Norwegian Constitution Day is the national day of Norway and today, on the day, I celebrate by giving you this article on Montrose. This article also shows why Barton and Makowski later ended up together as journalists in the legendary rock magazine “Kerrang!”.
Have a good read.
Paper money on Montrose
By Geoff Barton
“They`re very popular, you know, Montrose,” I insist. “Yes, well… at least you and Makowski like them,” comes the scathing reply from the rest of the SOUNDS staffers.
But really, they`re perhaps the most underrated band on the current Warner Brothers Music Show tour – which has now moved on from Britain and is currently resident in Germany.
Montrose, formed in 1973 by ex-Edgar Winter guitarist Ronnie Montrose, are a clean, simple and high-powered, if unadventurous, rock band with two albums to their credit – `Montrose` and the recently-released and more mature `Paper Money`. You may remember their `Bad Motor Scooter` single which, considering it was a bit raucous and noisy to be ideal BBC playlist material, got a fair number of plays; if you don`t recall it, then keep an ear or two open for `Connection`, their version of the Stones number, which looks set to be their next release.
Montrose have played Britain before – as support on a Quo tour and briefly at the Who affair at Charlton. I talked to their vocalist Sam Hagar the day after the band had played Manchester, on the same bill as Little Feat and Tower Of Power. How was it, Sam?
“Well, it was our first gig in three weeks and it wasn`t really too good,” he drawled. “My mike broke on the third song and that threw me – I wasn`t at all relaxed. But I`m looking forward to playing the Rainbow, I don`t think we`ve had a good show in London yet.”
I saw the band at the aforementioned Charlton concert – they came on at 11.30 am and could only play for 40 minutes – it was all rather disappointing.
“Oh, I remember I was quite hoarse then, I could hardly sing that early in the morning. But I guess it went down well. I was glad to play there, it probably did us more good than harm.”
Sam describes the band`s first album as a “blazer” – and I was surprised to hear that they recorded it with no gigging experience behind them: “Ronnie and I had known each other for just two weeks and we`d written all the songs for `Montrose`. It all came together,” he snaps his fingers, “just like that. Within two months we`d recorded an album, and it had so much spark on it it was unbelievable.”
And the second album, `Paper Money`?
“It`s a really fine effort,” he says, “I`m very pleased with it. It seems to me that the first one had more direction – you put it on, you listened to it, you knew what the band was like – but `Paper Money` is more varied, more mellow. I`d never really sung slow numbers like `Connection` before and it turned out really well.”
After the Warner Brothers` Tour Montrose go back to the States to hopefully play as support with Humble Pie or the Faces – they also want to break Los Angeles and record another album. “But I`m sure we`ll be back in England in the Fall,” Sam says.
Finally, what sort of spirit is developing on this current tour? Perhaps one of friendly competition between the bands – or something a little deeper?
“I haven`t felt any weirdness,” Sam replies, “but then it`s all just started and I don`t really know. It`s going to be something to see who comes out smiling at the end of it all, to see who gets the best response out of the whole thing.”
My paper money is on Montrose.
I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Jeremy Spencer, Kevin Ayers, Alex Harvey, Overend Watts, Little Feat, David Essex, Jeff `Skunk` Baxter (Doobie Brothers), Jess Roden, Joe Walsh, John Entwistle.
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