February 17, 2010


Ok class.....who remembers, or has heard of, a band called Montrose? Seano talked about the birth of heavy metal on his blog recently. I would classify this band as early heavy metal with a California influence. The songs were fast, hard and sometimes spaced out, with a lead guitarist by the name of Ronnie Montrose and a lead singer by the name of Sammy Hagar. You probably would not recognize Sammy from this album cover and in fact the album credits a Sam Hagar. Bill Church on the bass guitar and Denny Carmassi on drums rounded out the band for this album.

The album got little airplay when released in 1973 mostly due to Warner Bros screwing up the handling of their marketing and not knowing what to do with them. It is said that Van Halen, (where Sammy ended up a little later in his career) considered Montrose a huge influence on their style of play. In fact they covered "Make It Last" from this album in their early concerts.

The most recognizable track on this album is "Bad Motor Scooter". This songs intro was a distorted electric slide guitar that closely resembles the sound of a revving motorcycle. I especially enjoy the song "Space Station #5" It starts ethereally and as you might think it sounds like you are in a space ship. Then after almost a minute, with a scream and wail, the guitar kicks ass and transports us into warp speed.

A great album that I would say belongs on the top 500 greatest albums. Listen for a bit and enjoy.



Barbara aka Layla said...

I saw Montrose back in 197? at the Cal Jam II concert! It was a HUGE outdoor festival and I honestly don't remember much of it, but I do like their music! Thanks for bringing so many long-forgotten or "never acknowledge enough" bands to the blog! Its great to go back and listen to music I haven't heard in years.

David said...

Perhaps because of Chickenfoot, Montrose has been getting a bit of airplay on UK rock radio stations. Certainly, I've heard Bad Motor Scooter and Space Station #5 a couple of times in recent months.

Strangely enough, when I wrote a post on Davy Knowles last month (Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam) I linked to a video of him playing Bad Motor Scooter with Chickenfoot. (I've just checked and Davy Knowles was born in 1986 - thirteen years after Bad Motor Scooter was released!) The sound quality isn't brilliant which is why I featured the clip of Mr Knowles jamming with Gov't Mule instead.

The Montrose album may not have done well when first released but the songs have stood the test of time and are still entertaining and inspiring today. Listening to it on Spotify even as I type. Great stuff

Rockin' Jeff said...

This is a great "forgotten" rock album. A buddy of mine turned me on to this one about 10 years ago and i was like: Holy shit- Sammy Hagar!? He was actually really great back in the old days. And of course Ronnie Montrose is amazing no matter who he plays with.

MaxiMilion said...

Ted Templeman was the producer of this album, and would a few years later do the same with Van Halen records.

Ruralgurl said...

Montrose was HUGE in St. Louis, MO of all places.... Local AOR station KSHE latched onto it and the rest is history. Went on to be a great market for Sammy solo, too.

Bond said...

I used to play them on my radio show in Rochester, NY back in 74-75...Never had a chance to see them live though

Top 500 albums of all time...WOW...that is tough to say IMHO

bob_vinyl said...

The self-titled album was very good, and sadly overlooked, with both Ronnie and Sammy in fine form. Before that, he did some good stuff with Edgar Winter too, but Ronnie Montrose was pretty erratic over the years, all in all.

Guitarman5150 said...

I got to see Montrose back in the early 2000's Sammy brought them on stage in St.Louis. They did a few songs. They were incredible. Bad Motor Scooter and Rock Candy were in the mini-set. Great Band!

Dan said...

Barbara: I wish I could have seen them back then too. I wonder why you couldnt remember ;-) You are welcome, it has been pure joy.

David: Glad to hear from you. I do believe Montrose has been getting some airplay due to the Chickenfoot release. I did not know Davy covered Montrose. I will have to check that out. I agree with you the music sounds fresh to me also. How is Scotland this time of year?

Jeff: Thanks for the input. They were great!

Max: I did not realize that until you said it, but I looked it up and you are correct. I suppose it was due to Eddie's appreciation for Montrose and their production style.

Rural: Did you ever see them or Sammy in concert? Probably a great show.

Bond: Top 500 for sure! Thanks for reading me.

Bob: You are right, Ronnie never really did anything else of substance playing later in a band called Gamma. Never remember hearing anything by them back then. Their albums were titled Gamma 1, 2 and 3. Pretty creative.

Guitar: I saw the original band reunited in 1997 and again in the 2000's. That would have been cool to see.

musicobsessive said...

Wow! I'd completely forgotten about this album but one look at the cover shot took me straight back to my time at Uni in the mid-seventies. My first year room-mate was a bit of a head banger and owned this (amongst a whole raft of other similar) albums.

Funny how some music just slips down the back of the sofa of life eh?

Well done for finding it again!

David said...

Hello Dan

Since you ask, Scotland is freezing just now! Looking out my office on cold and foggy morning.

Sean Coleman said...

I gave a cassette copy of this to a buddy of mine who liked Sammy's solo stuff back in the 80's and he asked me who was singing hahaha

Excellent forgotten album.

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