Friday, February 16, 2018

INTO THE FIRE with James At 15, The Best of MONTROSE

James At 15 is the singer, record breaker and fire breathing frontman for the punk/metal hybrid band KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS (aka: KIFF). James has previously shared some of his thoughts on ACDC and KISS. Now he takes on MONTROSE. 

MONTROSE - MONTROSE Remastered/Reissue CD

Finally ! Late 2017 saw the re-release of one of the 70s best American Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Classics. The debut album of Montrose.  Ronnie Montrose was a early 70s. Guitarist who had done studio work. And had played for people like Van Morrison & Edgar Winter. In 1973 He formed his own band.  And recorded this album.  A instant classic! These days its mostly remembered as the album. That gave the world Sammy Hagar. Ha that's true. And its also mostly true. In My opinion. as the best thing Sammy Hagar ever did. Probably the best thing Ronnie Montrose ever did too. While this album was just a few years before My time. I was already a Sammy Hagar fan when I became aware of it. I had a few of His pre-I Can't Drive 55 solo albums. And thought they were decent. A teenage hoodlum friend of Mine. No names mentioned. But if this piece winds up on Facebook. He might be reading this ha ha ha. Remember when ?  Anyway I went over to His house one night. He had just returned from stealing some 8-tracks out of somebody's car.  We were listening to them.  When We popped in this classic album. Second song in. Bad Motor Scooter!  Hey that's a Sammy Hagar song I thought. It had also appeared on one of His early live albums. And I had heard and liked it on the radio. Now I was realizing where it came from.  Other songs Rock The Nation, Space Station #5, Rock Candy and My personal favorite I Don't Want It !   This album is full of classics. Pretty much every song is great.  Pure solid hard hitting heavy rock.  Critics at the time. Dismissed it as a American Led Zepplin rip off. But for My money. I'll take this album over ANY Led Zepplin album. That's not to say Zepplin was that bad. Its just to say. that this album is that Good! Tons of guitar god shredding to influence guitar heroes for years to come. I heard it said. That this was a teenage Eddie Van Halen's favorite album ever. And You know where that led to.  So anyway. I have been a huge fan of this one since like age 14. Here We are all these years later. The reissue includes a cool booklet.  Tells the story of the album & band at the time. A few cool pictures. And a 17 song bonus disk. Demo tracks, Live stuff. And Even a song that for whatever reason. Was never released. The song Shoot Us Down was recorded for this album. And was never released. Why? Who knows. According to the liner notes. Sammy Hagar Himself loved the song. And has no idea. why it was not included on the original album. Great stuff. I had some of the live stuff previously on a bootleg cd. But its great to have it official now. Complete and remastered sound quality. So to those of You reading this. If Your old enough to know. Then You know. I don't have to tell Ya.  Those of You too young to know. Or only know Sammy Hagar from the horrific Van Hagar years or the crap cornucopia of His I Can't Drive 55 years. Dig up on this album. Its a must own classic. Of early American heavy metal / Hard rock guitar hero greatness. 

Warner Brothers / Rhino records 2017

MONTROSE - Paper Money Remastered/Reissue CD

The second Montrose album. Like the first classic album. Rhino has reissued it. With some great pictures and liner notes. And a full bonus disk of great sounding live stuff from the time period.  While this was a great album. It was never the mandatory classic the first Montrose album was. But if You are like Me. And You loved that first one so much. Then You will wind up owning this one too. sooner or later. Sadly only two songs.  I Got The Fire and the title song. Paper Money equal the greatness. of anything on the first album. Spaceage Sacrifice is a pretty cool song too. The rest just filler really. Kinda boring. And really would probably only interest guitar freaks. Who enjoy nerding out on Ronnie's brilliant guitar work.  Some metal heads. May remember the classic I Got The Fire. From one of those classic early 80s Iron Maiden B-Sides. Where they did a ripping cover of it.  This was the last album & tour of the original Montrose band. Hagar went on to solo stardom. He took bassist Bill Church with Him. Drummer Denny Carmassi. Went on to play with Whitford St Holmes , Ted Nugent, Coverdale Page, Heart.  Even recorded a album with Joe Walsh. As well as bouncing back and forth between Sammy Hagar & later versions of Montrose & Gamma over the years.  Ronnie Montrose continued on with various other versions of Montrose. Never as good as the original. But always decent quality hard rock with fantastic guitar. He also formed a band called Gamma that was sort of a harder rocking prog band. A couple of those albums are worth tracking down. Personally I would avoid the hell out of his jazz rock solo instrumental stuff.  Guitar nerd musician types. Can certainly find something to enjoy. On anything with Ronnie Montrose's name on it. He was a innovator of electric guitar for sure. For Me I've always been more of a straight ahead rock fan.  Still Paper Money has enough punch to keep Me interested. 

Warner Brothers / Rhino records 2017

Ronnie Montrose - 10 X 10 CD

So what this actually is. The last 10 songs. ever wrote & recorded by Ronnie Montrose.  He was recording this stuff. When He died in 2012.  It sat unfinished. Until His widow. Got intouch with Ronnie's friends & band that was working with Him at the time. To finish it. And came upon the idea to finish it as a tribute to Him. So You have KISS's drummer Eric Singer.  And Ricky Phillips of Styx & the Babys on Bass. Who were both good friends and were recording with Him when He died. Along with 10 different vocalists.  And 10 different guitar players. Each playing on a song. Too many greats on this to list em all. But the musicians include. Tommy Shaw, Mark Farner, Glen Hughes, Rick Derringer, Brad Whitford, Dave Meniketti, and of course Sammy Hagar.  Musically its mostly what You would expect. Solid hard rock. Played by very talented professional musicians.  No its not the raw intense hard rocking Montrose of 1974.  But its loud enough to keep Me interested.  A few of the tracks that stood out to Me. Colorblind with Sammy Hagar & Steve Lukather (Toto).  Strong Enough with Tommy Shaw is pretty cool. And rocks hard. Any Minute with Mark Farner is weird prog rockish. But I like it.  All and all I would say. This release would mostly be. For Ronnie Montrose superfans. And or completists Of Ronnie or any of the tons of musicians who played on it.  Serious musicians & fans of polished melodic hard rock. Are gonna find a lot to love on this one too.

Rhino Records 2017

No comments: