Ronnie Montrose: Guitar Player, October 1983
Ronnie Montrose admits that he's no great shakes as a businessman. In 1974, with one gold record under his belt and a second album moving up the charts, the guitarist fired Sammy Hagar—the popular lead vocalist of his namesake heavy-metal band, Montrose—and made a deliberate move into broader musical territory. When that was met with gradually diminishing returns from his audience, record company, and management, he reacted not by moving backward, but by plunging ahead. He disbanded Montrose and subsequently released an all-instrumental album featuring acoustic guitar, mandolin, synthesizer, and a 30-piece orchestra. Relenting somewhat to the shocked reaction of his metal fans, Ronnie formed a new band, Gamma, and set out to regain lost ground. Now, nearly four years and three albums later, he has once again disbanded and ventured off toward commercially risky frontiers, despite indications that Gamma was growing in popularity.
Ronnie's new "band" consists solely of himself, keyboardist Mitchell Froom, and three tons of electronic equipment. The drummer and bass player have been replaced by machines. Their repertoire is constructed of all-instrumental hard rock that incorporates elements of jazz and progressive rock. It is hardly the kind of music that will bring back all of the headbangers who once boogied to the sound of Montrose, but performances indicate there is still enough power left to get fists pumping and people jumping. Right now that's good enough for Ronnie, who insists that making money is second to making music that stimulates him.
"Obviously," he notes, "if I had cared about making a tremendous amount of money, I would have stuck with the first Montrose album." Read More