This six-CD box set compiles the groundbreaking recordings – four studio albums, demos, live radio sessions, and more – by visionary guitarist Ronnie Montrose’s band, which influenced everyone from Van Halen to Iron Maiden. With Sammy Hagar on vocals, 1973’s Montrose was a hard-rock monster, ripe with Montrose’s fat, overdriven Les Paul tone. The pummeling quality of “Good Rockin’ Tonight,” “Rock the Nation,” “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Space Station #5,” and “Rock Candy” set a high FM standard.
1974’s Paper Money showed Ronnie was already getting restless creatively, and Hagar departed afterward. The title track and “I Got the Fire” rocked. The adventurous melodies and arrangements of “Starliner” and “Spaceage Sacrifice” were bold steps forward, as was the aching “We’re Going Home,” with Montrose on vocals. 1975’s Warner Bros. Presents Montrose! introduced vocalist Bob James and “Matriarch” checked the hard-rock box, while “Whaler,” dripping with acoustic guitar and viola, veered toward prog-rock. Jump on It includes impressive slide throughout the bubbly “Let’s Go,” while Ronnie slashes and shreds on the title track.
The bonus KSAN performances are terrific, but the various mono and stereo edits are pointless for anyone but the completist. Still, this is rockin’ one-stop shoppin’ for Montrose fans and curious newbies.
This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.