onnie Montrose's solo act started in the autumn of 1973 in California. Montrose promised to become a powerhouse of the heavy metal genre but succeeded only briefly in that goal, featuring himself and a set of musicians over time for both live and session work. Under the original line-up of Sammy Hagar, (vocals), Ronnie Montrose (ex-Van Morrison/ex-Edgar Winter; guitar), Bill Church (ex-Van Morrison; session bass) and Denny Carmassi (drums) he would release what many considered to be one of the best heavy metal debutsin history. With tracks like Space Station No. 5 and Bad Motor Scooter the self-titled Montrose (1974) became a classic even if it only got a UK 43 (but eventually went platinum). It was hard, it was heavy and it was right for its time, it was the album that made his name. Paper Money (1974) was released only 8 months after the debut and as such it was left with many shortcomings, it was further hindered by the tension between Hagar and Montrose that was so thick one could cut it with a knife, leading to Hagar's sacking shortly after. Bob James took over the vacant front man spot with Jim Alciver being added to create a keyboardspot while shortly before Alan Fitzgerald had assumed the bass slot. The resulting 1975 release of Warner Bros. Presents Montrose failed to re-light the fire that had existed on the debut and after one last go with Jump On It in 1976 featuring Randy Jo Hobbs on bass, Montrose called it a day, with Church and Carmassi joining Hagar on his solo material.
With Edgar Winter as guest keyboardist and Alcivar and Fitzgerald returning while Rick Schlosser took over drums, Open Fire would be Ronnie Montrose's new debut in 1978. The album received the cold shoulder due mostly to its style change from old school hard rocking to jazzy instrumental. Seeing his new artistic direction wasn't cutting the mustard he broke the act up again and returned with the harder rocking Gamma in 1979 with the line-up Fitzgerald, Alcovar, himself and Davey Pattison (vocals) and Skip Gallette (drums), but the three resulting albums Gamma 1 (1979),Gamma 2 (1980; featuring Denny Carmassi (drums), Glenn Letsch (bass)) and Gamma 3 (1982; with Michael Froom taking over from Alcivar), although competent, failed to grab the world's attention gaining only top 70 rankings on the US charts.
Recruiting yet one more band featuring Hilary Hanes (bass), Steve Bellino, John Hanes, Andre B. Chgapman (all drums), Pat Freehan, Mitchel Froom, Kevin Monahgan, Doug Morton (all keyboards), Edgar Winter (sax), Barbara Imhoff (harp) and Michael Beese (electric violin) he would re-launch himself as Ronnie Montrose on the Territory album in 1986. It would be the second effort Mean (1987), with Johnny Edwards on vocals, Glen Letsch (bass) and James Kottak (later of Kingdom Come; drums), however, that saw his toughest work in some time and theadditions of synth. on the follow-up Speed Of Sound (1989) with Pat Freehan on synth. and Johnny Bee Bedanjek (vocals; who replaced Edwards who went off to join Foreigner) that saw the guitarist take a further back seat. Diva Station (1990) didn't fare much better with Gary Hall (synth.), Dave Morendo (bass), Steve Bellino and Don Frank (drums). Mutatus Mutandis (1991) saw another line-up change with Craig McFarland (bass) and Michele Graybeal (drums), while Music From Here (1994) with and Mr. Bones (1996) featured Myrion Dove (bass), Billy Johnson(drums),Joe Heinmann (keyboards), Michele Graybeal (percussion), Spencer Nilsen (organ) and Fitz Huston (vocals). All the albums (and line-ups) failed to chart significantly but continued to demonstrate Montrose's restless creative styles.