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  1. #1
    Little Dreamer
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    03.17.10 @ 04:11 PM
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    strange thing is, all the members of the montrose line-ups on the first 2 montrose albums have played with sammy hagar as a solo artist- including ronnie montrose, who was on marching to mars.

    that's not including guest musicians on those 2 albums, of course, just the official montrose members.

    1st album: sammy hagar, ronnie montrose, bill church, dennis carmassi.
    2st album: sammy hagar, ronnie montrose, alan fitzgerald, dennis carmassi.

  2. #2
    Unchained HailNgirl's Avatar
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    BILL CHURCH INTERVIEW




    SE: Are you from the Bay Area?

    BC: Well, not exactly originally, but I was in the Bay Area for 20 years. I was in Europe in the early '60s, then I came to San Francisco in about '67...and
    Ronnie was out in Boulder, Colorado. That was where I first met him.

    SE: Oh, you were out in Colorado?

    BC: I toured with the Van Morrison band, and then Ronnie joined that band as
    well. He was in a band at the time called Daddy Long Legs, a good ol'
    regional favorite band.

    SE: I knew you both played on "Tupelo Honey" but I didn't know that you
    were with Van Morrison first.

    BC: Actually, I didn't play with Van first. I wasn't in Van's band until later, but my
    band, the Corn Brothers was the opening act on a couple of his tours. I had
    an acoustic band, and by the end of those two big tours both Ronnie and I
    were in the band. Ronnie stayed long enough to do "Tupelo Honey" and
    then he left. I stuck around for another album ("St. Dominic's Preview"), with
    Van, meanwhile Ronnie was back on the East Coast playing with Edgar
    Winter by then. And he took one of the other guys in the Corn Brothers who
    played guitar and sang, but was also a drummer, that was Chuck Ruff. And
    Ronnie took Chuck Ruff back with him and they were both in Edgar's band.

    SE: So you came from the Corn Brothers, and Chuck Ruff was the guitar
    player in the Corn Brothers?

    BC: Yeah (laughing). Chuck, Ronnie and I had played together in a band
    previously. We had a band on Epic Records called Saw Buck, and that's
    actually how Ronnie met Chuck and I. Chuck and I had been in many
    bands together, when I came back to the States from Europe, I went to the
    University of Nevada in Reno. And that's where I met Chuck and then I
    brought Chuck with me to San Francisco and we started Saw Buck, and
    that's when we added various players, one of which was Ronnie. And then
    as all bands do, in those days they dissipated quite quickly. I started the
    Corn Brothers with some remnants from that band as an acoustic band and
    we played at the Keystone, as a matter of fact, which is where Van saw us
    and fell in love with the band and we became the opening act for the tour.
    And like I said, by the end of two tours doing that, Ronnie and I were in the
    Van Morrison band.

    SE: So, Ronnie got his ticket to play in Van's band through you, right?

    BC: We both knew the same people, so it was kind of inevitable. It was, who
    was going to drop their other project first (laughing).

    SE: So after Ronnie left Edgar Winter and wanted to form his own band, did he call you right then?

    BC: Yeah, he had told me that he was coming back, I was watching over his
    family and stuff while he was gone. He left his family in San Francisco while
    he was back on the East Coast, and I was overseeing things, so I knew in
    advance that he was coming back and I wasn't sure of what I was going to
    do, if I was going to stay with Van or not. Then, it's a funny story, Van was
    going to trade bands with Jesse Colin Young for a tour, only he was going to
    do this without asking anybody (laughing).

    SE: Really?

    BC: Yeah, and I had better things to do than to go play with Jesse Colin Young,
    so I told Ronnie, we'll just start a hard rock band.

    SE: That was a good idea.

    BC: Yeah, that turned out to be on the cutting edge of things at that time,
    because most American bands were not necessarily heavy metal yet, you
    know? So yeah, it turned out to be a big runaway horse.

    SE: There wasn't a lot written on you guys in the big major music magazines at that time...

    BC: Well, it was just too short-lived, that was the reason. I was only in the band
    18 months, I only did the first album, then by the second album they had lost
    the touch, and Ronnie and Sam were fighting, and it just didn't happen. The
    second album didn't even pay for itself. So Warner Brothers had had
    enough, they were pretty conservative, we're talking hard rock acoustic here,
    and big changes like that didn't sit well so, ...

    SE: When Ronnie went to check out Denny and Sam, did you go with him to the gigs?

    BC: Oh yeah, Denny was in a local power trio, they played around the Cotati
    area, Sonoma State area there, so we went up and saw them at the old End
    of the Beginning in Cotati, which was a great place, and then Sammy was
    the local James Brown impersonator down at the Warf Rat. We went down
    there and checked him out, and went through the process of trying out some
    other people too.

    SE: Now Ronnie recalls that Sam used Denny on one of his demos?

    BC: Yeah, he had done a demo with part of the guys from the Justice Brothers
    and Denny on drums.

    SE: Denny's band was The Justice Brothers?

    BC: No, that was Sammy's band. Denny's band was Thunderstick.

    SE: That's about right.

    BC: (laughing) Denny and Sammy had really done nothing at all, they were both
    just club band people. In fact, to begin with, I wasn't really too keen on
    Sammy being the singer.

    SE: Really?

    BC: Well, all I saw of him is what I saw, and he did a lot of James Brown stuff
    you know, and sang like James Brown, and that's not what I was into at that
    particular time. But as it turned out, he ended up being a good rock
    singer/songwriter. I mean shit, I did eleven albums with him, so I guess I
    know him about as well as I know anybody on this earth. (laughing)

    SE: Do you remember the first track you worked on for the first album?

    BC: Yeah, oh yeah. First track that we got down was "Rock the Nation." That
    was going to be the single, but it didn't end up being that. We had a bunch
    of out takes too, we probably had about 18 songs that we had put together in
    the course of six months. We wrote the songs, did the album and were out
    on the road within six months.

    SE: You guys had 18 songs?

    BC: Yeah, I think there's 18 originally, we've got "Takin' a Ride," didn't ever make
    the album, the original version of "Space Age Sacrifice," which they
    eventually rehashed and put on the second album, and then there's "Drugs,"
    a song called "Drugs," and uh...oh boy, it's hard for me to even remember.
    But there were a bunch of out takes.

    SE: Sometimes down the road these songs end up being just as good a the stuff that came out.

    BC: Yeah well, indeed, it was a raw period when we were a raw band. So, they
    burn, they blister! There's no question about that.

    SE: I remember that when we all got "Paper Money" and we saw that there had been a line-up change, it was like opening a gift at Christmas and getting
    underwear, you know?

    BC: Yeah, it definitely changes drastically at that point. The band was already
    doomed at that point. Sammy was probably ready to leave before I was. He
    and Ronnie weren't getting along right from the beginning. What happened
    was...here's a funny inside story for you. The original name of the band —
    there were two names — that we were going to vote on, one was to use
    Montrose because at that particular time Edgar Winter had the top ten album
    in the world and we thought it would help have some impact for the band.
    Or, the one that Denny and Sammy voted for was White Dwarf. Sammy was
    heavy into astronomy at the time, so Sam and Denny both voted for the
    name to be White Dwarf, and Ronnie voted for his own name, and I was sort
    of hung between the two, and I sure as heck didn't want it to be White Dwarf,
    so I voted for it to be Montrose. But that's how early it was that Sammy and
    Ronnie were at odds.

    SE: So that was before the first record even?

    BC: Yeah, even before the first record. And then our second manager, Dee
    Anthony, he just cemented things because he and Sammy got along great
    and he would call Sammy the star and he hated Ronnie, so he just drove
    the wedge. I was surprised that I was the first to leave. I thought that
    Sammy would be long gone before that, so it was really quick lived. It's too
    bad, because there was a lot of potential, I mean another fact, another inside
    story for you... When that band disbanded so quickly, Warner Brothers was
    really pissed off at Ted Templeman, so they told Ted Templeman to go out
    and find another band exactly like Montrose. And he did — Van Halen
    (laughing). I mean, if you were around at that time you could see exactly
    what had happened, and they put pressure on him to do that, and he went
    out and found one, and had the success that he's hoped that he would've
    had with Montrose — and it would have if the band had stayed together. But
    you had the big titan egos, you had an ego that Ronnie had, maybe
    deservedly so, and then you had an ego that Sammy had, which was the
    type of ego of the era itself. He'd never done anything in his life, but he's
    going to have a giant ego anyway because he was the front man and the two
    just didn't jive (laughing). It was really too bad.

    SE: You wanted to leave after the first album?

    BC: Well, we started to have big arguments and so it was by mutual
    agreement...I told Ronnie...it was a weird thing, his wife had left him, and the
    very next day he calls me up and he says, “Church, I don't know what to do,
    everything's all screwed up, so I don't know what I'm going to do. I think I'll
    change the band around.” I'll tell you what, I'll save you the trouble.
    (laughing). Yeah, it was too bad, he was under a lot of pressure, and just
    didn't see the future, and Sammy was star-struck and had the energy, and
    he went on to do a bunch of shit, so...

    SE: The only TV show I ever saw you guys on was the "Midnight Special." Were there any other shows you guys appeared on?

    BC: Oh yeah, we did a lot of TV in Europe, we did "Old Grey Whistle Test" twice,
    we did "Live from the Olympia Hall" in Paris, with Black Oak Arkansas
    opening for us (laughs), which was kind of weird. We'd just gotten done with
    a tour of America opening for Black Oak. You turn around and go to Europe
    and they have to open for us. But yeah, we did a bunch of stuff.

    SE: So were the live sets pretty air tight or did you guys free-form at all?

    BC: The Montrose shows were regimented per se, but we had long, drawn-out
    segments designated for everybody to jam. But they were relatively
    controlled. We weren't a party band like J. Geils or one of those bands, not
    quite that loose, but we were on the cutting edge of heavy metal. There
    weren't really any heavy metal American bands at that time.

    SE: I told Ronnie that I'd never heard a band that got so in your face as you
    guys.

    BC: Yeah, not as hot off the track, it was designed specifically to jump off of the
    record. In fact, that was our time limitation on each side of the record was
    based on how many high dB grooves we could get without losing it. So
    "Space Station #5" could have jammed another ten minutes if there had
    been hi fi left to do it with. We also used a bunch of secrets at that time for
    ambient sound. We had some Altec Lansing Capistranos out in the middle
    of one of the rooms, one of the lockers, to get the guitar sound. It was
    interesting how we went about it. And then, of course, Don Lande
    engineered it, and he went on to do beaucoup people. He and Ted were a
    good team at that time, both youngsters. They were young and hungry like
    we were, so it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

    SE: Well, maybe not once in a lifetime, because you guys got together for that track on Sam's record.

    BC: Oh yeah, obviously, they were rolling tape from minute one, but we went
    right in, tuned up and went straight into "Rock Candy," and when they heard
    that, they were glad that they were having that tape rolling. They actually
    released that as a single in Japan, and there were actually some royalties
    reported on it. That's the only reason I knew they'd released it even
    (laughs). And of course there was talk about reforming because that's the
    latest thing. Everybody's getting back together, and it would certainly shake
    Ronnie's career back into gear, and Sammy needs a good shot-in-the-arm
    too, but I doubt that it will ever happen.

    SE: Oh, don't say that!

    BC: Yeah, it's just one of those things, you know. Sammy is just, uh, nobody
    really wants to play with Sammy (laughing), that's the problem. Every time it
    comes down to it, it's either Ronnie or Denny and Sammy not getting along.
    It's amazing.

    SE: Denny played on a few of Sammy's solo albums...

    BC: Uh yep, Denny played on a couple of the early ones I think, and then he
    played on "Marching to Mars." But the only problem was that "Marching to
    Mars" almost damn near cost him his MCA record contract because it
    bombed so bad, and that's probably why we didn't do a 25th anniversary
    reunion show. We'd been planning a 25th reunion show, and it didn't come
    off more than likely because "Marching to Mars" bombed and MCA told Sam
    that he couldn't do anything until he got another album out pronto, and of
    course that last one is so bad that he probably doesn't have a contract right
    now (laughs).

    SE: Well, what a perfect time to talk about a reunion.

    BC: Yeah, we've talked about it a bunch of times. The thing about it is, it always
    ends up in Sammy's lap and he always decides that whatever else he's
    doing is always more important. You never know, it's a natural, I know that
    Ronnie would really like that to happen. Denny would too because he's
    getting older now and he certainly doesn't need to pad his track record, and
    he would benefit greatly from...his peers would appreciate him more if he
    went back and did what actually was the thing that set him up, you know?
    It's one thing to be the drummer in Heart, but then again Heart has two
    drummers. Do you know what I'm getting at?

    SE: Yeah.

    BC: It's just one of those things, you never know, every year everybody talks
    about it so... But like I say, it's a lot easier to adjust my lifestyle to it than it is
    for Sammy to do so, you know, he has a lot more to straighten out before he
    can do another project, and he continues to amaze me in his choice of what
    he's going to do anyway because I went to Arco to see him a couple of
    months back and I'll tell you boy, he looks tired out and his band is really one
    of the worst bands he's ever had, in my opinion.

    SE: Really?

    BC: Yeah, they just don't have it (laughs). He could make more conscious
    choices about what he's doing 'cause he really didn't take out a good band
    with him this time, he really did not. And it makes him look tired, so he's just
    not doing himself any good. He's got to start making some better decisions.
    If he's just say...hey, let's do a.... See, what we originally planned on doing
    is using the Warfield, and doing three or four nights in a row, and in fact Mick
    Brigdon had already committed to taking care of everything through BGP,
    and make it a real classic thing, do a live album, etc. And if he'd commit to
    just doing that, it would spawn a whole bunch of other things. But once
    again, Sammy's gotta come down out of the clouds (laughs).

    SE: Any funny road stories?

    BC: Well, there's millions. You could talk for hours and hours about what went
    down, specifically with Montrose. We were a partying band (laughs).

    SE: Really, you always seemed like you guys were on the straight and narrow to me.

    BC: Well, we burned the midnight oil, that band did. We were all young and
    abrasive, and going for it. It was nonstop for the 18 months we toured. I quit
    the band on the road.

    SE: On the road?

    BC: Yeah (laughing), when my part of it came to an end, we were on the road.

    SE: Did they have to get somebody really quick?

    BC: No, they all went home. The tour just stopped, that was Humble Pie and us.
    Might've been Spooky Tooth on the show too. In fact, I think it was. I can
    remember next door to me Greg Ridley, the bass player, for Humble Pie
    used to beat his wife up every night on the road. And for some reason his
    room was always next to mine, somehow the itinerary just turned out that
    way. So we'd get out and get on the tour bus in the morning and here
    comes Greg and his wife, and his wife has all of her fur coats on and lots
    covering her and shades on, you know, covering everything. It was wild in
    those days. The young rock tours, it was wild (laughs).

    SE: So you were on package tours most of the time?

    BC: Yeah, because we were handled by Dee Anthony and Frank Barcelona, and
    at that time Frank Barcelona pretty much had a monopoly on rock touring, so
    we were always with our own packages. We did Humble Pie, Spooky Tooth
    and us. We did Emerson, Lake and Palmer and us, we did Joe Cocker too,
    he was one of Dee's guys. That was the good old days when he'd have all
    the barrels around to puke in.

    SE: (laughing) Nice.

    BC: He'd take anything, he'd be getting in the limo and there'd be people off the
    street handing him pills to take. Those were weird days from that angle.

    SE: Well, I hope something comes together for a 30th anniversary reunion.

    BC: You never know, I mean, I know that Denny's getting tired of going abroad to
    go play with Whitesnake, you know what I mean? He'd rather play
    domestically and I know Ronnie's dying to do it too, and Sammy really needs
    it, a re-direction could help him. You just never know. That original band
    came in boom! boom! boom! and went out boom! boom! boom! So you
    never know. And so many people are making good money with their
    reunions, I mean, even the Pat Travers Band is back together again. I don't
    even really do a whole lot of rock music anymore, I do mainly country music
    these days, to tell you the truth.

    SE: Really?

    BC: Yeah, people change (laughs).

    SE: But you still have your old chops in the closet in case you need 'em, right?

    BC: Oh yeah, I mean that never goes away.

    SE: I've always noticed that even on the most classic of records there's always a bass flub, but with you I can never find even one...

    BC: (laughs) Actually, in one of the Van Morrison records there's a big blooper in
    there, but Van wanted it in there because Van is very much a one-take artist
    and he relies strictly on soul. So I told him I'd better punch that out of there
    and he goes, nope, I'm leaving it in there. So it's on there and who knows, I
    hear songs from that album everytime I go to see A's games. For example,
    they play "Jackie Wilson Said" every seventh inning so... (laughs) and have
    for 25 years. Pretty weird.
    Yes

  3. #3
    Unchained HailNgirl's Avatar
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    Ronnie Montrose Interview
    March, 2000


    SE: Did you grow up in the Bay Area?
    RM: I was born in San Francisco, but my folks moved to Denver Colorado when I was a couple of years old, and I didn't come back until the late 60s when I became a hippie.


    SE: What brought you back to the Bay Area?

    RM: The whole San Francisco hippie movement. Me and a few of my friends all came out from Denver, like everybody did from across the country...cool place to be.


    SE: The earliest sessions I know of you doing were the Van Morrison records. Were there any earlier stuff then that?

    RM: That was about it. I played with Boz Scaggs. I did a little tour with him and I played with Van Morrison and uh....that was it. I mean I did a few things around the Bay Area. I was in a band called 'Sawbuck' for a little while. That was my first band that was in the Bay Area. It was like a Dave Robinson, Bill Graham you know, record deal thing that we did with him for one time and I had actually left the band when they signed the deal, but I came in and I played on a couple of tracks on their record so...

    SE: So you kind of got your foot in the door right away. That's pretty lucky.

    RM: Yeah.


    SE: What were you listening to growing up?

    RM: Oh, just standard stuff, like radio stuff you know, I mean...what ever was on the radio. I'd listen to the Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, whatever was being played on the radio. Hendrix, Cream..all that kind of stuff. That's why I recut "Telstar" on "The Speed of Sound" album. Because these kind of sounds that got through to me when I was a kid were just amazing, you know?


    SE: Yeah. One thing I've always noticed about the Montrose albums is that you guys did alot of oldies...

    RM: Not really.


    SE: A handful of em, the old rockers.

    RM: Like which ones?


    SE: Like, "Good Rockin Tonight".

    RM: Yeah that was mine...actually I know that was an Elvis tune, but that's my arrangement that I'd gotten off of a P.J. Proby record that I had.


    SE: Really?

    RM: Yeah and I had heard his version which I really liked. I mean, I know Elvis did a great version, but I really liked P.J.'s better and I adapted his arrangement for, as you know, the band cause I thought a really good shuffle like that would be great.


    SE: And the song "Trouble" is another Elvis song that you guys used to do.

    RM: Yeah, but we didn't record that on a record.


    SE: You just did it live?

    RM: Yeah. Once in a while. I think it actually may have shown up on one of those radio bootlegs or whatever, but no we never recorded that one. And once again, I dug the Elvis tune and that's why I did it. All those cover tunes we did I brought to the band. That was just kind of my thing. If I found something great, I'd like to do it. that's why we did "Connection" by The Stones.


    SE: That was cool. How you'd pull out the obscure songs and re-do them.

    RM: That was my thing. I've always listened to music and found things that I really liked and would end up just putting my own slant on them. I'd heard later that someone had spoken to Keith Richards and said in fact, the "Connection" song...he had written it slow, like I arranged it. Cause it as a real fast...almost a country and western song, you know? And he had mentioned it. That he had written that song slow.


    SE: So then you jumped from Van Morrison to the Edgar Winter Group?

    RM: That's right.


    SE: And you were only with them for one album huh?

    RM: Yeah. One record. It was a fun time. Good band.


    SE: Then when you decided to form your own band, how did you go about recruiting the other three members?

    RM: I think the way this happened...now, the band Sawbuck...uh..I had met Bill Church before that and we played together in a couple of bands and in fact, Bill and I were like camping and fishing buddies. He played bass and I played guitar, but we used to just hang out and go fishin' and campin' so my connection to him was already there. And then when I left Edgar and wanted to do my own band, I can't remember who the guitar player was....but somebody gave Sammy my number and told him that I was looking for a singer and Sammy had contacted me and said," I'm the man!" I went to see him play at this club called The Warf Rat in San Francisco and he looked good. He was in a band doing all cover tunes and so that was it. I said, "You're a good singer and he had played me a couple of tunes that he had written and we started figuring out how we could co-write things, and it worked great. And he had mentioned how he had used Denny Carmassi on a demo that he'd done a couple of months before then or whatever, and I went to see Denny play a live gig and just basically cut the deal with him at his break time and said," You've gotta be in this band. This is right for you!" and that was it. That's how we all got together.


    SE: And when you cut that first album, that was done in 1973?

    RM: Yeah.


    SE: And how long did it take you to do that record?

    RM: About a month.


    SE: It almost sounds like it was done in the same day.

    RM: Well, it was done pretty quick let me tell you. Most of the tracks were cut live. There were a few guitar solo overdub kind of things, vocal overdubs....Sam you know, wasn't as experienced as he is now with vocals,...so it took him a while to get the right vocal track down just because he didn't have the chops that he's got now. But other than that, it was there. It was done, it was mixed, and it was over.


    SE: It's just got that constant energy throughout the whole record.

    RM: Uh huh. Two different studios,..."Rock Candy" was cut at Sunset Sound because we knew that Zeppelin had recorded there and we wanted that big Bonham drum sound even though I mean it was gonna sound like Denny, we just wanted that ambient room that they used, and the rest of it was cut in another studio, but I think we might have done one more song there too.


    SE: I'm jumping ahead a little, but when Van Halen did their first record, did you see any similarity in the sound of those two records?

    RM: Oh yeah. Eddie is quoted as saying that he specifically went to Ted Templeman and told him that they loved the Montrose album and that's why they wanted him to produce it. They loved Ted's ears and his production chops and the engineer's ears, Don Lande. And that was it. The rest is history.


    SE: And Bill Church left the band right after that?

    RM: Yeah, actually it's always been a thing with me like uh,....musicians in the band....He didn't leave the band, actually we just wanted to get another player. It was a mutual group decision that we wanted somebody that could handle a little bit more than just bass, so we brought in Alan Fitzgerald.


    SE: For keyboards and bass?

    RM: For keyboards and bass, yeah. Somebody with a little more musical depth. And not that Bill isn't one of the greatest rock player around, cause he is, but at that point all of us were figuring that we needed a little bit more.


    SE: Today, we all kind of hunger for somebody to sound different on the next record....

    RM: Right.


    SE: But everyone has a formula and just makes records like cookie cutter records....

    RM: That's something I never did and still never do...and will never do!


    SE: Every record sounded completely different.

    RM: Yeah. I mean it hasn't been to my...you know, I haven't built up a financial portfolio and bought tons of property because of it. But that doesn't matter. I have to do it that way.


    SE: Why do the same record twice?

    RM: I can't do it.


    SE: So, Ted Templeman is responsible for that big thunder rock sound you guys go on that record?

    RM: Yeah. I mean literally we told him...I mean it's a real simple equation,..we told Ted that we liked Zeppelin and Deep Purple and Ted ,you know, he was in a band called...what was their name uh...


    SE: Uh...Harpers Bizz...

    RM: Harpers Bizzare. They did a recut of Simon and Garfunkel's "Feelin Groovy" and he had just started working as an A&R guy with Warner Bros. and was doin' staff production stuff and he produced Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" which is how I met him. And when I had left Edgar's group I had my options of between going with Warner Brothers and going with Epic Records. The head of Epic flew out to California to my house and wanted me on the label, and Ted flew me down to L.A. and wanted me on their label. And I want with Ted because I had more of a camaraderie with him because I'd worked with him with Van. And we told him what we liked and I'm sure he went out and got Don Lande and I'm sure that he and Done Lande went out and got Zeppelin records and Deep Purple records and said let's get these guys this sound. I mean I have memories of Don Lande crawling around...you've got to remember this is 1973, and there wasn't any such thing as digital reverb. There were live echo chambers...live rooms that had speakers and microphones in them and they were called you know, live rooms. And I have
    memories of Don crawling up in the attic, crawling around in the room and spreading out packing blankets to dampen it just the way he wanted it. So that was the fine tuning of the live reverb room...to dampen the room physically with packing blankets.


    SE: I've gotta say, that record turned out alot heavier than any Zeppelin or Deep Purple record that I've ever heard.

    RM: That would be what we call...debatable, but I'm glad you think so.


    SE: I had never heard anything that sounded that in your face... I mean, I remember that record...when you dropped the needle and hadn't turned your tuner on yet, you could still hear the damn record.

    RM: Yeah, and one of the beautiful things about that era was that....you know, now with CDs, and Dats, and mp3 files and Liquid Audio files...all those new things that I think are great in their own right, but one of the things about that record in that era was that..I mean it was on vinyl.


    SE: Right.

    RM: And the technology was such that, you know... Todd Rundgren was famous, or dare I say infamous for putting out this 25 minute per side record. But the physics were that on a vinyl record, the more time you occupied on one side, the less deep a groove you could cut because by virtue of the turns around the turntable...do ya understand what I'm sayin'?


    SE: Oh, yeah. Just ask Mr. K-Tel.

    RM: There you go! The less turns and the less volume you could get. And I look back and I'm goin...you know, that first record was like, only 35 minutes long! We had like 17 minutes per side. So you know, which allowed Don Lande as a mastering engineer to cut the deepest groove on the record, and the thing was like...literally twice the volume of alot of records out then in vinyl.


    SE:Yeah, it was.

    RM: And that's one of the things we now know to this day ....we realize was a strong point on that, which we didn't know before, you know, we weren't really aware of that. I was sort of interested in the technology, so I was the only guy in the band who would like venture into the cutting room and just check out how they were doing it because I loved mechanics you know, but it was very interesting. But that's why that thing jumped out and was in your face because, think about it...Today you couldn't get away with putting out a record that was 35 minutes long. That's like half of a CD.


    SE: Or an EP.

    RM: Exactly, but back then, that was not a problem and the thing just flew off the shelves. Everybody had to have it.


    SE: And then "Paper Money" was alot more quiet and subdued.

    RM: I have no idea why. I have no recollection as to why that process came about. I know we were having problems with "Paper Money" just conceptually, you know, it's like..I was at that point where it was my second.. I guess personal album, that I wasn't working for somebody else. It was my band. And I just wasn't interested in doing another like, first "Montrose" album. I mean, God bless "AC/DC", they've done the same record for 30 years. And God bless 'em, you know? But it's the same thing and I just couldn't do it. So I was just trying to experiment more with other things.


    SE: When you guys reunited for "Warmth of the Womb" for Sam's album, you pretty much proved that you could put that magic back in the bottle anytime you want to!

    RM: Oh yeah. As soon as we got together..that was the first time that the four of us had been in a room for probably more than twenty years, together playing music. I mean, all I had to do was hear one single kick drum hit from Denny...that was it! His pocket has gotten...like any good master, has gotten so much deeper, so it was incredible! So Denny and I rebonded immediately. It was great. My condition to do the track with Sammy,..and when he called me and asked if I would do it I said, "Well, I'm just finishing up with Sega. I happen to have all my gear up here and I'll be glad to come up and do it with you, but I'm tellin' you right now, you're not touching a guitar."font>


    SE: (laughing)

    RM: And then he added some extra stuff on there after we did the session and I really wish he hadn't done it. I'm serious. He added some little tags on there, some stuff that it's like...I'm goin', you know man....keep it pure! Keep it what it is. Keep it a power trio with a vocal! And I told him while we were recording that I don't want to see him with a guitar. So he came in, and it was actually cut as a live 3 piece with him doing the vocals, and I laid a solo over the top of it. And that's when...as soon as we were playing it....and we actually recorded... I don't know if you're aware of it, but we did just a spontaneous version of "Rock Candy."font>


    SE: I read in some interview that Sam gave, that you guys did do that.

    RM: Yeah. It came out somewhere. I've got a copy of it from somebody. He released it in Japan as the B side to one of his singles.


    SE: You're kidding?!

    RM: No, it was on a CD single in Japan.


    SE: Uh-oh.

    RM: Ah, it doesn't matter. Denny called me from Japan and said..."Hey man, you know what he just did?" (laughs) I said, "Well, you know, hey at least it was a good take." But as soon as we played that and finished "Warmth of the Womb", I realized that there was and is a chemistry with the four of us that is undeniable. I mean it was a plain as day. It literally took us 10 minutes to completely get back into the groove, and to do the thing we did 25 years ago. I mean there was no question about it.


    SE: That's phenomenal.

    RM: Yeah.


    SE: Because most bands after that amount of time need 10 months just to rehearse.

    RM: No, it took us.. I mean literally within a half hour we were there. And the groove was there. The vibe was there, the whole thing. Then it was great for me. It was cathartic because I really didn't want to do it, but I did it because of the fact that it was going to be not only just Sam, but it was going to be Denny and Bill and it was all four of us. It was like seeing your old high school buddies. And what I realized is...I mean, it was a great experience for me to see how the way all of my....you know, the things I've been through, and the paths that I've led in my life, to look at it more objectively and to see what a great band those four members were without having to deal with it on a personal level in that way, but just realizing that the combination of the four of us was pretty high energy and good chemistry.


    SE: So for the duration of Montrose, before you did the Gamma thing, was there any weirdness between you and Sam all those years.

    RM: There was always weirdness. And there's always gonna be weirdness in any band period! It might be just a guitar player/lead singer thing, but I mean I'll guarantee you that Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry have had fist fights.


    SE: Oh Yeah.

    RM: I'll guarantee you that Steve Tyler and Joe Perry have had fist fights.


    SE: Oh yeah.

    RM: I'll guarantee you that Bon Scott and Angus Young have had fist fights, you know what I mean? (laughs) It just is what it is.


    SE: I'll guarantee you that Mick put up his fist and Keith nodded off, yeah.

    RM: That's right, exactly. So, yeah there was weirdness there because if there isn't that means you don't have the kind of egos that are necessary to make that kind of thing happen. I mean, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant, I'm sure that they had serious battles. Our problem was that with us...that it never resulted in fist to cuffs or anything. We just sorta like...because of the kind of the personality I am, I'm not a guy that is interested in that kind of conflict so I didn't take it to that level and neither did Sam. So yes there was always weirdness... I don't know how to explain it...except that it was like...it was personal, and it was there and it was what we did at the time not really knowing how to deal with each other. We just tried to find common ground that we could relate to and that we could all meet upon and we just never really did it.


    SE: The reason I ask that is because I've heard him interviewed on the Howard Stern Show and he said that after the Paris gig you just fired the band to get rid of him.

    RM: But that was a joke. Sam even told me that people go..."What happened to Ronnie?" and he goes "Well, I think he fired everybody and now I think he fired himself" you know? So that's just his schtick. That's just Sam. We've always gone after each other in the press and have done that schtick thing with each other. People used to ask what happened and I said, "We got in a fist fight and I won and he left" you know? That stuff means nothing. Whatever he does, he does for his own thing. It just isn't an issue to me. I didn't fire the band. I fired Sam.


    SE: You did?

    RM: Oh, yeah. From that band on the way back from Europe, yeah. He had just like demonstrated that his only interest was in promoting himself at that point and I wasn't capable of dealing with that. If it were a different time I would've realized that that's the nature of a lead singer and might've been able to be a little bit more tolerant to the fact that it was a total self promotion thing . I just wasn't interested in dealing with that.


    SE: Legend always had it that after Paris, you just fired the band.

    RM: No, no, no. It was on the way home on the plane and I was basically saying..."Look, it's not happening, and I'm gonna do something else."font>


    SE: So, could there ever be a possibility of you guys putting that magic back in the bottle ever again?

    RM: Actually, to tell you the truth I really, really fought for it on the 25th anniversary which was in ë98. I actually lined up Sam, Denny, Bill...we all talked about it after we'd done the song for Sam's record. And I even line up Ted Templeman to produce a live CD. But my problem was that Sam wasn't willing to rehearse the amount of time that it took #1, and #2, he wasn't willing to do a live CD because he was just releasing "Marching To Mars." He said, "Well, I'm with you guys. I'll do a live show for our fans, but I won't do a CD." Because whatever his record company was...which has gone away now,...But what ever it was at the time wasn't into it. And my problem was that...I've received quite a few hundred emails from fans of that record saying..."Man, we would love to see that happen!" I mean hundreds and hundreds of emails. But like I said there is no way that I would do it in a "masturbatory fashion." To just go out and like get a couple thousand fans off at a gig without recording it and documenting something like that, ....Denny was in absolute agreement with me that we would not do a project like that without doing a CD. So since it was sorta political and Sam couldn't do the CD and wasn't interested in that, we all just said no. But I really worked hard for it. A 25th anniversary would've been great you know? But...didn't happen.


    SE: Well, maybe on the 30th...

    RM: Yeah, 27th, 28th, 29th...don't look good, you know?


    SE: Well I hope that does get together at some point.

    RM: I have no thoughts of it whatsoever. The only way that it would ever happen now is if it happened under mutual terms from all of us. That we agree...this is who we are, this is what we wanna do, and this is why we wanna do it. The basic concept would have to be agreed on by all. That this is what we're doin'. The thing about it is like...you know, I mean everyone...I don't have delusions about this, I just know from the email I get, that if we were to ever do it, we would go across the country and everyone would be there. It's the only band left in the United States that hasn't done that kind of thing, you know. Grand Funk did it..The Eagles did it. I mean, granted we weren't multiplatinum sellers, but we had a vibe goin'. We're the only band in the United States who hasn't done that kind of reunion thing that could do it...that people would dig it if it was genuine. My main problem with it is that I wouldn't do it just to go through the motions. I mean, I would want to make sure that if we ever did it - and that was my thing - that the rehearsal time would have to be enough to where we really got back in that deep groove and not like you said in 10 months, just back into what we were doing and write a couple of new tunes and do the whole thing.


    SE: You're a probably the only band left that can get up there and like you said within a matter of minutes...

    RM: It's there.


    SE: Yeah, it's there. Almost everyone else who's come back has had to basically relearn how to play their instruments.

    RM: Yeah.


    SE: I mean, look at Kiss.

    RM: Yeah, absolutely.


    SE: Well you don't have to look at Kiss, but....

    RM: No, I know what you're saying though and that is schtick and the one thing we weren't is anything other than just raw and playing music. You know, we didn't have a gimmick or an image or anything. We were just guys in T-shirts and jeans playin' music. And when we got back together we sounded exactly like us, period.


    SE: Are there any old live tapes that exist?

    RM: No. Not that I know of.


    SE: Just the one's floatin' out on the web?

    RM: Yep, just the ones on the web.






    Check out Ronnie's website @ www.ronnieland.com.



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  4. #4
    Little Dreamer
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    It's been a few years since I posted last.

    I apologize for typing in all lower case years ago.

    A lot has since happened since back then. For one thing, I got an e-mail from drummer David Lauser. He told me that he was in Justice Brothers with Sammy Hagar. He told me who the other members were, too, but I don't remember who they were off the top of my head.

    From what I understand, Denny Carmassi basically replaced David Lauser in Justice Brothers and they changed their name, what to I don't know. Of course, Sammy and Denny later played together in Montrose.

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    Good Enough brownnation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HailNgirl View Post
    BILL CHURCH INTERVIEW
    ...
    BC: Yeah, it's just one of those things, you know. Sammy is just, uh, nobody
    really wants to play with Sammy
    (laughing), that's the problem. Every time it
    comes down to it, it's either Ronnie or Denny and Sammy not getting along.
    It's amazing.

    BC: Uh yep, Denny played on a couple of the early ones I think, and then he
    played on "Marching to Mars." But the only problem was that "Marching to
    Mars" almost damn near cost him his MCA record contract because it
    bombed so bad
    , and that's probably why we didn't do a 25th anniversary
    reunion show. We'd been planning a 25th reunion show, and it didn't come
    off more than likely because "Marching to Mars" bombed and MCA told Sam
    that he couldn't do anything until he got another album out pronto, and of
    course that last one is so bad that he probably doesn't have a contract right
    now
    (laughs)...

    ... But like I say, it's a lot easier to adjust my lifestyle to it than it is
    for Sammy to do so, you know, he has a lot more to straighten out before he
    can do another project, and he continues to amaze me in his choice of what
    he's going to do anyway because I went to Arco to see him a couple of
    months back and I'll tell you boy, he looks tired out and his band is really one
    of the worst bands he's ever had
    , in my opinion.

    SE: Really?

    BC: Yeah, they just don't have it (laughs). He could make more conscious
    choices about what he's doing 'cause he really didn't take out a good band
    with him this time, he really did not. And it makes him look tired, so he's just
    not doing himself any good. He's got to start making some better decisions.
    If he's just say...hey, let's do a.... But once
    again, Sammy's gotta come down out of the clouds (laughs)...
    Ouch! I've never read this before! He tears Sammy up throughout the whole interview. Interesting read.
    Anonymous for fear of fatwa

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk onefootoutthedoor's Avatar
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    Very interesting read. I had no idea Church felt that way about Sam. However, this is better suited in Sam's forum. Moving there.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    I've always wanted to see a Montrose reunion. Man, what a set those guys have the ability to put together! Shame that'll probably never happen at this point.
    "I respect that youre passionate about this but what your saying is complete idiocy..." - MF5150 on McDonald's "preying" on young kids.

    "He was born a human, he's a horse's ass by proxy." - It's Mike on Eddymon.

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    Little Dreamer
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    I've heard some post-Sammy Hagar Montrose.

    I've got Warner Brothers Presents... Montrose!. I've read that the Bob James who sang on it IS NOT the jazz musician Bob James.

    But, I've listened to Montrose with Sammy Hagar a whole lot more.

    I've heard samples of some songs from Jump On It (also with Bob James), but I haven't heard the whole album all the way through.

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    Sinner's Swing! ChargerDave's Avatar
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    Man, Church sure has some scathing comments. Never knew he felt that way about it.
    VAN HALEN
    7-7-15 Ridgefield, WA
    12-1-07 Portland, OR
    10-22-04 Seattle, WA
    10-19-04 Portland, OR
    8-13-04 Oakland, CA
    8-11-04 Sacramento, CA
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    8-6-04 Las Vegas, NV
    7-10-98 Portland, OR
    9-15-95 Portland, OR
    8-18-93 Portland, OR

    Sammy Hagar
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    5-2-08 Lake Tahoe, NV (w/ Michael Anthony)
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    4-29-05 Lake Tahoe, NV (w/ Michael Anthony)
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    10-12-99 Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico
    10-9-99 Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico
    7-10-99 Portland, OR
    8-15-97 Eugene, OR

    David Lee Roth
    8-19-05 Eugene, OR
    6-28-03 Tacoma, WA
    6-17-03 Portland, OR
    6-29-02 Gorge, WA
    9-2-01 Seattle, WA

    Chickenfoot
    6-3-12 Portland, OR

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    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    I have always felt that the Wabos were an average band as well.

    Many here disagree with me, but I don't think they are anything special.

    I doubt Church feels the same way about Chickenfoot.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

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    Atomic Punk Bad to the Bone's Avatar
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    that bill church interview is intersting. I do know that sam has said before that church was very, very, very pissed when sam went to vh. I don't know if he ever got over that after reading that interview. I'm pretty sure sam can get just about anyone to play with him so I don't know where that comes from. I mean really, between all the gigs at the cabo wabo and everyone who's been on stage with sam at one point or another who doesn't want to play with him?

    MTM was released on a subsidiary label of MCA wasn't it? it's either that or the label was bought by MCA after the release. I don't think it was a bomb, it did what it was expected didnt' it? if yoiu were betting the house on MTM selling 5 million copies in 1997 with the music industry what it was then yoiu had a house to give up cause that is a stupid bet. I do think MTM is a great cd and leaving the warmth of the womb is a fantastic song but I totally understand why that cd was not gigantic.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    Marching to Mars is an awesome disc.

    Maybe my favorite Sam disc out of Van Halen, before or after.
    Taylor Swift is nice to look at. Adele can sing.

    Emperor Brett - "I can't believe you guys are analyzing song-by-song Van Halen III? What next, analyzing the script of Stroker Ace looking for some shred of Citizen Kane?"

    David Lee Roth did the impossible. He made Van Halen better. Deal with it!

    Preferred pronouns: he/him/his

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    Marching to Mars is an awesome disc.

    Maybe my favorite Sam disc out of Van Halen, before or after.
    MTM was solid - better than VH III. I am "10-13" man.

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    Interesting interviews, but the bottom line is that Sam made tons of $ while the other guys didn't. So of course they want a reunion, but Sam doesn't. I'm sure the guys in the Red Ball Jets would definitely be into reuniting with Dave, for example. Not gonna happen.
    Sam sold close to a million records with Chickenfoot, he's in another league than those guys. Of course there's gonna be some bitterness.
    Little Dreamer

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    Was the Church interview from 2000 as well?

    Some parts of that interview are so harsh. It’s like he’s trying to decide who sucks worse – the Wabos or Sammy himself. I’m surprised that the encore shows they did in 2005 (?) came together if that’s how he really felt since he had to spend time with the “worst band” and the guy no one wants to play with.

    I do agree with the general notion that Sammy is much better when working with a true band (such as Montrose or VH or CF). Although I enjoy Sam solo stuff, it’s just not the same caliber.

 

 

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