Showing posts with label # live music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label # live music. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


'U R I A H   H E E P'  LEGEND 

From childhood poet to legendary status is a long, long road and it´s hard to cut this particular story short .... so why try?
Born in London with music in his family and in his blood, Ken Hensley formed the dream of being a rock star at the age of 11 when he bribed his parents into buying him a guitar.
Armed with not much more than sheer determination he moved from step to step always looking for a way to advance his powerful ambitions.
This was achieved through bands like The Gods which went through several incarnations before recording 2 albums for EMI Records and until the formation of Uriah Heep in 1970, the group in which all of his dreams came true and which changed his life forever and in many ways.
Ken wrote or co-wrote the majority of Uriah Heep's songs during this period, including the hit singles "Lady in Black" (on which he sang lead vocals), "Easy Livin'" and "Stealin'", as well as "Look at Yourself", on which he also sang lead vocals, and "Free Me".
The band's classic line-up featured Hensley, Byron, Box, Kerslake and bassist Gary Thain, plus the management provided by Gerry Bron (Bronze Records). During his time with Heep (1970–1980), they recorded 13 studio albums, and the acclaimed live album "Uriah Heep Live – January 1973" along with many compilations and singles. Hensley also recorded his first two solo albums, "Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf" (1973) and "Eager To Please" (1975) during this time. 
Ken will tell you that he is a first and foremost a writer/composer/lyricist and his enormous history of world-wide hit records is testimony to this, as is his history of world-wide sales of over 40 million records.
After returning to Europe from the US, Ken Hensley began the climb back into rock & roll history and in 2007 released the acclaimed rock opera Blood On The Highway.
Steadily Ken grew back into the consciousness of his huge fan base and, either solo or with Live Fire, the live performances thrilled audiences from Norway to Russia and all points in between.
With his classic autobiography, "When Too Many Dreams Come True" printed in English, Russian and Bulgarian, the man who first made his mark in the 20th century is now clearly capturing the 21st.
Recent solo releases included another stunning solo CD, "Love & Other Mysteries" In 2013, Cherry Red Records released a brilliant new Live Fire CD called "TROUBLE" which embodied all the lyrical and musical power of Ken´s best efforts with Heep, transformed into a 21st century classic album.
Live Fire merged some of these great tracks into their live shows as they stormed every market they visited.
2013 also saw a dramatic increase in the demand for Ken´s solo shows and this momentum rolled right into 2014, with Live Fire making its first appearance in Russia, with two sold-out shows in Moscow and Kaluga.
With tours in Ukraine, Crimea, Latvia and Russia, Ken continued to grow the audience for his solo shows and The Legends continued with two memorable concerts on a November "Rock Cruise".
Teamed with Steve Weltman, his partner, manager and friend, they are planning (some would say "plotting") a lot of interesting projects, so stay tuned. It has been said before and it´s worth saying again .... Ken Hensley is a rock & roll legend with no plans to stop.

Visit Ken Hensley’s Official Website
Visit Ken Hensley on Facebook
And Ken Hensley on Twitter

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Have a great week everybody!

Friday, November 14, 2014

‘HEART’ exhibits their extraordinary talents to Sold-Out Ruth Eckerd in Clearwater

Heart concert review:                                           
By Ray Shasho

Over the years, I’ve profoundly enjoyed every Heart concert that I’ve attended. Since the band’s debut performances in 1976 at small rock clubs like the Hollywood Palace in Baltimore County, Maryland, and witnessing the bands amazing climb to stardom after performing the following year at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, the newest and largest arena in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. I also saw Heart perform after I moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at the Hollywood Sportatorium in 1979. The one factor all these performances had in common was not only the amazing vocalizations of Ann and Nancy Wilson, but equally as effective were the distinct performances by guitar hero Roger Fisher along with his prodigious bandmates Steve Fossen, Howard Lees, and Mike Derosier. Their fans weren’t only attracted to Heart because of its two amazing and beautiful singers; they were also drawn to the music by these incredibly cool musicians. I was disappointed when those bandmates had either been kicked out or left the band, and to be perfectly honest, after they left, I completely lost interest in Heart for quite some time.

But today, I hold a new respect for Heart as a band. Their consistency of touring and for persistently keeping their brand in the limelight is second to none. Heart has not only kept their brand in the limelight but has vastly helped rock and roll survive. Most recently in 2012, Ann and Nancy Wilson was involved in a rock and roll historical moment when they brilliantly performed Led Zeppelin’s“Stairway to Heaven” at the Kennedy Center Honors while a teary-eyed Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, and John Paul Jones watched with absolute awe and admiration.

On Tuesday night Heart performed to a sold-out Ruth Eckerd audience in Clearwater, Florida and the crowd and I also watched with absolute awe and admiration. The band presented an impressive setlist and performed every song flawlessly.

THE OPENING ACT was the beautiful and talented Brynn Marie, a Nashville vocalist accompanied by an acoustic guitarist. The simplicity of a duo is sometimes more appreciated than an entire band; absolutely no room for error, the band performed admirably and definite crowd pleasers.

HEART TOOK THE STAGE to a thunderous roar from the Clearwater audience and immediately opened their set with the #11 Billboard Hot 100 Hit “Barracuda” from Heart’s second release ‘Little Queen’ in 1977. The song was intended as an angry message to Mushroom Records their label at the time. The band followed with “Heartless” released in 1978 for the ‘Magazine’ album. The song reached #24 on Billboard’s Hot 100. They performed “What About Love” next, the 1985 release that became a #10 hit in the U.S. from their self-titled ‘Heart’ album, and followed with one of their most recognizable tunes from the groups early era “Magic Man” a track from their debut release album ‘Dreamboat Annie.’
The sold-out Ruth Eckerd audience was on their feet throughout concert, and most dancing by their seats. The audience appeared to be mixed between Heart -aged and younger. There were a lot of attractive women dressed in Wilson Sister’s attire, much like a Stevie Nicks concert.

Heart ensued with “Dreamboat Annie” and “Even It Up” from the band’s fifth album entitled ‘Bebe le Strange’ released on Epic Records in 1980, the song landed at #33 on the Billboard’s chart. Next it was the Ann Wilson rockin’ composition “Kick It Out” from the ‘Little Queen’ album followed by “Straight On” from ‘The Dog & Butterfly’ release on the Portrait Records label in 1978. The song reached #15 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles.

Heart performed their first of many cover tunes of the evening, a Paul McCartney & Wings heavy rocker “Let Me Roll It” from the ‘Band on the Run’ album. Nancy Wilson did an awesome job performing the guitar licks on the song. The Wings hard rock classic was followed by Nancy taking a seat and playing acoustic guitar like a standup bass with a bow while performing a really cool psychedelic/middle-eastern track entitled “Heaven” with Ann Wilson on vocals and autoharp. Afterwards, Nancy Wilson took center stage to sing the Martin Page-Bernie Taupan penned “These Dreams” a #1 U.S. hit song released by Heart in 1986.

One of the loudest receptions of the evening came after Ann Wilson performed “Alone.” It was probably Ann’s most brilliantly performed song of the evening, pronouncing her amazing vocals and gifted talent. “Alone” also hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 singles charts in 1987. The ballad was released on the commercially successful ‘Bad Animals’ album (reaching #2 on Billboard’s Hot 200 albums chart). “Alone” was composed by Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly.

Surprisingly, Heart followed with a Robin Trower cover entitled “Day of the Eagle” and perhaps honoring the magnificent ‘Bridge of Sighs’ album which is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. Ironically, Robin Trower performed the next day in St. Petersburg at Jannus Live. I was a bit skeptical when I saw “Day of the Eagle” on the playlist, but guitarist Craig Bartock did a very nice job with the classic Trower track. Nancy Wilson took over the spotlight with her legendary acoustic intro to “Crazy On You” (1976) the final song on the setlist before an encore. The song is probably the most revered amongst the earliest Heart faithful. “Crazy On You” impelled an amazing energy throughout the audience propelling everyone to their feet, and many danced at their seats during the entire performance.

The band tried to say its goodbyes but the Clearwater audience was way too appreciative for them to end the show. Heart concluded the evening with three powerful Led Zeppelin covers, a band the Wilson Sisters had emulated throughout their entire musical careers. First “The Immigrant Song” from the Led Zeppelin III release in 1970, followed by an amazing rendition of “No Quarter” (1973) spotlighting the amazing keyboards and synthesizers of Debbie Shair. The final song of the night was Zeppelin’s “Misty Mountain Hop” (1971). All three songs were impeccably performed by Heart.

The current HEART lineup is  Ann Wilson (vocals, flute, autoharp, and guitar), Nancy Wilson (vocals, guitars), Craig Bartock(guitar), Debbie Shair (keyboards, synthesizers), Dan Rothchild (bass), and Ben Smith (drums). 

It was an exciting evening and enjoyed by all. The shirt vendor made a killing as well. The show was phenomenal but one can still hope for a perpetuated Heart reunion and tour.

Heart was inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame in 2013.

SETLIST: Barracuda, Heartless ,What About Love ,Magic Man, Dreamboat Annie ,Even It Up ,Kick It Out ,Straight On, Let Me Roll It (Wings cover),Heaven, These Dreams ,Alone ,Day of the Eagle, (Robin Trower cover), Crazy On You, Immigrant Song,(Led Zeppelin cover), No Quarter (Led Zeppelin cover), Misty Mountain Hop (Led Zeppelin cover)

Very special thanks to Sacha Guzy

COMING UP NEXT … Folk/Rock singer & songwriter Jonathan Edwards (“Sunshine,” “Shanty”)
and the legendary Trini Lopez (“If I had a Hammer,” “Lemon Tree”)

Contact music journalist Ray Shasho at
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Concert Review: 'Frampton Comes Alive! 35' - Interview: Bassist Stanley Sheldon Chats With Ray Shasho

By Ray Shasho
REVIEW: Prodigious Classic Rock artist Peter Frampton and his top-notch band performed the entire Frampton Comes Alive! masterpiece on Saturday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The event celebrated an amazing 35th anniversary of his multi-platinum double album that still remains as one of the best-selling live albums of all-time.
The three hour performance was interrupted only once by a twenty minute intermission. And if you ventured out of the Hall during the show you had to wait until after the song was over to return to your seat. The rule was set in place because the show was recorded and a live CD of the concert was made available to purchase after the show had ended.
I was a junior in high school when Frampton Comes Alive! was first released and just about every house party during that time melded the album into its ambience. Saturday night’s Ruth Eckerd Frampton Comes Alive alumni were at yet another house party to relive the good times when the album was first spun.

The first set of the evening included most of Frampton’s big hits and the packed Ruth Eckerd house was unyielding. Throughout the show there were outcries of enthusiasm perhaps to eclipse the audiences from the original concert recordings of 1975. Even during Frampton’s solo acoustic segments as in “All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)” there were bursts of exuberance initiated from every direction of the Hall.

Peter Frampton is 61 now and although he makes fun of losing his symbolic rock star head of locks, Saturday’s show proves that his performances stand the test of time. I’ve witnessed Peter Frampton concerts since 1974 and he’s never disappointed devout fans or concert goers who are there simply as advocates for rock and roll.

The most memorable moments of the first set were an electrified shootout between Sheriff Peter Frampton and Guitar Slinger Adam Lester during “I’ll Give You Money” that blew its audience away.
Frampton’s trademark anthem “Do You Feel Like We Do” followed and generated an ovation of epic proportions. In all the year’s I’ve watched Frampton’s concerts it always appeared like he wore a painted smile on his face. I never witnessed Frampton not smiling. But during a thunderous ovation from an appreciative and galvanized Ruth Eckerd audience, that painted smile metamorphosed into sheer elation.

The eclectic second set enhanced the range of talents in the band. Many of the songs featured muti-instrumentalist Bob Arthur who captured his own fans on Saturday night. Then of course Adam Lester’s mastery on guitar, remarkable bass licks generated by veteran rocker Stanley Sheldon, and the impressive drumming of Dan Wojciechowski completed Frampton’s proficient line-up.

The second set was tight and performed brilliantly with every song accompanied by an awesome screen and light show. An unexpected surprise was a Humble Pie classic called “Four Day Creep.” The tune performed with footage of Frampton’s old bandmates projected on a screen behind him. Vocal efforts although noble could never mirror Humble Pie’s legendary frontman Steve Marriott.

The evening wound down with Frampton’s rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Whole Sun” followed by a huge ovation and encore of friend George Harrison’s tune “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
Undoubtedly Peter Frampton will be back, especially after receiving a response like the one he received at Ruth Eckerd Hall on Saturday night.
“The Clearwater crowd was the best I’ve seen on this tour,” says bassist Stanley Sheldon. I chatted with Stanley after the show and interviewed him prior to the Ruth Eckerd engagement.

INTERVIEW: Prior to the concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall I had the pleasure of chatting with Stanley Sheldon the original bassist of Frampton Comes Alive! since its fruition in1976. Sheldon also played on the album’s “I’m In You,” “Where I Should Be” and contributed his extraordinary talents as co-writer and bassist on the Grammy award winning instrumental album Fingerprints.
Sheldon is an early advocate for the fretless bass.
The Kansas native spent most of the 90’s devoted to Latin American Studies at the University of Kansas and traveled extensively throughout Latin America with studies focused on slave society of the nineteenth century and how its influence on past music continues to affect the transformation and hybridization of world music today. Sheldon often played Salsa and Son music with various players to huge dance crowds during his journeys.
Sheldon shared an amazing relationship with close friend and guitar virtuoso Tommy Bolin. Bolin played guitar on Billy Cobham’s renowned Spectrum album before joining legendary Classic Rock Bands -The James Gang and Deep Purple. Tommy Bolin died of a drug overdose in Miami, Florida in 1976.
Before his untimely death Sheldon played on Tommy Bolin’s critically acclaimed debut album Teaser. Sheldon also appears on varied Bolin archival appearances.
Stanley Sheldon has also recorded with Lou Gramm (Foreigner’s original vocalist) and has toured as bassist with Warren Zevon and the Delbert McClinton band.

Here’s my Chat with Bassist/Songwriter/Musician/Scholar /Stanley Sheldon.

Stanley, thank you very much for joining me this afternoon. My mother was born and raised in Cuba so naturally I’m fascinated about your studies of Latin American culture.

“That’s very interesting because it was the Cuban song the music from Cuba that really enticed me because that’s what later on became Salsa. I was playing at the University of Kansas with some Venezuelans who I’d met there while I worked on my undergrad degree that same decade and I was doing environmental studies for that degree and when it was time to select a Masters program I had been playing Salsa with these Latinos and I just fell in love with the Cuban rhythms especially Cuba and Puerto Rico. So it was that great love of the rhythms that brought me to Latin American studies.”

I grew up in an eclectic household and half of my parents listened to Celia Cruz.

“Celia is one of my idols too and also like Hector Lavoeand all of the great ones Willie Colon and Reuben Blades all the Salsa stuff the Venezuelans that I was playing with they really gave me a crash course on Salsa 101 man I learned from experts of who to listen to it was great.”

Do you have Latino blood?

“You know I do not but my Uncle my dad’s brother went down to Cuba right before the revolution because he had a heart condition and my dad traveled there and they were only in their early 20’s my dad was even younger and my uncle Frank married a Cuban and brought her home right after the revolution so I’ve always felt kind of close to Cuba.”

Did you learn the language?

“My Spanish is getting pretty good I was teaching classes to Spanish speakers for the EPA and now I have my lady interest who is a Mexican National so I’ve been there four times this year to Mexico. I’m in love with a Mexican. So my language skills are pretty good. And she’s very beautiful.”

You know it’s funny we find out much later in her career that Linda Ronstadt had Mexican roots.

“Man she really sang that Mariachi stuff so beautifully. Well you know I kind of knew about her roots because I had done some tours with her when I was in a band called Ronin and playing with Warren Zevon you know she was connected with. So I kind of knew about her Hispanic heritage but not very many other people did.”

After the show on Saturday in Clearwater, a live CD set recording of the show will be available to purchase?

“That is correct it’s a three CD set and it takes three CD’s to fit the entire three and half hour show. What happens is during the show as they’re recording it the first CD get’s finished and they start packaging it and it looks just like the CD you buy at the store wrapped and everything. But the third CD the fans will   line up and wait ten minutes only after the show and they can purchase the whole three CD set.”

That’s really cool; it’s like being part of rock and roll history.

“Yea and a lot of fans are really appreciative you know because it’s another Frampton Comes Alive! And the quality of the recordings is getting better and better throughout the tour and the most recent ones just sound spectacular. I think Peter’s among the first to be doing this. We have a staff out on the road with us from Abbey Road that’s recording each night and then packaging it up for us.”

You joined Peter Frampton at the onset of Frampton Comes Alive! I guess that would be in 1975?

“I joined in 1975 right before the live album was recorded and I was kind of the last piece of the puzzle. He was looking for a bass player and my timing could not have been better.”

You played with the great Tommy Bolin prior to joining Frampton?

“It was the fact that I was playing with Tommy that got me to LA and where I needed to be positioned to capitalize on the Frampton thing. If I had never known Tommy I wouldn’t have been there. He was such a great player and my best friend and he went on to play with Deep Purple about the same time that I got the gig with Frampton. And we were out there together looking for a singer for our own band and we were struggling and times got tough so we both had to take gigs and we could’ve picked worst gigs I guess." (Laughing)

Yea, I saw Tommy play with both The James Gang and Deep Purple. He was just such a great guitarist.

“You know he was in Florida the night he died.”

I believe at the Newport Hotel in Miami.

“Jeff Beck who I just recently met told me the story. About two or three month ago I went to see Jeff because the great Narada Michael Walden is playing drums with Jeff Beck now and he was also Tommy’s drummer so there was a connection there. Jeff was a huge fan of Tommy and the Tommy Bolin band was opening for Jeff Beck when they were playing in Miami that night. So Jeff Beck is standing there and this was just back in May I went to see him play and he was telling me the story of how he and Jan Hammer walked in and found out that Tommy was dead. Just imagine that I’m standing there and talking with Jeff Beck and he’s telling me how he found my best friend dead in a hotel room.”

Everyone I’ve ever talked too about Tommy Bolin always said he was just such a nice, sweet man.

“You couldn’t meet a nicer and friendlier guy he’d make anybody smile and laugh. So if it hadn’t been for him I would have never met Peter. We were in LA together and Tommy’s earlier bass player Kenny Passarelli who I came in and replaced because Kenny had started playing with Joe Walsh. We all lived in Boulder Colorado right before all of this happened. So all these musicians are living in Boulder. Joe Walsh had moved there and had put his band together Barnstorm and Kenny Passarelli was the bass player in that band and Peter was a fan of Joe’s and Kenny’s playing and Kenny played a fretless bass like I did. Peter wanted someone that could play fretless bass so when he found out Kenny couldn’t do the job because he was too busy and I think Elton John was about to hire him but he said you should try this guy Stanley.  So I was in LA with Tommy at that time and I got Peter’s number and called him up.”

And the rest is history as they say. Did you have any idea after completing Frampton Comes Alive! that it may turn out to be a commercially successful giant?

“Come on how could anybody know that. I tell the story that my advice to Peter was not to do a live album that he should get in the studio and make a highly polished studio record. And that’s the joke and my advice to Peter.”

Well I’m glad that he didn’t take your advice on that one.

“Yea me too.”

You played on the critically acclaimed Teaser Album with Tommy Bolin.

“Yea I played on just about every track. Yea I love that record and that’s how I met Narada Michael Walden who is Jeff Beck’s drummer now and Narada went on to produce Whitney Houston and kind of sculpted her career and he stepped back from playing drums after Mahavishnu to start producing and so a lot of people don’t really know about his playing ability and he’s just an unbelievable and unparalleled drummer. It’s incredible to see him with Jeff Beck now.”

Have you picked up any session work recently?

“No I have not been doing a lot I spent a decade working on my scholastic stuff you know and I took a lot of time off. I didn’t stop playing I was doing the Latin thing you know so I feel as a player I grew more then -then I would playing Coke commercials and jingles and stuff like that. But I don’t do a lot of sessions I never did but I wouldn’t mind at this late date getting a few more calls to do different types of music. I’m starting to get my feelers into the Nashville scene because Peter’s  base of operations is Nashville and two of the guys are from Nashville that are in the band. And I went on the road with Delbert McClinton two years ago and he’s in Nashville too. I’m starting to feel a kind of closeness with Nashville and yea there probably is some work there if I could get there and move there or something.”

I just got to ask you about working on the soundtrack of Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke.

“That’s going to be something to talk about till the day I die because everybody loved the movie so much. It was a lot of fun to do that. That’s when I was played with Waddy Wachtel Warren Zevon and those guys. We did most of the soundtrack I mean they used songs from other artist but all the background music was what we recorded for that movie. When they’re driving around in the van you hear the music in the background could be a reggae song or a rock song. I don’t think the songs we did really had names or anything we were just providing music for the background.”

So back to Frampton any plans for a new album once the tour is over?

“I think Peter is formulating what he wants to do and hopefully I can make some contributions on whatever they might be I’m planning on that we’ll see what happens. I hope to be touring with Peter for a long time.”
“Some other things The Tommy Bolin Foundation they’re always looking for someone who can step in and try and represent Tommy's skill as a player maybe as a tribute band we talked about putting something on the road to commemorate Tommy’s music. You know we do a thing in Sioux City Iowa every summer I mean I don’t always go every year but it’s like a tribute performance for Tommy and they get different players each year. But I know some people involved who would really like to see something go out on the road and play some major cities and put a really great band together so I’ve been talking with some people about that. So that could happen.”
“But other than that we’re going to continue on this 35th Anniversary tour even through 2012 and we’re going to come back and do more U.S. dates and we’re going to Europe in November and I imagine South America. I think in 2012 we’ll be playing but not quite as much as we did this year but certainly quite a bit.”
“Peter’s work ethic is really impressive and we’re all just in awe that he can get up there every night and play three-three and a half hour shows we’re all being inspired to follow suit. When he’s on stage man it’s a sight to behold.”

Stanley, thank you so much for taking time out from your busy tour schedule to speak with me. Good luck with the rest of the tour and I will be seeing you in Clearwater on Saturday night.

“Thanks Ray I look forward to meeting you at the show.”

Something’s Happening
Doobie Wah
Line On My Face
Show Me The Way
It’s A Plain Shame
Wind Of Change
Penny For Your Thoughts
All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
Baby I love Your Way
I Wanna Go To The Sun
I’ll Give You Money
Do You Feel Like We Do
Shine On (Humble Pie Song)
Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Rolling Stones Cover)
Asleep At The Wheel
Boot It Up
Double Nickles
Vaudeville Nanna and the Banjolele
All I Want To Be (Is By Your Side)
Four Day Creep (Humble Pie song)
Off The Hook
Black Whole Sun (Soundgarden Cover)
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (Beatles Cover)

Stanley Sheldon official website
Peter Frampton official website
Tommy Bolin Archives
Ruth Eckerd Hall official website

Special thanks to Cami Opere for arranging this interview and some great tickets.
And as always the entire Ruth Eckerd Hall staff. Especially Katie Pedretty. -Bobby Rossi you the man!


Order Ray Shasho’s new book Check the GsThe True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business at,, or

“I found Check the Gs to be pure entertainment, fantastic fun and a catalyst to igniting so many memories of my own life, as I too am within a few years of Ray.  So to all, I say if you have a bit of grey hair (or no hair), buy this book!  It’s a great gift for your “over-the-hill” friends, or for their kids, if they are the history buffs of younger generations trying to figure out why we are the way we are.”~~Pacific Book Review

Contact Ray Shasho at

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ronnie MONTROSE Exclusive Interview: “We’re Going Out And Tearing It Up!”

Ray Shasho with Ronnie Montrose
 By Ray Shasho

MONTROSE invades the Largo Cultural Center on Thursday October 20th with ticket prices set at a mere $25.00 in advance and only $30.00 on the day of the show. Michael Lee Firkins will open this must see show presented by Guitar Player Magazine.

Guitar virtuoso Ronnie Montrose launched his brilliant career with Irish rocker Van Morrison. Montrose played on the albums Tupelo Honey and Saint Dominic’s Preview. And Ronnie’s guitar riff on Morrison’s huge hit “Wild Night” will forever be cemented as one of the most memorable in classic rock history.

Montrose left Van Morrison to join The Edgar Winter Group and enjoyed commercial success with the release of They Only Come Out at Night. The album climbed up to Number 3 on the Billboard charts and spawned the enormous Top 40 hits “Frankenstein” (# 1 hit) and “Free Ride.” (# 14 hit)
In 1973 Ronnie felt the desire to orchestrate his own band and so he formed the hard rock group that bears his own signature MONTROSE. The combination of Ronnie Montrose on Les Paul and Sammy Hagar on vocals created a hard driving rock and roll machine that churned out monster releases Montrose and Paper Money and Hard Rock Classics like “Rock Candy,” “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Space Station No 5,” “I Got the Fire” and “Rock the Nation.”

After Sammy Hagar left the band, Montrose released several albums before forming Gamma in 1979 with Robin Trower’s current lead vocalist Davey Pattison. The group released four cutting-edge rock albums.
After Gamma, Ronnie Montrose released a string of great albums and a return to the road as Montrose including a triumphant reunion appearance with ex frontman Sammy Hagar in 2005.

Over the years Ronnie Montrose has shared his electrified guitar wizardry with legendary artist like Herbie Hancock, Boz Scaggs, Gary Wright, Nicolette Larson, Paul Kantner and The Neville Brothers.

And now MONTROSE is back with what Ronnie calls “My dream band.”
I caught up with Ronnie Montrose while on the road to his next gig in California.

Here’s my chat with guitar prodigy/songwriter/producer/ Ronnie Montrose.

Ronnie, thank you for spending some time with me today.

“Yea we’re driving in the car and it’s a perfect time to call.”

What’s the current lineup for the MONTROSE tour?

“The lineup is Dan McNay on Bass, Steve Brown on drums, Kevin Casey on vocals and Ronnie Montrose on guitar. But this is my dream band that I’ve finally got to put together and I’m taking this band out for at least a year and we’re going out and it’s working out so well we’re going out and just tearing it up.”
NOTE: After this interview was conducted it was announced that veteran Montrose lead singer Keith St John had rejoined the band for the tour.

I watched a reunion show that Montrose did in 2005 on a You Tube video and you played “Rock the Nation” with your old bandmate Sammy Hagar.  

“You know anything anybody does now is on You Tube. If you stop at McDonalds it’s on You Tube.”

I think it’s great though.

“I do too. It’s just a different world nowadays and everybody has to get use to it."

Are you a fan of the cyberspace world?

“I like it because especially all these You Tube things I mean everybody has their iPhone cameras their BlackBerry cameras and I see those cameras pointed up at me all the time now which is actually really good because of what it does for me and my band that we talked about it is that there is no time for us not to be on our toes because they’re on all the time whenever you’re playing and I think it’s very healthy. And you know there’s no monetary gain from it but it’s certainly is something that shows that when you come and play live that you’re going to be delivering one hundred percent and let’s face it there’s no amount of a You Tube video that can ever match coming to see any strong and powerful show live.”

Unfortunately the quality of many of those live You Tube videos are pretty shabby.

“Well you know that’s the nature of cell phones but at least it’s getting out there and when we come to a town and then into a venue and we deliver a super powerful show I like it being out there on these not  good quality cell phones but at least it’s getting it around.”

What musicians did you admire while growing up?

“Wait a minute; let’s get this straight I have not grown up yet. I’m 63 and I’m still a big kid. My first experience with music was my father, he was like a stereo buff and he built his own little Hi-Fi center with recorders and everything and I listened to a lot of jazz, I mean he listened to big band and jazz and singers Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Sara Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dave Brubeck with Paul Desmond a phenomenal instrumental player, Gerry Mulligan, Thelonius Monk he listened to everything on that side of it which gave me a sensibility for melody but when I started reaching teenage years in the 60’s I listened to everything that was on the radio like everyone else did which was Chuck Berry, Beach Boys and then of course Beatles, Stones all of the cool stuff Paul Revere & the Raiders all of the cool stuff that was there and of course in the 60’s I was completely blown away like everyone else by Hendrix and Cream and Deep Purple and Jeff Beck and all of that so those were my influences.”

What made you pick up a guitar and start playing one day?

“What made me pick up a guitar? It weighed a lot less than a piano.”


“A friend of mine had the instrument when I think I was seventeen and I picked it up and I just resonated with the electric guitar immediately so it was just something where I knew I was going.”

Did you learn to read music when you first started to play the guitar?

“I’ve never known how to read music in my life.”

I find that amazing because there are so many legendary artist who in fact did not read music and somehow composed musical masterpieces. (The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix for example)

“Many ethnic musicians who play just from their heart and soul who read and write music they don’t do it. Reading and writing is a wonderful way of getting ideas in your head down to someone else who reads and writes but if you don’t read and write and the other musician you’re playing with are trying to express something to doesn’t read and write than it’s a question of “I wrote” so that you must learn from listening and from understanding where that’s coming from.”

I was always fascinated how brilliant musicians like yourself can play so well and figure out all the numerous hand positions on the guitar fret and play all the various chords by ear. I play guitar by ear and it’s not easy man. I recently sold my 1974 Fender Telecaster to cover the editing costs on my new book.

“Good for you because you can always get another Tele.”

I still find it amazing how you can play by ear the way you do. It’s like you have a musical sixth sense or just really remarkable ears. 

“I feel very fortunate to have my ears. I’d share them with everybody but I only have two to go around.”

Do you have a nice collection of guitars? These days it’s a better investment than the stock market.

“My philosophy is honestly never collected anything that I don’t play. I know a lot of people that collect guitars but for me I want instruments that I play. And if I don’t play them I don’t’ want to have them sitting in a closet collecting dust.”

When you played in The Edgar Winter Group you guys released the monster hit album They Only Come Out at Night. And you had joined Edgar Winter after playing with Van Morrison. How did you hook up with Edgar Winter?

“I got a call to go to New York, they had heard about me in California after Van Morrison and got a call to go to New York and try out for his band and the rest is history.”

So you left The Edgar Winter Group at the peak of their success?

“We were all just experiencing growing pains and it was time for me to go back to California and start my rock band. And that’s when I came back and started Montrose.”

What was it like working with Edgar Winter?

“Just incredible, I mean Edgar Winter is one of my heroes one of my favorite musicians and I consider him to be a big brother and a mentor because he’s always helped me throughout the years and it was always such a privilege to play with him. And really I’m just a kid playing with this really talented musician and given tutelage.”

Yea Edgar Winter is still rockin’.

“Big time, I’m going to Jam with him next Sunday.”

I met Rick Derringer and Mark Farner after the Hippiefest show in Clearwater last week.

“ I just toured a few shows with Mark Farner we all used Pat Travers Band and I love Mark he’s a great guy. I just jammed with Pat last week he was on the bill with me and we jammed Bad Motor Scooter together.”

I know this was probably just a rumor but were you ever asked to join Mott the Hoople?

“That’s a myth that’s been around forever and the fact is Ian Hunters management flew out to California and knew about me and was looking for a guitar player they did investigate if I was available and it never went any further than that because I was actually putting Montrose together. In fact I didn’t turn down a job or an audition the fact was I just wasn’t available."

How did you start the band Montrose?

“Put the word out in the Bay area where I lived in the San Francisco Bay area. And Sammy Hagar had seen me play at Winterland with Edgar Winter and Sam got my number from a guy and said I was looking for a singer called me up told me I’m your man and I went to see him at a club he was playing at in San Francisco and realized he’d be the perfect guy for my lead singer in my new ensemble and that’s how that happened.
But I’m having so much fun now simply going around and playing Montrose and Gamma music.”

Any chance of you and Sammy hooking up again in the future?

“Every once in awhile I wouldn’t be surprised if Sammy and I hit the stage again just for fun and play some of our tunes but it all depends on what each one of us is doing.”

You guys are definitely going to blow the roof off the Largo Cultural Center.

“From my mouth to God’s ear.”

Ronnie thank you so much and I’ll see you at the Largo Cultural Center on October 20th.

“It’s absolutely my pleasure.”

I want to thank Leighsa Montrose for arranging this interview with guitar hero Ronnie Montrose.

Buy tickets for the MONTROSE concert on October 20th at the Largo Cultural Center right here.
Or call the box office at 727-587-6793.

Ronnie Montrose website-
Largo Cultural Center website-

Order author Ray Shasho’s great new book called Check the Gs -The True Story of an Eclectic American Family and Their Wacky Family Business. Get your copy today at

 “Normalcy is a myth and anyone who tells you differently isn't very normal. "Check the Gs" is a memoir from Ray Shasho who tells of his own offbeat upbringing working in the family business art gallery, from a young age. Of Cuban and Syrian descent, he tells a very American story of coming from everything, seeing everything, walking the line of the law and much more. A fun and fast paced memoir, "Check the Gs" is a worthwhile addition to many a memoir collection.” ~~ MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW

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