’80s hard rock queen Lita Ford has released the following statement regarding the passing of legendary American rock guitarist Ronnie Montrose:
“The day I got the call to jam with Ronnie Montrose for NAMM 2011 [show in Anaheim, California] was a day a dream of mine came true.
“I had loved MONTROSE and Ronnie‘s guitar riffs since I began to play the guitar. Ronnie changed the face of rock forever!!! No one could ever make their guitar sound like a motorcycle… not like Ronnie… not then, and still not even now!
“I was truly honored to have shared the stage with Ronnie that night. He called me his ‘little ray of sunshine’ because it was cold out that night, and when Ronnie told me his fingers were cold before we went on to play, I stuck them between my legs to warm them up. Leighsa, Ronnie‘s wife, laughed, as so did Ronnie and I. From that moment on, we became good friends and bonded as musicians.
“I grew up on that same wonderful music. MONTROSE!!! Ronnie was part of the soundtrack of my life!
“I love you, my dear sweet wonderful Ronnie. Now you and Dio can jam together with Jimi Hendrix.
“Wow!!! I’m missing you so!!!
“God bless Ronnie and your wonderful wife Leighsa. You are an angel.
“Deepest sympathy, Lita Ford.
“R.I.P. You bad motor scooter!!!”
Ronnie Montrose died on Saturday, March 3 after a five-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 64 years old.
Born in Denver, Colorado, Montrose‘s first break when he played Van Morrison‘s classic 1971 album, “Tupelo Honey”. He also appeared on recordings by Boz Scaggs and the EDGAR WINTER GROUP (1972’s “They Only Come Out At Night”) before going solo under the MONTROSE moniker in 1973 (with a very young Sammy Hagar on vocals). The MONTROSE band released two albums, “Montrose” and “Paper Money”, before Hagar left to pursue a solo career. Montrose continued to release albums with the MONTROSE band, but focused his attention mostly on his solo career as well as his other band, GAMMA, which released four albums between 1979 and 2000.
After being diagnosed with cancer in 2007, Montrose took some time off from playing and performing to focus on his health.