Ronnie Montrose was a heavy metal guitar hero who never quite made it to the really big time in terms of appeal and popularity. Either due to not finding the right band mates at the right time, or due to a lack of sufficient good quality material to sustain career momentum, Montrose's self-titled album from 1973 remains his best and best-known work, despite a career spanning three decades.
With Sammy Hagar on vocals and working with producer Ted Templeman, the eight tracks on Montrose include a high proportion of anthems like Rock The Nation, Bad Motor Scooter, Good Rockin' Tonight, Rock Candy and Make It Last.
They all combine good-time, party rock with a metal edge and slick guitar work, a sound that bands like Van Halen and Aerosmith would later adopt and polish to perfection. Space Station #5 also has its fans and is legendary in some circles likely due to its spacey and psychedelic colourings, but as a heavy metal track, it's appeal and influence are limited.
After just two albums, Hagar left Montrose and went on first to a successful solo career and then to became Van Halen's second most famous vocalist. The world of heavy metal will never know what a Montrose / Hagar combination could have achieved had they managed to stay together longer.
Montrose is an album filled with potential for a stellar career: unfortunately for Ronnie Montrose, other bands and other guitarists would fulfill these promises later in the 1970s.
Denny Carmassi - Drums
Bill Church - Bass
Ronnie Montrose - Guitar
Sam Hagar - Vocals
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Rock The Nation - 10
2. Bad Motor Scooter - 8
3. Space Station #5 - 6
4. I Don't Want It - 6
5. Good Rockin' Tonight - 8
6. Rock Candy - 9
7. One Thing On My Mind - 7
8. Make It Last - 8
Produced by Montrose and Ted Templeman.
Engineered by Donn Landee.
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