Album review: Ronnie Montrose, The Speed of Sound (1988)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 5, 1988 By Steve Newton On his last album, Mean, guitar hero Ronnie Montrose rekindled the straightforward metal noise that sounded so fine on his early ’70s albums with Sammy Hagar. On his new one, he’s back on the instrumental rock path a la his 1978 release, Open … Continue reading Album review: Ronnie Montrose, The Speed of Sound (1988)

Ronnie Montrose and Steve Morse jam for the first time on the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 29, 1994 By Steve Newton What do ’60s British rock pioneers the Yardbirds, ’70s fusion greats the Mahavishnu Orchestra, instrumental southern-rockers the Dixie Dregs, and cult guitar hero Ronnie Montrose have in common? Not that much, really, but at the Commodore on Wednesday (September 21) the musical legacies … Continue reading Ronnie Montrose and Steve Morse jam for the first time on the Yardbirds’ “Shapes of Things”

That time I told Ronnie Montrose that I really liked Speed of Sound, and he said that he liked Music From Here more

By Steve Newton Like most hard-rock freaks in the seventies, I went nuts when I heard the debut Montrose album in ’73, and the fierce glory of Ronnie Montrose’s cranked guitar unleashed. I continued to love the music he made with singer Davey Pattison in the more prog-oriented rock band Gamma. And when Ronnie went … Continue reading That time I told Ronnie Montrose that I really liked Speed of Sound, and he said that he liked Music From Here more

That time Ronnie Montrose told me that singer-songwriters with a real passion are hard to find

By Steve Newton Today the world’s top hard-rock/heavy-metal expert, Canada’s own Martin Popoff, sent me an autographed copy of his new book, Rock the Nation: Montrose, Gamma and Ronnie Redefined. That got me thinking that maybe I should post another audio excerpt from my one and only interview with Ronnie Montrose, which occured in 1994 when he … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me that singer-songwriters with a real passion are hard to find

That time Ronnie Montrose told me why he didn’t want to make a fourth Gamma album

By Steve Newton Dedicated fans of guitar great Ronnie Montrose know that, after he made his mark on the hard-rock scene with Montrose, he formed a more prog-oriented band called Gamma with singer Davey Pattison that continued making great music. I snapped up the group’s debut album, Gamma 1, as soon as it came out in … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me why he didn’t want to make a fourth Gamma album

Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Warren Zevon, Rick Derringer, Albert Collins, Ronnie Montrose, Gary Moore, and Jethro Tull

By Steve Newton So the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame did it again. Today the poorly-named musical dumping ground in Cleveland inducted six acts into its fold, including folkie Joan Baez and rapper Tupac Shakur. Sure, they’re both great at what they do, but are they rock ‘n’ roll? Kinda doubt it. The other … Continue reading Newt’s Rock Hall inducts Warren Zevon, Rick Derringer, Albert Collins, Ronnie Montrose, Gary Moore, and Jethro Tull

That time Ronnie Montrose told me that Sammy Hagar had always wanted to be a, quote, “rock star”

By Steve Newton Back in ’94 when I did my one-and-only interview with guitar legend Ronnie Montrose, I told him that, as a teenager in the ’70s, I’d really gone nuts for the debut Montrose album. After he told me that those were “kindergarten days” as far as his knowledge of guitar went, I asked Ronnie … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me that Sammy Hagar had always wanted to be a, quote, “rock star”

That time Ronnie Montrose told me that the Montrose LP marked his “kindergarten days” as a guitarist

By Steve Newton Very few albums that I bought as a teen in the seventies had as huge an effect on me as Montrose. I mean, from the very first riff of the very first track of the very first Montrose album, I was like “Holy shit!” It was 1973, I was 17 years old, … Continue reading That time Ronnie Montrose told me that the Montrose LP marked his “kindergarten days” as a guitarist

Talking Ry Cooder, Ronnie Montrose, and the Allmans with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, NOV. 12, 1998 By Steve Newton Bluesman Luther Allison, folk-pop troubadour Jeff Buckley, fingerstyle-guitar innovator Michael Hedges, and jazz drummer Tony Williams might seem unlikely heroes for a southern-rock band, but they’re who Gov’t Mule’s new CD, Dose, is dedicated to. Between the time the band started recording Dose … Continue reading Talking Ry Cooder, Ronnie Montrose, and the Allmans with Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes

Marc Bonilla inspired by the intensity and melodies of Ronnie Montrose

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, APRIL 30, 1992 BY STEVE NEWTON Kids wanna rock for all kinds of reasons. Seeing the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show is a common driving force; hearing Hendrix for the first time another. Then there are the old adages about getting into music “to get chicks” or because … Continue reading Marc Bonilla inspired by the intensity and melodies of Ronnie Montrose

Rock-guitar legend Ronnie Montrose dies at the age of 64

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2012 I was shocked to find out, just minutes ago, that one of my top guitar heroes from the ’70s, Ronnie Montrose, died yesterday (March 3). He passed away after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. (As I–and most everybody else–learned later, Montrose actually died from a self-inflicted gunshot … Continue reading Rock-guitar legend Ronnie Montrose dies at the age of 64

My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MARCH 4, 2012 By Steve Newton It may seem kinda crazy to stay up all night transcribing a phone interview I did with Ronnie Montrose 14 years ago, but the news of his death yesterday hit me pretty hard. He was such a wonderful and underrated player that I feel it’s … Continue reading My first and last interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose

That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

By Steve Newton It’s amazing what a person can find when they listen to old interviews they recorded on cassette back in 1984. Like that time I was chatting with Golden Earring vocalist and cosongwriter Barry Hay and asked him about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the seventies. Have a listen:   To hear … Continue reading That time Golden Earring frontman Barry Hay told me about touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd and getting beaten up with Ronnie Van Zandt

That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thinks of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen

By Steve Newton Last year I posted an audio clip from my 1985 interview with Ronnie James Dio in which he kindly offered me backstage passes to a show in Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour. Here’s another excerpt from that conversation in which the legendary heavy-metal crooner compares the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thinks of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen

That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

By Steve Newton In the past I’ve had fun posting audio excerpts from my first interview with legendary Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, which took place in 1984, during the group’s misguided Born Again phase. Fast-forward 23 years and I got Iommi on the phone again, this time to talk about the Heaven and Hell … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi about Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani was into Humble Pie as a kid, missed out on Montrose

ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, MAY 13, 2009 By Steve Newton Any self-respecting rock-guitar freak has at least a couple of Joe Satriani CDs in his or her collection. The Bay Area musician has been steadily churning out adventurous, technically boggling instrumental albums since blasting onto the six-string scene in 1986 with Not of This Earth. … Continue reading Chickenfoot guitarist Joe Satriani was into Humble Pie as a kid, missed out on Montrose

That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

By Steve Newton We’ve all heard the old joke before: “What do you call somebody who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.” I think it’s fair to say that drummers don’t always get the credit they deserve. I haven’t interviewed that many over the years–for the simple fact that I prefer talking to guitarists–but some … Continue reading That time Alex Van Halen told me how early on he discovered the fascinating power of live music

That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

By Steve Newton Back in January of 1990 I did the first of my seven interviews with Joe Satriani. At the time he was touring behind his latest album, Flying in a Blue Dream, and the buzz about him was growing fast. People were learning that he’d spent several years as a guitar instructor, teaching … Continue reading That time I asked Joe Satriani who his best guitar student was and he said Steve Vai caught on the quickest

That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

By Steve Newton I was fortunate enough to have interviewed Canadian guitar wizard Jeff Healey three times. Man could that guy wail on the Strat! The first interview took place in June of 1988, when he was just 22, and still three months away from releasing his incredible debut album, See the Light. When I … Continue reading That time I called up 22-year-old Jeff Healey and asked him about his role in the upcoming bouncer flick Roadhouse

That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

By Steve Newton Bon Jovi may have been hugely popular back in the day, but I actually enjoyed guitarist Richie Sambora’s solo debut album, Stranger in This Town, more than any Bon Jovi band release. I even preferred Sambora’s lead vocals over Jon Bon Jovi’s, especially on solo tunes like “Ballad of Youth”. So it … Continue reading That time Richie Sambora told me why Bon Jovi switched producers from Bruce Fairbairn to Bob Rock

That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

By Steve Newton I’ve interviewed Kenny Wayne Shepherd four times, ’cause I’m a sucker for folks who can play the shit out of a Strat. The first time was back in December of 1995, when he was only 18 and touring behind his platinum-selling debut album, Ledbetter Heights. At one point in the conversation I … Continue reading That time 18-year-old Kenny Wayne Shepherd told me about meeting his idol Stevie Ray Vaughan

That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

By Steve Newton As April Wine once said, “I Like to Rock”. I like to rock as well, but once in a while a beautiful, gentle ballad is, as Ted Nugent once said, “Just What the Doctor Ordered”. But enough about April Wine and Ted Nugent. This little blog’s about a softer-rockin’, more prog-oriented band … Continue reading That time I asked Justin Hayward if he knew the Moody Blues’ “Nights in White Satin” was special as soon as it came to him

That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

By Steve Newton I’ve long felt that John Fogerty was the biggest triple-threat in rock: as a songwriter, singer, and guitarist, few can match him. I’ve also always hated how, for years after the breakup of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Fogerty couldn’t even perform the incredible CCR songs he’d written, for legal reasons. The old CCR … Continue reading That time I asked Elliot Easton if he felt like a mercenary playing John Fogerty’s licks in Creedence Clearwater Revisited

That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

By Steve Newton I missed out on the MC5 when they were a major musical force on the American counterculture scene in the late ’60s. And it’s not just ’cause I’m Canadian. I was only 11 when their groundbreaking Kick Out the Jams debut album came out, and at that point all I listened to … Continue reading That time Wayne Kramer told me about the MC5’s political consciousness in the ’60s

That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

By Steve Newton Some guitarists learn how to play by ear, and others–like Joe Satriani–learn how to play by the book. Satch knows music theory better than most, so when I did my first interview with him back in 1990–just after the release of Flying in a Blue Dream–I asked him how that relates to … Continue reading That time Joe Satriani told me how his mind works when he’s playing wicked guitar on stage

That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

By Steve Newton Back in August of 2001 I interviewed Jimi Hendrix tribute artist Randy Hansen because he was coming up from Seattle for a gig at a Vancouver club. This was right around the time that Apocalypse Now Redux, an extended version of Francis Ford Coppola’s epic 1979 Vietnam war movie, was being released. … Continue reading That time Randy Hansen told me about recording his atmospheric, Hendrix-style guitar parts for Apocalypse Now

That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does

By Steve Newton Being a rock journalist in Vancouver during the ’80s and ’90s meant that I was close to where a lot of the top-selling albums of the time were made. That was mainly down at Little Mountain Sound, where local producers, engineers, and mixers–guys like Bruce Fairbairn, Bob Rock, and Mike Fraser–were tweaking … Continue reading That time Bob Rock told me that he just wakes up in the morning and music is what he does