I enjoyed last week’s entry, even thinking that I wouldn’t. Good surprise for me. Still waiting on Jon and Eugene‘s assessment of that one. So, let’s see how I like the selection this week.
#11 – Montrose by Montrose.
I like Sammy Hagar. I like the overplayed “I Can’t Drive
55” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock.” I like a few others of his solo stuff. My favorite stuff from him, though, is his days with Van Halen and that’s my favorite Van Halen. There, I said it. I like Van Hagar better than Van Halen. Do I think the songs are better? Well, I think they’re better written even if they’re not more mass appealing. I like that over the party cock-rock that DLR brought to the table. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Van Lee Roth, too, but enjoyed Sammy better. Anywhat! I got off the rail there.
This was Sammy’s “let’s rip off Robert Plant” phase. Sure, it sounds like Sammy but a lot of it sounds like he’s trying to be Plant. He was young and this was his vocal debut. I get it, he was finding his style. We all do that when we get into music. Heck, I still play like Gene Simmons. And, upon reading more about the album, it turns out that some refer to this album as “America’s answer to Led Zeppelin.” I can see that. It is, at least to me, mainly because of Sammy’s vocals.
Ronnie Montrose was a good guitarist. He had plenty of riffs on the album that were cool and his solos were on point. I feel at times his tone was a bit boxy, but it works for here. It’s not quite Tom Sholtz boxy, though. It was standard Les Paul tone for the time period. Les Paul through a Fender amp, worlds colliding there. I kid. I do like his pull offs and bends.
I did some digging on Denny Carmassi and like the fact that he played on the Heart album. I know it’s poppy cheese but I like it. He’s had a long and storied career that I never knew about (which isn’t surprising) and I enjoyed listening to his works, both post, and during, this production. Heavy beats, heavy playing. You can tell he’s pounding the snot out of the drums. I dig it.
I think my favorite part about the album is Bill Church. His bass lines are flavorful, tasteful and full. He literally fills the recording with his bottom end. Possibly taking up more than is needed. But, I’m a bassist and I don’t complain about those things. He went on to be Sammy’s bassist for most of his solo career. Great, solid bassist right there.
Even with all the components that I like (or mostly like), there’s something about this album that has left me just feeling “blah.” I’m sure I know what at least half of it is: that fast, rollicking “boogie blues rock.” I can’t stand that stuff. Precisely, I don’t like “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (not a Montrose song) and “One Thing on My Mind.” I really want to like “Bad Motor Scooter” and for the most part I do, but something about it, and I cannot put my finger on it, bugs me. I see from where Mötley Crüe got the intro to “Kickstart My Heart,” though. My favorite song on the album is “Rock Candy.” It also was the only song on the album that all four members got writing credit.
I listened to this album about seven times. That was easy to do since the whole thing isn’t but 32 minutes long. I listened over and over trying – nay, hoping – to get a better liking of it. I wanted to like it. I really, really did. And, I didn’t dislike it. That’s the thing. I wasn’t against it and I don’t not like it, I just didn’t like it. Other than this exercise, I probably won’t listen to it again. It’s a decent album that didn’t really grab me the way I wanted it to. That’s a shame.
I can’t wait to read Eugene’s memories of it and if Jon ever catches up, I’d like to read his thoughts on it. So, bring on the next one, Eug.
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“But you’re rock candy baby. Hard, sweet and sticky, yes.” – “Rock Candy” (Carmassi, Church, Hagar, Montrose)