Montrose “Montrose”



Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#637 in the Series) is the Montrose debut release, Montrose.

When was the last time you pulled this one out of the rack? Talk about an album that sounds as good in ’12 as it did in ’73. I’m truly amazed how timeless this one sounds.   I’m betting that twenty years from now I’d be saying the same thing.

I listened to this one about a year ago for the first time in a decade, at least. I couldn’t get over how much fun I had in reminiscing.  The groove in “Space Station #5” really stood out. I think I played the darn song twice. Of course you still have the classics like “Rock Candy.” “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Rock The Nation.”

All I had known about Ronnie Montrose up to this point was that he played on the Edgar Winter classic They Only Came Out At Night. I never knew that he also played with Van Morrison until just recently. He also did some work with Herbie Hancock.

The lead singer on this project was of course,”Sam” Hagar. At least that’s how he was billed back in those days. The remaining members were Ronnie Montrose on guitar, Bill Church on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums.  They would release five albums in total plus a greatest hits package.  This was the only album with that lineup.

We know what Hagar did with his career. Carmassi would eventually be part of Heart and Whitesnake, and Coverdale-Page.  Coverdale-Page.  I forgot about them, and shouldn’t it have been Page-Coverdale?  Ronnie Montrose would eventually change the name of the band to simply Ronnie Montrose. Their first album would be Open Fire.  On the tour for that album, Steve Smith played drums.  I saw a show in ’78 at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago that saw Journey with Ronnie Montrose. I’m wondering if that’s how the connection was made that saw Smith end up with them.  By the way, the first band on the bill that day, Van Halen.   Oh, and yes, that was when Journey was pre-you know who. You shouldn’t even have to ask me that.

Some critics called Montrose and the album “Heavy Metal” Ron disagrees with this. I read an interview that he did with Matt Munoz the editor of … “I always shied away from the label of ‘heavy metal,’ because I considered Montrose heavy rock. Heavy metal to me is bands like Metallica and Megadeth in the ’80s. My heroes were Zeppelin, Free and Deep Purple. In my mind, because of my own sensibilities, and my — for lack of better terms — nomenclature and sematics, all of us, including Aerosmith, were not metal. It was all heavy rock.”

Montrose peaked at only 133 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart. I’d love to know the totals units sold as I think he remained steady for a long, long time.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

  1. “Rock the Nation” (Ronnie Montrose) – 3:03
  2. “Bad Motor Scooter” (Sam Hagar)- 3:41
  3. “Space Station #5” (Hagar, Montrose) – 5:18
  4. “I Don’t Want It” (Hagar, Montrose)- 2:58
  5. “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (Roy Brown) – 2:59
  6. “Rock Candy” (Denny Carmassi, Bill Church, Hagar, Montrose)- 5:05
  7. “One Thing on My Mind” (Hagar, Montrose, Sanchez) – 3:41
  8. “Make It Last” (Hagar) – 5:31


  • Sam Hagar – lead vocals
  • Ronnie Montrose – guitar
  • Bill Church – bass
  • Denny Carmassi – drums


Here’s some more Heavy Rock albums for you to check out.

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Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. coachmaddog (24 Feb 2012, 8:05)

    Great lp from my high school days. Montrose was great (is he still?). This is before Sammy turned into the Van Halen turd he became.

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