Monday, March 5, 2012


Ronnie Montrose
Guitarist Ronnie Montrose has passed away after battling prostate cancer for five years. He was 64.

His official website had the following statement: A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie Montrose's 64th birthday. 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 passed today. 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. We miss him already, but we're glad to have shared with him while we could.

Montrose had a very colorful early career, playing on classic albums from a number of artists. In 1971, he played on Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey followed by stints with Boz Scaggs and Edgar Winter with whom he recorded the album They Only Come Out at Night and the hits Free Ride and Frankenstein.

In 1973, he formed the group Montrose which included singer Sammy Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi. The original lineup stayed together for just one album, Montrose, before Church left and was replaced by Alan Fitzgerald. Another album, Paper Money, was released before Hagar left for a solo career when Bob James was brought in on vocals.

The balance of the 70's included additional Montrose albums along with Ronnie's first solo album, Open Fire. In 1979, he formed Gamma which recorded three albums.

For the balance of his career, Montrose continued to put out occasional solo albums along with working with Seattle's Rail and, later, reformed versions of Montrose (Mean (1987) and Gamme (Gamma 4 (2000)). He also guested on albums by Nicolette Larson, Paul Kantner, the Neville Brothers, former bandmate Sammy Hagar and others.

In late 2009, he announced that he had beaten prostate cancer which he had been battling since 2007.

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