Guitar Gallows Bio Information - Ronnie Montrose
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Ronnie Montrose, (born November 29, 1947 in Denver, Colorado) is an American guitarist.
Montrose has worked with a variety of musicians over the years, including Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, The Beau Brummels, Boz Scaggs, Beaver & Krause, Gary Wright, Tony Williams, The Neville Brothers, and Dan Hartman. He was in the Edgar Winter Group before forming his own band, Montrose in 1973, featuring Sammy Hagar on vocals. That incarnation of the band put out two albums on Warner Bros. Records, Montrose and Paper Money, before Hagar left to pursue a solo career. Although the liner notes for the CD edition of "Paper Money" said that Ronnie was offered to play lead guitar for Mott the Hoople when he left the Edgar Winter Group, Ronnie says that it never happened and was just a rumor. He also added his guitar work to Gary Wright's song, "Power of Love" off the 1975 album, The Dream Weaver.
The guitar virtuoso continued to put out albums as "Montrose" (Warner Brothers Presents... Montrose! and Jump on It) or "Ronnie Montrose" (Open Fire) until he formed Gamma in 1979, initially putting out three albums using that moniker with Davey Pattison singing.
In 1983 he played lead guitar on the song "(She Is A) Telepath" from Paul Kantner's album Planet Earth Rock and Roll Orchestra although he wasn't a member of the original PERRO.
He continued to record through the 1980s and 1990s, and Gamma put out a fourth album in 2005.
Ronnie Montrose appeared on Sammy Hagar's Marching To Mars along with original Montrose members Bill Church and Denny Carmassi on the song "Leaving The Warmth Of The Womb." The original Montrose lineup also reformed to play as a special guest at several Sammy Hagar concerts in summer 2004 and 2005.
One of the first American-bred hard guitarists and rock groups to challenge British supremacy in the early '70s, Montrose is remembered as, if not the most successful, then certainly one of the most influential bands of the era. In fact, many of the personalities responsible for the group's legendary, self-titled debut (producer Ted Templeman, engineer Donn Landee, vocalist Sammy Hagar) would later become instrumental players in the formative and latter-day career of the mighty Van Halen. And to his credit, though he ultimately lacked the focus and leadership skills to consistently guide his band's career, guitarist Ronnie Montrose was a true original on the instrument. His superlative playing aside, the avid big-game hunter lived the guitar-playing gunslinger lifestyle long before Ted Nugent made the combination famous.
After cutting his teeth as a session musician with the likes of Van Morrison and the Edgar Winter Group, Ronnie Montrose decided to form his own, self-named band in 1973. Enlisting the help of fellow session pros Bill Church (bass), Denny Carmassi (drums), and a talented up-and-coming Californian singer named Sammy Hagar, Montrose soon released their eponymous first album in November of that year. Although it never broke the Billboard Top 100, Montrose eventually went platinum and was arguably the first full-fledged heavy metal album by an American band (early proto-metal efforts by Blue Cheer and Steppenwolf notwithstanding). With classics like "Space Station No. 5" and "Bad Motor Scooter" leading the charge to the nation's airwaves, it is still considered one of the finest, most influential releases of the decade, to boot. But trouble was already looming, as [the amazing bassist] Church quit the group soon after and was replaced by bassist/keyboard player Alan Fitzgerald for the ensuing tour. Released less than a year after their debut, the erratic Paper Money proved to be a surprisingly diverse but unfocused follow-up that failed to match its predecessor's consistency or popularity. Making things worse, escalating tensions between Ronnie Montrose and Hagar soon led to the latter's departure following the Paper Money tour. (Hagar went on to an increasingly successful solo career and eventually, of course, Van Halen.)
Hagar's replacement was relative newcomer Bob James, but it was new full-time keyboardist Jim Alcivar who quickly placed his stamp on the group's appropriately titled third album, Warner Bros. Presents Montrose! Released at the tail end of 1975 and produced by Ronnie himself, its pedestrian songwriting and generally plodding, tepid sound alienated what was left of the band's remaining faithful and led to Fitzgerald's departure soon after (he later became a member of Night Ranger). New bassist Randy Jo Hobbs performed on Montrose's last-ditch effort, 1976's Jack Douglas-produced Jump on It. Also poorly received and boasting a ridiculously ill-fated album cover to match, it never had a chance and the musicians soon went their separate ways. Carmassi joined Hagar's solo band (also featuring Bill Church by then) and later played with Heart and many others. As for committed outdoorsman Ronnie Montrose, the guitarist took some time off to enjoy his other hobbies before releasing three albums with new band Gamma in the early '80s. He recorded under the Montrose name once again for 1987's Mean, a one-off affair featuring singer Johnny Edwards (later, briefly of Foreigner), bassist Glenn Letsch, and drummer James Kottak (soon to form Kingdom Come, and eventually a member of the Scorpions).
Ronnie Montrose has also performed regularly from 2002 to present with a Montrose lineup featuring Keith St. John on lead vocals and a rotating cast of veteran hard rock players on bass and drums [along with jamming occasionally with old friend Sammy Hagar at his solo concerts].
On his latest tour in late 2009, Montrose revealed that he had successfully fought prostate cancer over the last 2 years.
NOTE: If by some chance you have not heard, or really listened to Ronnie Montrose's 1973 self-titled debut "Montrose" with the phenomenal line-up of Carmassi [drums], Church [bass], Hagar [vocals], and Montrose [guitars]; you owe it to yourself to give a thorough listen to this essential rock landmark that STILL easily stands the test of time. Some of the best EVER! ~Guitar Gallows