• Ronnie Montrose: 1947 - 2012.
I still remember the rehearsal space. It was in the drummer’s basement and on days when we rehearsed, we made a fine noise. Or at least I think we did. It was my first band so I was hardly an expert. One of the songs we played was Rock Candy by Montrose. It starts with a monstrous drum beat and builds on a guitar riff so fat, it’s like Leslie West after a doughnut binge. I was a spoiled kid so I had a Les Paul and a Marshall, but my tone was nowhere near the record. And then there were all the fills, each so fluid and musical, and then the riff again. Maybe I mastered the basic riff, maybe, but all the nuances that make Rock Candy ROCK CANDY were missing. And that’s the magic of Ronnie Montrose’s guitar playing. At first it sounds simple, then you try to play it and you are flummoxed time and time again as he changes up the groove, works out double stops, holds a bend, times a release just so. What a talent. But let's not forget those riffs: Rock Candy, of course, but also Bad Motor Scooter, Rock the Nation, Make It Last, Space Station #5, even Paper Money. Oh, and how about Free Ride and Frankenstein? All parts of my youth and part of who I will always be. So when I read yesterday that Ronnie Montrose had died a bit of me died, too. He was one of the very first guitarists I got into and Rock Candy was a staple of more than one band I was in. Ronnie, may you rest always amidst a chorus of Les Pauls through cranked up Marshalls.