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Montrose

One of the first American-bred hard rock groups to challenge British supremacy in the early '70s, Montrose are 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 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-conceived 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).

In early 2002, Ronnie Montrose formed a new Montrose lineup with bassist Chuck Wright (Quiet Riot), drummer Pat Torpey (Mr. Big), and singer Keith St. John (Burning Rain). They played West Coast dates throughout the year in support of their Rhino compilation The Very Best of Montrose. Montrose continued his production and session work, and would tour regularly over the last dozen years of his life, despite battling prostate cancer during the late 2000s. A self-inflicted gunshot ended his life on March 3, 2012. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Inertia IS NOT a Montrose release-get it right Pandora...
its been awhile sence i've heard any MONTROSE
Sammy the tequila that good in mexico.Alway s rocking the nation.d.d.
Hell yes!!!! Montrose First Album!!!!
Loved the 70's. Such good ROCK n ROLL.
Indeed.
Either 12 64 make it last d.d
jennamelissa 7 0
ck out warner bros presents montrose
Denny is still tearing it up! He's been gigging with Sammy. I saw them in Cabo at the birthday bash!
Yeah buddy, memorable stuff indeed. Whoever said the 70's sucked? Best memories ever.....
bobbybuzzaro o
In my opinion the best rock and roll album of all time. Ronnie you are missed!
Denny Carmassi's drumming on this album changed my life and heavily influenced me. Thank you, Denny!
This was truly the one album that made an indelible mark upon my heavy metal addiction
Another Winter brother associate excellent guitar player fromblues to Jazz fusion shred....... . O n e of the strongest debut albums alsolets not over look Sammy Hagar on vocals...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . r a t e s anA++
By far the best damn debut album ever! Better than Boston, better than Van Halen, even better than the mighty Zeppelin!!!
master54pain t i n g
My first New Years Eve Concert winterland Sf,CA Montrose, Y&T an Earthquake.. . y e a h baby
kmcglynn03
awesome- took me back- I was lookin for Mott the Hoople and Brownsville Station and I got MONTROSE-
milosdad
Why are they shying away from the fact that Ronnie committed suicide?
#1 ROCK ALBUM OF ALL TIME!! EVERY SONG ROCKS! TELL ME IF YOU DISAGREE! RIP RONNIE MONTROSE JAMMIN FOR JESUS!!!
kvons1
Make It Last---can't argue the logic to these lyrics! (FACTS) RIP: R.M.
garylleonard 3
One of the best bands ever they had something special you can still feel it
milosdad
I think the first montrose recorsd was the first to get me into power chords and hookish riffs. Sure, there was Smoke on the Water, but who can't get going at the start of Bad Motor Scooter and Space Station #9 and Rock Candy?
Absolutely the best Rock and Roll music ever recorded, this entire CD goes great with any situation especially parties.
I got this Cd in the mail today....YAY ! Good Rockin' Tonight! Very easy band to love'
garylleonard 3
Makes you wanna get in a 70 camaro z28 and bang some gears
dgsummerfun
Rock on Ronnie Montrose in Heaven!
dgsummerfun
Greatest rock and roll ever made! EVERY SONG ROCKS! CHECK IT OUT:):):)KEE P SMILING
Man I love this album..but did all the guys have to have their shirts off on the cover...
Great band !
dgsummerfun
Montrose ROCKS!!!!! Every song gets you moving great for working out
The first Montrose album-one of the greatest hard rock albums of all time-period.
kvons1
RIP: Ronnie Montrose
Without a doubt the best ROCKIN guitarist in heaven today...RIP Ronnie
Love ya, Spiderfinger s . . . . R I P my friend
donbilsing
I remember seeing Montrose at Allex Coolies Electric Ballroom in Atlanta GA back in the 70s. The place normaly closed at 2am Montrose rocked till 5am. I cant rember who was singing but i do know nobody left the place that night till the bouncers made us leave. Montrore loved it as much as we did. All i can say is it was one of the best musical nights of my life.
bogeysmy
He was fabulous at the uptown Theater in Napa Ca. (1/17/2012)
Rock in peace Mr Montrose.
RIP Ronnie.
Great stuff! Sammy's still rockin', but I haven't heard what Ronnie Montrose is up to these days. Saw these guys in 1975--abso-- e f f i n ' - l u t e l y blew my mind!
luvin life at 55 wildchild
This brings back Gr8 memories!! woohoo!!
jamessigmon
Ya know, I give credit where due and Sammy _was_ a great front for the band. But, Ronnie seems to be ovelooked in many of these posts. When Montrose hit the scene it was like....HOT DAMNED! This was a great band with Ronnie at the helm. To bad Pandora has chosen to ignore some of his other albums.
real music sammy hag...
miklsher
Montrose...o n e of the great guitar Gods of Early Hard Rock!! The Red Rocker is one of the best Frontmen EVER! What a waste when he was Van Hagar
TOOK IN VH @ GREATWOODS IN THE 90'S WITH SAMMY AND THEY NAILED SPACE STATION 5,
Sorry Keith, but it wasn't Sammys first band-it was Ronnie Montroses (hence the name "Montrose") band. Sammy was just the singer.
I remember hearing this album for the first time back in high school. Damn,still gets me off. Ted Templeman producing a heavy hitter pre VH days.
Heard Bad Motor Scooter at Chickenfoot concert. The entire audience was singing along and rockin' out! Truly a classic piece of rock n roll!!!
One of the best debuts - Solid Rock.
Check out the debut by "Paris"

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