Rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose, who formed the band that bore his name and performed with some of rock’s heavy hitters, has died, his booking agent said today.
Montrose died yesterday at his home in Millbrae, California, agent Jim Douglas said. He was 64.
Montrose had been in declining health for some time, battling prostate cancer and “personal demons,” Douglas said.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Montrose got his first break when he was invited to play on Van Morrison’s 1971 album, Tupelo Honey.
Additional appearances on recordings by Herbie Hancock, Boz Scaggs, and the Edgar Winter Group soon followed before he formed his own band, Montrose, in 1973.
In addition to the guitarist, the band consisted of a then-unknown Sammy Hagar on vocals, as well as bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi.
“The guy was such a legendary figure for so many people,” Douglas said. “He influenced so many bands.”
Douglas described Montrose as “one of the founding farmers of rock and roll,” while Montrose’s wife, Leighsa, noted his work ethic.
“He was very hard on himself,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He would play shows where there would be three standing ovations, and all he would talk about on the drive home is what he didn’t do right.”
Montrose was working on releasing his first DVD and was about to embark on a spring tour later this month that would have taken him across the U.S., Douglas said.
Besides his wife, Montrose is survived by a daughter and five grandchildren.
Services are pending.
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Rolling Stone, located at: http://www.rollingstone.com