It was a bummer to hear about this late Saturday night. The bands debut self titled album is part of my top 15 of all time!
RONNIE MONTROSE: Dead at 64
Ronnie Montrose, the guitarist and bandleader who helped launch Sammy Hagar's career, died Saturday. He was 64. No official cause of death was announced, but he had been battling prostate cancer for the past five years.
A statement on his website says, "A few months ago, we held a surprise party for Ronnie's 64th birthday. He gave an impromptu speech, and told us that after a long life, filled with joy and hardship, he didn't take any of our love for granted... And true to form, he chose his own exit the way he chose his own life..."
Montrose got his start playing for Van Morrison on 1971's Tupelo Honey and 1972's St. Dominic's Preview. He joined the Edgar Winter Group to perform on "Frankenstein" and "Free Ride" before starting his own group, Montrose, in 1973, tapping Sammy Hagar as his singer.
Hagar issued a statement saying, "Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a front man, as a recording artist, as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful. I was looking forward to a reunion for my birthday bash [in October] in Cabo with Denny [Carmassi], Bill [Church] and Ronnie - one of the few bands from that era where all four original members were still able to do it. It's a shame to lose Ronnie and I'm so sorry for his loved ones. Rest in peace."
Montrose continued on without Hagar, and released three more albums. Ronnie did nine albums as a solo artist.
Various musicians reacted to Montrose's death over the weekend:
Slash: "Montrose is one of the all-time great [rock and roll] albums. Major influence. RIP, man."
Alter Bridge's Myles Kennedy: "Sad to hear Ronnie Montrose passed away. 'Rock Candy' was one of the first songs I ever learned."
Megadeth bassist David Ellefson: "So sad to hear of this. I had the pleasure of playing bass for him circa 2005-07. Such a powerhouse human being and ferocious guitarist. I learned a lot from him!"
Tesla: "We all loved him."
Nikki Sixx: "[The] first two Montrose albums and his work with Edger Winter changed my musical life forever. RIP."
Peter Frampton: "Saddened to hear the passing of friend Ronnie Montrose. He was a wonderful person and an amazing guitar player. I will miss you dear Ronnie."