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Thread: Montrose! How Did I Miss Them?

  1. #1

    Montrose! How Did I Miss Them?

    How did I miss this band the first time around? I had heard the name but apparently never the music. This kicks some serious butt and that's Sammy Hagar on vocals! I knew about him too as I had his solo album "Red" but never knew he was in Montrose.

    VIC, are you listening???
    "Moustache stays right where it's at" - Clutch

  2. #2
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    La Florida
    God how weird. I bookmarked this video on my "save for later" library while perusing YT today.
    I had the first album on cassette years ago. I wasn't blown away by it but it was pretty good 70s, hard rock. I'll check this video later.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2012
    Kalamazoo Michigan
    That first Montrose album especially was a classic. In hindsight it was basically an all-star band with Ronnie, Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Chickenfoot, Solo), Bill Church who had played with Van Morrison and went on to play in Sammy's band for years, and Denny Carmassi who went on to be the drummer for Heart, Whitesnake and played with a bunch of people. Just great kick ass rock n roll.

  4. #4
    Member moecurlythanu's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Crimea River
    Yeah, I remember hearing "Matriarch" on the radio. Those were the days. I'm pretty sure there were a bunch more that got airplay too. They never quite broke through, though.
    "If you want to see the true nature of humanity, just look at the internet."

  5. #5
    Loved Montrose when they first came out when I was thirteen. That first album was a killer. Turn up the volume!

    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

    Occasional musical musings on

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSly View Post
    Denny Carmassi who went on to be the drummer for Heart, Whitesnake and played with a bunch of people.
    He looked real familiar when I saw him in the video, knew I had to have seen his face somewhere in other bands.
    "Moustache stays right where it's at" - Clutch

  7. #7
    Yeah, I've been meaning to check out Montrose for ages. I remember reading an article on Ronnie Montrose in the October 1983 issue of Guitar Player. The photo showed him playing this big Gretsch hollowbody guitar, so I initially thought he was some sort of rockabilly oriented player. But, then as I read the article, and especially saw the photos of his stage rig at the time (which included multiple volume pedals that were wired up to control his effects rack), I realized he obviously wasn't playing rockabilly. At the time, he was playing shows with a band that consisted just of him and a keyboardist named Mitchell Froom (who later became well known as a producer), with the rest of the band replaced by drum machines and sequencers.

    There was a bit where he was talking about his late 70's solo album Open Fire, which apparently a lot of people didn't dig, because it wasn't "heavy" enough". He said that Sammy Hagar had told him a fan walked up to him after a show and asked if he had heard Open Fire. Sammy said he had, and the fan said, "Man, I put that record on and it made my stereo gag!". There's a version of the Gene Pitney song Town Without A Pity on that record, that almost became a hit, but it came out at the same time as Chuck Magione's Feels So Good, and "How can you play two instrumentals at the same radio station?", he said was the line he got from the record company about why Feels So Good was a hit, and Town Without A Pity wasn't.

    Then I remember a few years later, he was interviewed in Guitar Player, as he had put out an all instrumental record, so they did a big article on that. Years late,r I read an article in Vintage Guitar magazine where he said one of the great "secrets" of the 80's was that he had put out two or three instrumental albums during that era that sort of flew under everyone's radar.

    So I've been aware for just about 35 years now, but I've never followed up and checked out any of his stuff. I know saw a Sammy Hagar concert on MTV back in the 80's where he did, I think it's Bad Motor Scooter, where he does motorcycle intro on a lap steel (which he then throws across the stage, to be caught by a roadie, once the song begins), but I'm not sure if I've heard much else.

    BTW, there's double CD reissues of the first two Montrose records, last time someone mentioned Montrose, I went on Amazon and put them in my "Save For Later" list.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Waterloo, IA, USA
    Montrose was a bad-ass player, and well-loved by many of my high-school cronies. The band "Montrose" included Hagar, but by the end of the 70s they'd long parted ways I believe, Sammy for his solo career and later VH, and Montrose to form Gamma and other solo projects. Don't believe they worked together after the mid-70s.
    Happy with what I have to be happy with.

  9. #9
    Member frinspar's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
    Tucson, AZ
    That simple riff on Rock Candy is one of those all-time ones that just sticks in your bones.

    Read Sammy's auto a couple years back and Ronnie kind of edged him out more and more until Sammy just went and did his own thing. Thankfully.

  10. #10
    Open Fire is a terrific album. Great guitarist.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Member nosebone's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Stamford, Ct.
    The first one is the best, and to my ears, has a proto Van Halen sound
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

  12. #12
    Member Mythos's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Wolf City
    I know how I missed them, in 1973, I was listening to Yes, Genesis, Tull, Hendrix, King Crimson, Amon Duul II, Can, Flash, Tangerine Dream, BOC, Deep Purple, Led Zep, Hawkwind, Neu....

  13. #13
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    hiding out in treetops, shouting out rude names
    I've never owned a Montrose album but knew plenty who did. Probably deserves to be in my playlist.

  14. #14
    I used to own his album GAMMA 2, I guess that was his early 80's band. I recall liking it, but not loving it. Don't recall much about it other than he was a monster on guitar.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    AZ (via Chicago)
    The first Gamma album is fantastic , Ronnie just tears it up from start to finish. I like all four of the Gamma albums but for me the first was the best.

  16. #16
    Also amazing is Ronnie's first solo album, Open Fire. Instrumental from start to finish and every track a killer.
    Ring the bells, that still can ring,
    Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack - a crack in everything.
    That's how the light gets in.

  17. #17
    Open Fire, Territory, The Speed Of Sound, The Diva Station, Mutatis Mutandis, Music From Here, and Mr. Bones..all have brilliant moments . Even if you skip over a few vocal tracks on Territory and The Diva Station..for the sake of disliking vocals, ..they still contain some if the most interesting Rock instrumentals along with brilliant guitar playing. All 7 studio recordings are worthwhile to any collector who appreciates Ronnie Montrose for his diverse guitar playing.

  18. #18
    Member FrippWire's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Dearborn, MI
    After you're done devouring the Montrose catalog there's Ronnie's solo albums. Many if not all of them have qualities that members of this site look for and enjoy. Lots of incredible guitar playing, a generous number of instrumental tracks plus he was one guitar player that was not shy about using lots of synths.
    Last edited by FrippWire; 12-17-2018 at 10:21 PM.

  19. #19
    ALL ACCESS Gruno's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    Dio, Alabama
    Ronnie had a good semi-instrumental album, The Diva Station, in 1990. The title track got some radio airplay. Featured the return of Gamma singer Davey Pattison.

  20. #20
    Proud Member since 2/2002 UnderAGlassMoon's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Rochester, MN
    I owned Gamma 2 as well and really enjoyed it. Haven't heard it in ages. I do remember liking the vocalist, Davey Pattison, who would sing for Robin Trower in the 80's and 90's. I also really enjoyed Ronnie's instrumental contribution to the first Guitar Speak album "Blood Alley 152". Sad that his life ended the way it did.
    Eric: "What the hell Hutch, it's all Rush, what if we wanted a little variety?"

    Hutch: "Rush is variety, Bitch! Rule number one: in my van, its Rush! All Rush, all the exceptions."

    From "Fanboys" 2009.

  21. #21
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    Milwaukee, WI
    Paper Money, the second Montrose album, just couldn't capture the intensity of the first. Rather disappointing and I just can't figure out what happened. I always felt the first was sort of a head of it's time. Would love some suggestions I could pick up like the first album.
    The older I get, the better I was.

  22. #22
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Mythos View Post
    I know how I missed them, in 1973, I was listening to Yes, Genesis, Tull, Hendrix, King Crimson, Amon Duul II, Can, Flash, Tangerine Dream, BOC, Deep Purple, Led Zep, Hawkwind, Neu....
    That's more or less my story as well.

    I knew of the band (seen their sleeves in record racks, knew of Montrose's name via the Edgar Winter Group Frankenstein)
    And by the time I did check out Montrose (the Jump On It , bought for the sleeve, along with the Flash albums around 78 or 79), it wasn't nearly as good or connecting with me by the time I attacked their music.
    - I was also vaguely familiar with Hagar as well, though I think that was later (the Street /Zone era), since I only discovered and saw his first two album, some 15 years ago (never saw them anywhere).
    - Anyways, the two second-hand vinyls I brought home (JOI and Paper Money didn't do much for me in the last years of the 70's), though my ears did perk up later when the first Gamma album came about
    - I more or less considered Ron the twin brother of Rick Derringer, in terms of guitar hero (or the other way around, Rick being Ronnie's twin ) since they both went through EWG together, but I can't say I wxas more permeable to RD than RM (and never liked SH solo)

    Quote Originally Posted by Garden Dreamer View Post
    How did I miss this band the first time around? I had heard the name but apparently never the music. This kicks some serious butt and that's Sammy Hagar on vocals! I knew about him too as I had his solo album "Red" but never knew he was in Montrose.
    Wasn't too hard to miss out on him, methinks... This was pretty well run-of-the-mill stuff coming from the US at the time (I'll include Derringer, Foghat and dozens other) and plenty better to choose from. BTW, that OGWT film's second track Space Station features some Frankenstein-like effects

    This is the full OGWT show (featuring Wakeman, Bucley and Black Oak Ark), so the second part of the video you singled out is a second session.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Yeah, I've been meaning to check out Montrose for ages.
    Yikes!!! I thought we'd never catch you off-guard in your extremely vast rock culture
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  23. #23
    Their debut is a heavy rock classic and one of the "model" albums of the genre.
    Macht das ohr auf!


  24. #24
    I'd never heard of them until 'Bad Motor Scooter' and 'Space Station No. 5' started turning up in the Sounds heavy metal (sic) top 10 chart circa 1978. I managed to track down the album (difficult to get in the UK at that time) but sold it on a few years later during a fund-raising purge.

    Saw Gamma at a half-empty Glasgow Apollo; bugger only played for about 50 minutes, we felt cheated. Also saw Sammy Hagar there about the same time promoting the 'All Night Long' live album; Sammy seemed blown away by the welcoming reception.

  25. #25
    Yeah, Montrose is pretty badass...that debut is essential hard rock!


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