Rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose passed away on March 3 at the age of 64, after battling prostate cancer for nearly five years.
Montrose was born and raised in San Francisco, California. He began playing with the band Sawbuck in 1969, and was in the process of recording an album with the group when he was tapped to play guitar on Van Morrison’s Tupelo Honey album in 1971. Following this, after a short stint with Boz Scaggs, he recorded They Only Come Out at Night with the Edgar Winter Group, including the hit singles “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.”
In 1973, he formed Montrose, which introduced the world to Sammy Hagar on vocals. The group’s first two albums yielded hits including “Bad Motor Scooter” and “Rock Candy,” after which Hagar left to pursue his solo career. Montrose continued to release albums with the group and also did session work with Gary Wright, Tony Williams, Dan Harman, Herbie Hancock, The Neville Brothers, Paul Kantner, and more.
In 1978, he released Open Fire, an instrumental jazz/rock album. Then, in 1979, he formed the group Gamma, with whom he released three albums. A fourth album was released in 2000 and re-released in 2005. The original Montrose band members reunited with Sammy Hagar on his Marching to Mars album, for the song “Leaving the Warmth of the Womb.”
Montrose toured regularly up until the time of his death.