera came into being over the past four years. While pointing to a Latin sensuality and spirit that run through the album--and inspired the title--Todd says, "I sort of piloted each song as its own little Latin movie... the album is half Gabriel Marquez romance and half Clash war ballad." Mohr has also said, however, that Riviera is purely rock 'n roll. "Primarily, it's a rock record. There are not a lot of really band-oriented, raw records out there right now, like the first two Police albums and the early Pretenders stuff. There's an excitement to that, that is similar to Riviera.|