Ronnie Montrose (1947 - 2012)

March 04, 2012 by sammyhagar
Ronnie Montrose (1947 - 2012)
Montrose at Wembley Stadium opening for The Who (1974)
More images are available below.

For me Ronnie's passing is the end of an era. Ronnie Montrose gave me my first break as a songwriter, as a front man, as a recording artist and as a touring artist, and for that I will always be grateful. The first Montrose album was the first album I ever recorded and it still stands as one of the best recordings I have ever been a part of. I was looking forward to a reunion for my birthday bash in Cabo with Denny, Bill and Ronnie - one of the few bands from that era where all four original members were still able to do it. It will very hard to think the four of us will never be able to play songs like Rock Candy and Bad Motor Scooter together again. The only positive I can grab onto is the fact that the music will live on. It's a shame to lose Ronnie and I'm so sorry for his loved ones. Rest in peace.

Sammy interviewed by Rolling Stone about Ronnie - Read »

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 39 Redhead Comments

rockemsockem1's picture

Peace out Ronnie.

SilverLights's picture

Well said, Reckless. And I envy you as Bearings is the only Montrose I lack. Do you have Mr. Bones? Maybe you could email me. I have played only Montrose since the sad day. Peace.

SilverLights's picture

I'm just now un-depressed enough to write this. Ronnie was my mentor, my idol, and my hero. His immaculate phrasing and overall guitar technique was one of a kind. I only wish I might've seen him more than the two times; first headlining the (tiny) Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa with Van Halen opening and later on at the Cotton Bowl with The Eagles and The Stones. Ronine left an indelible mark on the face of rock guitar and rock music as we know it and paved the way for many, many a player. Ronnie, you will forever have 'THE FIRE'.

jasonr022's picture

Sammy, After Ronnie has passed on and it just comes up from no place with no warning and you cant go back and change anything, If possible you and Mike should get in touch with Eddie, Alex and Dave, and make a mends with the whole thing, I am sure there is bad blood there, Shit has been said from both side’s but all (5) of you’s made some of the BEST ROCK N ROLL to date. You would have never joined VH without Dave taking them to the point they was when he left and you joined, and VH would not have gotten to the point is was or is without YOU! life is too short to not get along with your best friends even if there was problems in the past and you have not spoken face to face for yr's, everyone should try and get over it, because once something happens to one of the 5 VH members including Dave it’s over you can’t go back and change it or have any do over’s….
Just my 2 cents….

RecklessAsWell's picture

Sam, oh, Sam I Am.......... What can be said? Devastated. I feel like I lost a friend, and yet, I never met the man. He did reply to an email once (signed "Peace, Ronnie", of course). Got it all on CD from the debut album, to Gamma, through to Bearings. I will listen to nothing else all week. RIP, Ronnie - may the music continue to inspire future generations.

dandi's picture

Sammy, thanks for your great tribute to Ronnie. The Montrose debut album still stands as my favorite rock album of all time. His guitar licks and your vocals pretty much defined what hard rock should be. He will be sorely missed. Keep rockin', brother.

"The heavens unfold, and a new star is born"


txZEBRAfan's picture

I had the pleasure of seeing Ronnie live in Dallas on Oct 7th,2011 at Poor David's Pub. I usually have my camera when I would go to the club. I didn't take it that night and I am sorry I didn't. Ronnie put on one hell of a show. His whole band was great and it is a night and memory I will carry with me forever. There are some great videos on YouTube from that night.RIP Ronnie

ziprider's picture

sammy, i am truly sorry for your loss, ronnie, im sure was a great friend and we will all miss him greatly. so true are the words long live rock, it will with the music that you and ronnie provided to us fans forever, thank you and god bless.....

BogusOtis's picture

I'm glad I got to see the original line up in Cali with my Redhead family on the Livin It Up Tour

tracyg077's picture

My favourite album, the 1973 Warner Brothers release of "Montrose" is, cover to cover the BEST rock album ever.
Combine raw Sammy with Ronnie's riffs, Denny's beat and Bill, "the electric" Church on Bass it's rock at its finest.
May God bless Ronnie's family and friends. His music will live on in our hearts, homes, houseboats and IPOD's.

GT_5150's picture

Hi Sam, very sorry to hear about Ronnie. R.I.P.

Long time, huge van of yours. Right Now was one of my favorite jams in high school.
Hope to get to meet you and Mike when you play in New York.
btw, on Thursday night I saw VH at Madison Square Garden.
They were in top form and Eddie looks really clean and still kickin ass.
I still hope for a reunion with all you of guys.

God bless.

outlaw's picture

Bummed out... I was planning on seeing him this month in Santa Clara. RIP Brother!

briank073's picture

Sorry to hear had a chance to meet Ronnie on the 1st cruise also seen him with Gamma. The Photo you say was at wembley but I thought it was Charlton Athletic football club supporting the Who.

turtlerock's picture

Ronnie was one my influences as a teen learning guitar. I still have the Paper Money LP & the "Montrose" cassette. I have it on my ipod. RIP Ronnie. You did in fact "Rock The Nation".

cowboy69's picture

Grew up in the Bay with you guys. Montrose was one of the first albums I owned and I still have it. Ronnie was greatness!!! He will be missed!!!RIP

CaboKathy's picture

Such sad news. Thoughts and prayers to his family. RIP Ronnie

kindbud's picture

Rest in peace Ronnie Your in rock and roll heaven

ericb49's picture

Ronnie will be missed, I rock that album daily - untopable. Yes I made that word up but it fits.

lyndaj009's picture

So sorry about this very sad news. Very Thankful we got to see you play with him Sammy. Another bell is ringing loud upstairs. He will rock our world forever. God Bless.

KLRed's picture

Ronnie, thanks for the music. Montrose was one of the best rock bands of the '70s. Prayers to his family and friends. KRISTY

jimbo4345's picture

Very sorry to hear the news...

RIP Ronnie Montrose

johnnybeane's picture

So sorry to hear about Ronnie.
Love to his friends and family.


chicagowaborat's picture

Ronnie will be misssed but his music will go on forever! R.I.P. Ronnie Montrose. I grew up with you in a basement in Chicago very LOUD! Keep the spirit going where ever it is that we go. Peace Be with you.... JaNie , Rock On Brother.................

jasonburg's picture

RIP Ronnie. Glad I got to see you play with Sammy again.

302_Boss_Chick's picture

Wow, such a shocker to hear this today. What a loss to you Sammy, and to the world of music. Rest in peace Ronnie, your music will rock on forever!! ♥


cathyfbrown's picture

RIP Ronnie! Many thanks for giving Sammy his first break! Sincere condolences to your family and friends.

barcat's picture

Was working Jeff Gilbert's bar in W. Seattle last night, when the word came down. Sad faces. Put on "The Album". Rocked it. As everyone trudged out at end of eve, they all stopped and said their personal "Thank you". One of the most kick ass bands of all time. Thank you from all of us. R.I.P. Ronnie

baxter.mcgrew's picture

Sad to hear about what happened to Ronnie, Wes McGrew.

DJ Dave's picture

R.I.P Ronnie.
Great records never die.
The first "Montrose" record is one that will live forever!

pgajones's picture

I lost a good friend yesterday, and the world lost a great person who just happened to be a great guitar player. I will miss you and to quote Ronnie, THINK.

levittmike's picture

I was fortunate a few years back to see Montrose perform with Sammy at Pine Knob in Detroit. It was at the end of Sammy and the Wabo's show, and Sam still had enough energy to jam with Montrose.

My prayers and thoughts go to Ronnie's family, and to his friends and loved ones.

cabowaborat's picture

Ronnie was the original rocker, who influenced many of the rock guitarist we see today. Im sorry for your loss Sammy, I know you and Ronnie were friends for many years. My condolences to Ronnie's family and those close to him. Im grateful that I was able to meet Ronnie and spend a few minutes talking to him on the first Cabo Cruise. Watching him perform with Mona,Vic and Dave on board was great, and with you at the Cantina was even better. Everyone on the first Cabo Cruise will always remember it. Rest in Peace Ronnie.

51504sam's picture

Another close friend of your's to pass on Sammy, thinking of you brother! Glad to have meet Ronnie on the 1st cruise...

RIP Ronnie! Very sad day! Going to crank up some Montrose in memory!

OneLMichele's picture

What a sad day. Rest in peace, Ronnie. Thanks for the music....Montrose was so tight - BMS, Rock Candy, excellent.

stephaniep033's picture

Rest in Peace Ronnie, you will be missed.

VanHalenNation5150's picture

Rest in Peace Ronnie! Sad day for rock and roll.... And more, The RedHead worlda

Boston Dan's picture

RIP, Ronnie. Condolences to his family, friends and all who were touched by his music. Just another reminder that life is short.

Bad Tim's picture

Rest in Peace Bro!!

theNine5150's picture

Hey Sam - you guys were amazing in Montose and forever have a place in rock history with that line up..

Any thoughts on a tribute show in Bay area? Do you have time before CF tour?

Thanks for continuing to provide me a soundtrack to enjoy this great life!
Your words & music never fail to energize, motivate & rock my ass off!

Thank You..