November 29, 1947- March 3, 2012
Guitarist Ronnie Montrose, probably best known as a member of his band Montrose, passed away yesterday after a short battle with prostate cancer. Ronnie was 64 years old. Montrose got his start by playing for Van Morrison briefly in the early 1970's. He then joined the Edgar Winter Group shortly after along with Winter, guitarist/singer Dan Hartman and drummer Chuck Ruff. The band's 1972 release, They Only Come At Night, was a commercial success thanks to the hit singles "Free Ride" and "Frankenstein". Montrose left in 1973 to form his own band Montrose. With him was bassist Bill Church, drummer Denny Carmassi, and singer Sammy Hagar. The band's self-titled debut, released in 1973, was a flop in the charts but it (in some ways) gained a cult following among hard rock fans. Songs such as "Rock the Nation", "Bad Motor Scooter", and "Rock Candy" became hard rock classics. Though the band's line-up kept changing, Ronnie and Carmassi were on all four Montrose albums from 1973 to 1978. By 1978, the band split but Ronnie reformed the band briefly in 1987 with a completely different line-up. In 1978, Ronnie formed the band Gamma. Gamma made three albums before splitting in 1983. Ronnie would reunite with the original line-up of Montrose on Hagar's 1997 album Marching to Mars. Since 2002, Ronnie had been playing with a new version of Montrose. In late 2009, Ronnie revealed that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer and by 2010, he thought he had fought his battle. Sadly, it took his life yesterday.
This year has been too crazy: Mark Reale, Michael Davis, Davy Jones, and now Ronnie. I'll put it plain and simple: this sucks. While typing this blog, I've been cranking up the first Montrose album. Also another thing I've noticed: every member (except for Edgar Winter and maybe Rick Derringer) of the Edgar Winter Group has died: Dan Hartman died from AIDS in 1994, Chuck Ruff died just last October, and now Ronnie has died. Ronnie was a great guitarist and he will be missed by many.
You have certainly rocked the nation.