Ronnie Montrose‘s guitar work helped shaped the sounds of classic rock greats like Edgar Winter, but it was his band, Montrose that put him into the spotlight to showcase his many talents. With the help of Sammy Hagar on vocals, Denny Carmassi on drums, and Bill Church on bass, they made the kind of music that defines rock n roll. The band Montrose with Ronnie’s blazing guitar work inspired generations of guitar players to come. There were many bands that strived to achieve that powerful rock sound that Montrose achieved and some bands even did their own recorded versions to show just how much love they had for that music. The song Rock Candy for one is a classic rock staple for its huge drums and powerhouse electric guitar sound. The Montrose songs are some of the most loved rock n roll songs out there. Soon after, Ronnie went on to do a solo career that produced creative instrumental and inspired rock albums. He also played in the rock group Gamma. He did some music scores for video games, some amazing acoustic work at times and continued to work with all kinds of musicians in his musical quest. A few years ago, the original lineup of Montrose got together again to record a new track for Sammy Hagar’s Marching to Mars and soon after they all got together again onstage doing some encores for fun on Sammy’s solo tour. Ronnie was then sidelined by some health issues, but he was strong, got through it and is back better than ever. Rock music has missed one of its favorites and he is back to take control of the stage once again. Ronnie and his band will be playing the Aladdin Theater in Portland on September 18. It has been a while since he Rocked the Nation and we all are glad to have him back.
Ten Questions with Ronnie Montrose
By Brent Angelo
It is great to have you back playing live. How is it being back on the road?
I’d like to use the old adage, “It’s like riding a bicycle”, but it’s much heavier than that… You’ll have to see the show!
It is amazing to think that it has almost been 40 years since the first Montrose album. It would be great to see some remasters put out, maybe get to hear some bonus tracks, or even see some kind of live video from back then make it to DVD. Are there any plans to celebrate the 40th year anniversary?
Not at the present time, there simply is too much going on for all of us individually to consider it…
Your guitar work is very respected by musicians and music fans. How does it make you feel to be thought of as a guitar hero?
Honored and humbled… I’m so very comfortable in my own skin now that I have the luxury of not trying to prove anything but simply enjoy myself and play harder, more focused, and with a re-discovered ferocity…
You have always had a great rock sound. I saw at one time Big Industries made a cool Ronnie Montrose amp. Have you ever considered having a signature guitar model or maybe a Montrose pedal? That would be really cool.
I’m always working on projects such as amps and preamps with talented craftsmen and may have some sort of “signature” line soon, as a matter of fact…
When the original lineup of Montrose reunited for the recording of “Leaving the Warmth of the Womb” for Sammy Hagar’s Marching to Mars cd, how was that experience being back in the studio with all the guys?
Like we never left! Same guys joking, laughing and having fun playing music!
What was it like getting back onstage with Sammy, Denny and Bill during Sammy’s recent solo tours? That is still on my rock n roll bucket list too.
See answer to 5. 😉
Through your music career, you have played with all kinds of musicians. Is there anyone you may not have played with that would interest you to write songs with or play onstage with?
I would love to jam with my hero Jimmy Page in some sort of fashion, and would always welcome any opportunity to jam with Paul Rogers…
You have an amazing catalog of music, you have played all over the world, and after all that time with all those experiences, do you have any goals that you would still like to achieve in your music that you haven’t done yet?
Only to continue to evolve and be able to express myself more completely with any style of guitar I do… Rock, Instrumental, and Acoustic…
In the hearts of many rock fans, you and your band is one of the best. I personally as well as many others believe Montrose should be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. There are a lot I know who would back me on this. What would it mean to you to be inducted?
A free trip to Cleveland! LOL!
So what are your musical plans after the tour? What is next for Ronnie Montrose?
More of the same right now, playing with my new band – Kevin Casey Vocals, Dan McNay Bass, and Steve Brown Drums is so satisfying and powerful that I’m extending my original plan for being out on the road…
Thanks for taking the time and sharing with your fans. You have been an important person to me and in my love of music. I wish you the best and I will speak for Portland as we all can’t wait to see you play live again. Come back soon too.
My pleasure! See you soon!