The 1970’s saw the rise of the Guitar God. In 1973, Ronnie Montrose stood ready to claim the crown. His band, Montrose, was riding high on the strength of their self titled album which showcased such classics as “Rock Candy,” “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Make It Last.” The powerful lineup of Montrose on guitar, vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill “Electric” Church and drummer Denny Carmassi were poised for super-stardum. Sadly, it never happened.
Marred by internal conflict and the inconsistent second release “Paper Money,” the band lost momentum. By 1975’s “Warner Bros Presents Montrose,” Hagar was long gone, replaced by Bob James. Though not without merit, “Warner Bros” and it’s follow up, “Jump On it” never matched the consistency or strength of the first album and Ronnie Montrose dissolved the band.
In a vast change of direction, Montrose released “Open Fire” in 1978. While the album boasted several stellar tunes, the Jazz-Fusion influenced instrumental album left hard rocking Montrose fans scratching their heads.
By 1979, Montrose was ready to rock again and unveiled his latest creation; Gamma. Packing killer riffs and the soulful voice of newcomer Davey Pattison, Gamma picked up where the first Montrose album left off and never let up. Gamma was a guitar lovers dream and Ronnie Montrose was once again approaching guitar hero status. But like Montrose before it, Gamma would dissolve before reaching the top.
Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Montrose released a series of solo guitar albums and toured periodically. 1988’s “The Speed of Sound” is a must have for any guitar lovers collection and in 2000, Gamma fans were treated to the release of “Gamma 4.” The album was a solid, mature return to form, but failed to reach a large audience. Since then, Ronnie Montrose has kept a fairly low profile. There have been periodic Montrose reunion shows in recent years, but they were short lived. Appearing on VH1’s “That Metal Show” recently, Sammy Hagar had this to say about the reunion shows… “I took them out on the road with us a few years back. After my show, we’d get up there and play a 30 minute Montrose show. But after the 5th show I knew it was never gonna work. The same old issues started to come back out.”
A Montrose reunion might be a Rock and Roll fantasy, but Ronnie Montrose is still ready to rock. With a new band and revitalized spirit, Ronnie Montrose has hit the road for a nationwide tour packed with Montrose classics. He’ll be bringing his amazing riffs to Poor David’s Pub in Dallas on October 7th. It’s been years since Ronnie Montrose came through Texas or hit the road for that matter. This is one show that should not be missed. To find out more, visit ronniemontrose.com.