REMEMBERING OUR FRIEND RONNIE MONTROSE
March 04, 2012
Ronnie Montrose, a great guitarist and friend of the band has lost his battle with cancer and has sadly passed away. His first band album "Montrose" remains a classic and his influence can be heard in numerous contemporary guitarists. We will miss him and send our condolences to his family.


The following is from the Oakland Tribune

Ronnie Montrose, Bay Area guitar legend, dies at 64

By Jim Harrington / Oakland Tribune

Ronnie Montrose, who reigned as one of the Bay Area's great guitar gods for decades, died on Saturday after a lengthy battle with prostate cancer. The Millbrae resident -- perhaps best known for leading Montrose, the band that introduced Sammy Hagar to rock fans in the early '70s -- was 64.

The news spread quickly once a posting was made on Montrose's website (www.ronniemontrose.com) on Saturday. The post provided few details about his death, saying that Montrose had "battled cancer and staved off old age for long enough," but it also provided some insight to the rock legend's mood in his final months.

"A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose's 64th birthday," the post read. "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."

Memorial plans have not yet been announced.

Born in San Francisco, Montrose grew up in Denver but returned to the Bay Area, where he got his first big break in the music business, when Van Morrison hired the promising young gun to play on 1971's "Tupelo Honey" and 1972's "Saint Dominic's Preview." Both albums were recorded in San Francisco and are considered among Morrison's finest efforts.

His reputation as an A-list sideman was further secured during stints with such titans as Herbie Hancock and Boz Scaggs. He joined the Edgar Winter Group for a brief spell in the early '70s -- basically just long enough to leave trademark percussive, blistering licks on classic rock staples "Frankenstein " and "Free Ride."

In 1973, Montrose formed his namesake band, which -- beyond serving as the first step on Hagar's stairway to stardom -- produced an incredible number of great rock songs. The band's eponymous debut is considered a stone-cold classic, having produced the FM radio staples "Bad Motor Scooter" and "Rock Candy." Hagar left the fold after

1974's "Paper Money," amid reports of tensions between the two burgeoning rock stars, and went on to great success as a solo artist and then later as a member of Van Halen. However, Montrose the band turned out two more studio albums before disbanding in 1976.

Two years later, Montrose formed his second best-known outfit, Gamma, which enjoyed much acclaim from hard-rock fans but never managed better than modest sales. The guitarist later put out a number of instrumental solo records that explored a variety of rock and jazz terrains, while continuing to stay involved in other projects. He also maintained a rigorous touring schedule -- he performed two shows at Pleasanton's Firehouse Arts Center in November -- and, at the time of his death, had upcoming dates set for Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Santa Rosa.