That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

By Steve Newton Marc Bonilla might be one of the greatest guitarists you’ve never heard of. I guess he’s kind of like Joe Hodgson is today, except that Bonilla came on the scene 30 years ago. I interviewed him back in April of 1992, the year after he released an amazing all-instrumental debut album called … Continue reading That time guitar great Marc Bonilla told me how inspired he was by the playing of Ronnie Montrose

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 Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

By Steve Newton Way the funk back in 1985 I did my one and only interview with Ronnie James Dio. He was touring behind Dio’s Sacred Heart album, and he got tickets and backstage passes to the show in Vancouver at the Pacific Coliseum. I’ll never forget how kind and generous he was when we … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell” was his favourite song out of all the things he’d done

That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

By Steve Newton Black Sabbath impressed a lot of people in April of 1980 when it released Heaven and Hell, its first album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals. I was one of those people. So I was pretty surprised when, while I was interviewing him in 1985, Dio told me that he thought Sabbath’s … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me that he thought Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was a better album than Heaven and Hell

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 my … 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 thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

By Steve Newton Back in 1985 I did my only interview with Ronnie James Dio, who was headed to Vancouver on the Sacred Heart Tour, with Yngwie Malmsteen‘s Rising Force opening up. At one point in the conversation the legendary heavy-metal crooner compared the guitar-playing abilities of his former bandmate Ritchie Blackmore to those of … Continue reading That time Ronnie James Dio told me what he really thought of Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen as guitarists

That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath

  By Steve Newton Since time immemorial–or at least since Dio replaced Ozzy in Sabbath back in ’79–armchair rock critics have debated the merits of the two singers. It’s hard to complain about anything Ozzy did with the band up until the awesome Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath album of 1973; then again, after three spotty LPs, … Continue reading That time I asked Tony Iommi how Ronnie James Dio compared to Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath