While not exactly a commercial success in their heyday, cult hard rock band Montrose has been hugely influential on a number of artists; their debut album from 1973 took thirteen years to go platinum and in the interim, it seems they have been all but forgotten again. The people at Audio Fidelity Discs are doing their best to rectify that situation as they have given the svelte gold disc treatment to this somewhat neglected classic.
Listening to the album today, I come away amazed that it didn't sell like a typical outing from AC/DC, Kiss or Aerosmith. As cheerfully brainless as any of those bands, but just as much fun, Montrose deserved stadium rock band status. From the first note to the last, the music is as punch drunk energetic as a high school keg party.
"Rock the Nation", "Bad Motor Scooter", "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "One Thing on My Mind" are rock and roll simplicity personified, very American, very loud and brutish. You can't listen to these songs without wanting to crank the volume! "Space Station #5" is a bona fide classic, Ronnie Montrose's spacey introductory guitar effects giving way to the best song Led Zeppelin never wrote. "Rock Candy" is arguably Sammy Hagar's crowning achievement, delivering lyrics such as "'Cos you're rock candy baby/You're hot, sweet and sticky" with just the kind of swagger they deserve. Denny Carmassi's drums cut through this track with unbelievable groove and power.
While Van Halen certainly deserve credit for creating a number of exciting albums, there are several eerie coincidences served up just five years later on that band's legendary debut: Van Halen recruited Montrose's producer, engineer and many elements of the Montrose sound (not to mention their singer in later years!), albeit with far more emphasis on the histrionics and took that formula all the way to the bank.
Audio Fidelity's recent remaster is an absolute must for Montrose fans. It's a vast improvement over the more readily available CD version on Warner Brothers. No, you don't get bonus tracks or fancy packaging. Yes, you'll have to pay a little more for the gold disc. So scoop one up fast before you have to pay top dollar on Ebay for these collectible limited editions.
- Rock the Nation
- Bad Motor Scooter
- Space Station #5
- I Don't Want It
- Good Rockin' Tonight
- Rock Candy
- One Thing on My Mind
- Make it Last