MONTROSE – ” Montrose ” Classic Albums Released October 17th, 1973

Posted: January 2, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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In more than one way, this October 1973 debut album by former Edgar Winter Group guitarist Ronnie Montrose’s namesake quartet was the start of the Van Halen story, five years ahead of schedule: a hard-rock cyclone built on a taut, muscular rhythm section, hot-rod hooks, the leader’s supercharged effects-laden riffing and big, exuberantly macho lungs. Van Halen covered the last track on the original LP, “Make It Last,” in their formative club sets; tapped Montrose producer Ted Templeman to do the honours on their first six albums; and, in 1985, hired original throat Sammy Hagar to replace David Lee Roth in large part because of Hagar’s vocal impact and co-writing chops on Montrose. The remaster of the original album adds a little burnish to what is damn near to perfection anyway. Kudos for no additions to disc one just that perfect slice of American hard rock served up as it comes. The band originally featured Ronnie Montrose on guitar and future solo artist and Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar. Rounding out the original foursome were bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi.

Rhino Records have released a Deluxe Edition. The first six tracks are demos from the album’s recordings. The remaining are from the group’s debut performance, a session on KSAN radio from the Record Plant in Sausalito, California on April 21st, 1973.

In his opening remarks to the April 1973 radio concert on the second disc here, KSAN-FM icon Tom Donahue isn’t even sure the band has a name yet. Everything else , chops, songs, combined might  is roaring and ready. (Note to completists: Another crackin’ KSAN broadcast from December ’74 comes with a reissue of the second, less metallic Montrose LP, Paper Money.)

The second disc has the oft-bootlegged KSAN radio session plus demos that shed some new light on the tracks like the cleaner funkier guitar on ‘I Don’t Want It’ – much more redolent of Ronnie’s work with Edgar Winter. The live session shows up what a band they were and what a guitarist Ronnie was.

Ronnie Montrose, known for his fiery guitar work as a member of the band Montrose, died March 2012, It is believed that the cause of death was prostate cancer, which he had been battling for the past few years.

“A few months before his death a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose’s 64th birthday,” a statement said on Montrose’s official website. “He gave an impromptu speech, and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn’t take any of our love for granted. He’d battled cancer, and staved off old age for long enough. And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life.

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