Ronnie Montrose Interview

When you think of rock 'n roll you think of Ronnie Montrose. From a city that's given us the Grateful Dead, Country Joe McDonald, and Jefferson Airplane - Ronnie Montrose is a real standout. He's toured and recorded with Van Morrison, Edgar Winter, and Boz Scaggs. In '73 he put together his own group "Montrose" which lasted 3 years and 4 albums. Now he's back, with his new group - "Gamma," on Elektra/ Asylum Records.

Q. Has the current music business slowdown affected you?
A. No, that's strictly academic and has nothing to do with my creative ability.

Q. What's different about your music this time around?
A. Well to answer that you'd have to have listened to my solo album "Open Fire." It was such a turnaround for me, There were no vocals, a lot of instrumental, acoustic music. No one knew how to handle it. So I feel I have to re-emphasize to people that I sing and do rock 'n roll again.

Q. Your manager Bill Graham is a legend, but what can he really do for his artists?
A. Bill and his people are good in an objective sense. I can use him as a gauge for what's going over. I'm aware of all
facets of my career and Bill acts as a liaison for me when I need to accomplish something.

Q. Where's home for you today?
A. San Francisco, actually south of there.

Q. Who do you listen to?
A. When I'm home I listen to a lot of synthesizer music Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Tomita.

Q. What did you learn from each of the artists you've worked with?
A. With Van I learned a lot about the dynamics and sim­plicity of music. From Boz Scaggs I learned about the com­plexity of music, and in Edgar's group I learned how to play solo guitar.

Q. Do you get the "guitar freaks" out in front watching you?
A. Oh yeah. You can see the dotted lines going from their eyes to your fingers.

Q. What's the future hold?
A. We're rehearsing material for our new "Gamma II" album this month, which we'll be recording in April. Then in June we'll probably hit the road.

© Gary James All Rights Reserved