TEN QUESTIONS WITH RONNIE MONTROSE
By John Wardlaw
JW. With the exception of MEAN you have been doing mostly instrumental albums since Gamma disbanded after Gamma 3. What brought about the current GAMMA 4 project?
RM: Actually, I was scheduled to produce a band in Italy, and wrote a couple of songs for them... I played one of the songs on the phone for Davey and asked if he'd like to do a guest performance on the project... he agreed, and told me he loved the song... the project fell through, and as I had more music and it felt right, I called Denny, Glenn, and of course Davey and suggested that it was time to do a new Gamma project... everyone was into it, and we brought in my friend Ed Roth to handle keyboards.
JW. In 1997 you told me that one of the reasons Gamma disbanded was because of the amount of pressure from management and the label to produce a hit single. What was it like recording this new album?
RM: Beautiful! It really was "all about the hanging out" as much as the music! We had to stop laughing about old times enough to record!
JW. Although Davey and Glenn have worked with you on some of your albums since Gamma disbanded what was it like to have the band back together in the studio after all these years?
RM: One of the funniest things was that after not hanging out for twenty years, it felt like it could have been two weeks! We slipped right back into the groove...
JW. How were the songs for this new Gamma CD written?
Did individuals come in with demos or lyrics or did you create songs by jamming in the studio?
RM: I wrote most of the basic structure for the music, as well as lots of lyrics... Davey and I really tightened everything up at his place before we went in, and I also encouraged everyone to play loose and add their own personalities to the mix...
JW. Do you plan to tour as Gamma?
RM: I have absolutely no idea...
JW. How has the response been to the launching of your website ronnieland.com?
RM: Fantastic! I've received so many emails and encouragement from folks all around the country and the world! I've made quite a few "internet" friends, and wish it had been around years ago!
JW. In 1997 you were just putting together you studio. Has having a home studio helped you in your projects?
RM: Most definitely! I could not have afforded to do the projects I've done without it!
JW. With all of todays new technology are there any innovations in guitars, amps or recording equipment
that you feel are extrordinary?
RM: Really, it's all about tone and feel for me these days, and I've worked that out to accurately get those things across to satisfy me... I happen to arrive there technically different than someone else may...
JW. Some people feel that digital recording is cold and analog is warm.
Do you have any preference to record on digital or analog equipment?
RM: Listen to the new "Steely Dan" CD and tell me it's "cold"... it's digital, and one of the best albums I've heard in a long time... I have problems with the basic "retro-snobbery" mentality sometimes... I like both mediums, and don't have a problem with either, as long as the content is delivered with passion...
JW. I have heard there was some controversy over the release of GAMMA-CONCERT CLASSICS
(as well as other cds on that label, UK included). Can you tell us anything about that?
RM: These guys simply took a "board mix" of a radio broadcast Gamma did from a club in Denver, and claimed to have "mixed and mastered" it... They were so "astute", that they even mislabeled my instrumental version of "Town Without Pity", and called it "Open Fire", without giving the writer credit... We threatened a serious lawsuit, and let it go with a promise from them to cease and desist... Unfortunately, copies keep showing up... very frustrating, indeed... Hopefully, the ones that are around now will be the only ones.
Special thanks to Ronnie Montrose for taking the time to help make this site interesting and informative.