Rock Guitarist Ronnie Montrose 1947-2012

Ronald Douglas “Ronnie” Montrose (November 29, 1947 – March 3, 2012) was an American rock guitarist who led a number of his own bands as well as performed and did session work with a variety of musicians, including Sammy Hagar, Herbie Hancock, Van Morrison, The Beau Brummels, Boz Scaggs, Beaver & Krause, Gary Wright, Tony Williams, The Neville Brothers, Dan Hartman, Marc Bonilla, Edgar Winter, and Johnny Winter.

Montrose played briefly with Boz Scaggs and then joined the Edgar Winter Group in 1972, recording electric guitar, acoustic 12 string, and mandolin on Winter’s third album release, They Only Come Out at Night (1972), which included the hit singles “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride”. He then formed his own band, Montrose, in 1973, featuring Sammy Hagar on vocals. That incarnation of the band released two albums on Warner Bros. Records, Montrose (1973) and Paper Money (1974), before Hagar left to pursue a solo career. Although the liner notes for the CD edition of Paper Money said that Ronnie was offered to play lead guitar for Mott the Hoople when he left the Edgar Winter Group, Ronnie says that it never happened and was just a rumor. He also added his guitar work to Gary Wright’s song, “Power of Love” off the 1975 album, The Dream Weaver.

The guitarist released two more Montrose band albums in the rock/vocal format (Warner Brothers Presents… Montrose! and Jump on It, featuring vocalist Bob James replacing Sammy Hagar), then shifted direction and under the name of ‘Ronnie Montrose’ released the guitar-instrumental solo album Open Fire before returning to the rock-vocal format and forming Gamma in 1979, initially releasing three albums under that name with Davey Pattison singing.

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