Gary James' Interview With
Ronnie Montrose

The city that gave us The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe McDonald also gave us Ronnie Montrose. Ronnie has toured and recorded with Van Morrison, Edgar Winter and Boz Scaggs. In 1973, he put together Montrose, which lasted three years and four albums. When Ronnie Montrose gave this interview he had formed a new group, Gamma, with a recording deal on Electra / Asylum Records.

Q - Has the current music business slowdown affected you?

A - No. That's strictly academic and has nothing to do with my creative ability.

Q - What's different about your music this time around?

A - Well, to answer that you'd have to have listened to my solo album, "Open Fire". It was such a turn-around for me. There were no vocals. A lot of instrumental, acoustic music. No one knew how to handle it. So, I feel I have to re-emphasize to people that I sing and do Rock 'n' Roll again.

Q - Your manager Bill Graham is a legend, but what can he really do for his artists?

A - Bill and his people are good in an objective sense. I can use him as a gauge for what's going over. I'm aware of all facets of my career and Bill acts as a liaison for me when I need to accomplish something.

Q - Where do you call home these days?

A - San Francisco. Actually, South of there.

Q - What artists do you listen to?

A - When I'm home I listen to a lot of synthesizer music. Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Tomita.

Q - What did you learn from each of the artist you've worked with?

A - With Van I learned a lot about dynamics and simplicity of music. From Boz Scaggs I learned about the complexity of music. In Edgar's group I learned how to play guitar.

Q - Did you get the "guitar freaks" out in front, watching you?

A - Oh, yeah. You can see the dotted lines going from their eyes to your fingers.

Q - What's next for you?

A - We're rehearsing material for our new "Gamma II" album this month, which we'll be recording in April. Then in June we'll probably hit the road.

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