Rock Reunion in SF for Guitar Hero

Ronnie Montrose, Van Halen, Journey, Styxx

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. previews the Friday night tribute to Ronnie Montrose, who took his life this spring.

    A 70’s rock reunion of epic proportions is set for Friday night at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco with an all-star lineup to honor a guitar hero who succumbed to his demons this spring.

    NBC Bay Area will take you to the practice warmup on Thursday, so make sure to watch at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

    Van Halen legend Sammy Hagar and an all-star line-up will come together for one night  to honor former bandmate and San Francisco guitar legend Ronnie Montrose.

    Montrose took his own life March 3 after a long battle with alcoholism and depression.

    The San Mateo County Coroner’s office said his blood alcohol content at the time of his death was four times the legal limit. His wife told the San Bruno-based Guitar Player magazine that he sent her several texts that morning and had a difficult childhood that made him think he was never good enough.

    “We savored every moment that we had together. I am so proud of him for the man he was, which extended far beyond his musical abilities,” Leighsa Montrose told the magazine.

    Friday night’s tribute concert sold out in just minutes.

    Those who don’t know Montrose's name would recognize his riffs in songs including Van Morrison’s “Tupulo Honey,” the Edgar Winter Group’s “Free Ride,” and several hits from his band “Montrose” with Hagar, bassist Bill Church and drummer Denny Carmassi.

    Their first self-entitled album in 1973 is considered one of the era’s essential albums.

    Hagar, the surviving members and  guitarist Joe Satriani will play that album during “A Concert for Ronnie Montrose- A Celebration of His Life in Music.” 

    Many of the musicians Montrose played with over the years will also perform, including the original lineup of Gamma and members of Journey, Styx, Kiss & Alice Cooper.

    Carmassi told the Mercury News: "He wrote some of the mightiest riffs in the history of rock 'n' roll. As a guitar player, he was up among the greats. His personal life is his personal life -- and we all have personal lives, which are complex. But he was a great guitar player."

    The concert will be held at 8 p.m. at the Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave. More information can be found at www.goldenvoice.com.