Concert For Ronnie Montrose - 'A Celebration Of His Life In Music '
     Ronald Douglas Montrose was born on November 29, 1947, in San Francisco, California.  His parents moved from San Francisco to Denver Colorado when Ronnie was just two years old.  Up until the age of seventeen Ronnie played nothing but the stereo.  From the first moment he held a guitar in his hands, his fate was sealed. He fell in love with the feel and sound of the instrument.  Not able to afford a guitar Ronnie taught himself how to play from borrowing guitars from different friends.  Like most young guitarist in 1964 Ronnie's influences included, The Yardbirds (with Jeff Beck & Jimmy Page), Eric Clapton, Johnny Smith and Jimi Hendrix. 
     In 1968, spurred by the mid-sixties "San Francisco sound" that was gaining huge popularity all over the country, Ronnie decided to return to the city of his birth San Francisco. (I have heard both he ran away and he left with parent's approval.)  To make ends meet Ronnie took minor repair and carpentry work during the day and played guitar at night.
     In 1969, playing in a band called Sawbuck with bassist Bill Church, guitarist Mojo Collins and drummer Starr Donaldson.  Ronnie was in the process of recording what would have been his first album with Sawbuck, when producer David Rubinson arranged an audition with Van Morrison.  Both Ronnie and Bill Church left Sawbucks and joined The Van Morrison Band.  The two can be heard on both Van Morrison's 1971 album titled, 'Tupelo Honey' and the 1972 release, 'Saint's Dominic's Preview. 
     After leaving Van Morrison Ronnie briefly joined Boz Scaggs and then joined the Edger Winter Group in 1972.  Ronnie recorded electric guitar, acoustic guitar 12-string guitar, and mandolin on Edger Winter's third release titled, 'They Only Come Out At Night', which included the hit singles, "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride".  There was so much guitar talent within the Edgar Winter Group (Dan Hartman & Rick Derringer) Ronnie decided it was time to form his own band.  Then set out to form MONTROSE.
The story of how MONTROSE got together from The Red Rocker himself:
     "I was talking to a guy a couple of days after the show, and he said, "That's Ronnie Montrose, and that was his last show. He lives in Sausalito." I lived in San Francisco, and I said, "Do you have his address?" because I didn't even have a phone. He gave it to me, and I went and knocked on his door, dressed like David Bowie – big old high heel platform shoes, satin pants, probably had make-up on, with a Les Paul and a notebook pad with all kinds of lyrics in it. I said, "I'm Sammy Hagar. I heard you're looking for a singer." He said, "Come on in. You got any songs?" I played him my four songs, we shook hands, and he said, "Let's start a band. Do you know any drummers? I've got a bass player, Bill Church." I had a drummer, Denny Carmassi – wasn't in my band, but he was my favorite drummer around town."  Signed to Warner Brothers Records in 1973 this incarnation of the band released two albums titled, 'Montrose' (1973) and Paper Money (1974).  Right before the band was to begin recording 'Paper money Bill Church made the decision to leave the band and was replaced by Alan Fitzgerald.  After the Paper Money Tour Sammy Hagar also left the band.  Sammy Hagar on leaving Montrose, "He was a changeling. Ronnie never liked to stick with anything. We made one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal albums of all time with that first Montrose album, and then he didn't want to do that anymore. "Nah, nah, we've got to have better songs, we've got to change our image, that kind of music is out." Boy, he was just laying it on us. Ronnie really liked to change – immediately. We butted heads and I got thrown out of the band [after one more album, 1974's Paper Money], but I carried on with that "first Ronnie Montrose" I saw. What I learned from Ronnie Montrose, I still utilize today when I step on a stage. I try to keep the energy up and the entertainment high."  Sammy Hagar was replaced with vocalist Bob James.  At this juncture the group parted ways with producer Ted Templeman. Montrose released two more albums, the Ronnie Montrose-produced 'Warner Brothers Presents... Montrose!' (1975) and 'Jump On It' (1976), produced by Jack Douglas, known for his work with Aerosmith. Both albums feature Bob James on vocals and Jim Alcivar on keyboards. On the Jump On It album, Alan Fitzgerald was replaced on bass by Randy Jo Hobbs, and the subsequent tour to promote the album saw the band performing as a four-piece without a bass player, utilizing Jim Alicivar for keyboard-bass.  After the "Jump On It Tour" Ronnie disbanded Montrose.

     After disbanding Montrose Ronnie release a solo instrumental titled, 'Open Fire' before returning to the rock-vocal format and forming the band Gamma in 1979. Gamma released three albums with Davey Pattison on vocals.  'Gamma 2' (1980) and Gamma 3 (1982), featured Montrose alum Denny Carmassi on drums.  In the early eighties after being pressured from the record label to produce a hit Ronnie decided to disband Gamma.  (In 2000 Ronnie re-united with vocalist Davey Pattison and released one more Gamma album titled, 'Gamma 4'.)
     After they broke up in 1982, Ronnie picked his solo career once again. He released a rather low-key album, 'Territory', in 1983, following it four years later in 1987 with the hard-rocking and impressive Mean (attributing it to Gamma).
     A year later, Ronnie Montrose resurrected the Montrose band name with singer Johnny Edwards, bassis Glenn Letsch, and drummer James Kottak. The new group only released one album on Enigma Records called 'Mean'.
     The 'Speed of Sound' appeared in 1988, with The Diva Station, a semi-instrumental mesh of soul, pop, metal, and jazz, arriving in 1990.
     Ronnnie began putting more of his time into production work, but continued to release solo albums, including 'Mutatis Mutandis' (1991), 'Music from Here' (1994), 'Mr. Bones' (1996), Roll 'Over and Play Live' (1999), and Bearings (1999).
     In early 1997, Montrose regrouped with the original members of the Montrose band--Sammy Hagar, Denny Carmassi, and Bill Church--for the song "Leaving the Warmth of the Womb" on Hagar's Marching to Mars album.

     Montrose recalled his experience with his former bandmates in an interview with John "Wedge" Wardlaw. "It was only after getting together with the four of us in the studio, hanging out and jamming with each other for the first time in about 20 years, that I rediscovered and realized how awesome a trio that was," said 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.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------REVIEW BELOW--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FEATUREING: SETLIST:

Sammy Hagar
Neal Schon
Joe Satriani
Denny Carmassi
Bill Church
Davey Pattison
Glenn Letsch
Marc Bonilla
Tommy Suczek
Ricky Phillips
Steve Smith
Ed Roth
Eric Singer
Tommy Thayer
Jimmy Paxson
Eric Martin
Jeff Watson
CJ Hutchins
Tal Morris
Frank Hannon
Brian Wheat
Jeff Keith
Dave Rude
Troy Luccketta
Dave Meniketti
John Nyman
Brad Lang
Mike Vanderhule
Mario Cippolina
Chuck Terpo
Amber Morris
April Grisman
Michael Indellcato
Steve Brown
Dan McNay
Randy Scoles

 

 

 

1.) "Overture" -
2.) "Open Fire" - Ronnie Montrose
3.) "Town Without Pity" - Ronnie Montrose
4.) "I Don't Want It" - Montrose
5.) "Little Suzi" - Tesla
6.) "One Thing On My Mind" - Montrose
7.) "Free Ride" - Edgar Winter Group
8.) "Frankenstein" - Edgar Winter Group 
9.) "Thunder And Lightning" - Gamma
10.) "Razor King" - Gamma
11.) "No Tears " - Gamma
12.) "Ready For Action" - Gamma
13.) "Fight To The Finish" - Gamma
14.) "Voyager" - Gamma
15.) "Lighthouse" - Ronnie Montrose
16.) "One And A Half" - Montrose
17.) "Rock The Nation" - Montrose
18.) "Space Station No.5" - Montrose

BONUS SONGS: 
From TRI Session:
1.) "Good Rockin' Tonight" - Montrose
2.) "Rock Candy" - Montrose
3.) "Oh No You Don’t" - Gamma
4.) "Connection" - Montrose
5.) "Paper Money" - Montrose
6.) "Wild Night" - Van Morrison