Open Fire is the title track from Ronnie Montrose’s 1978 debut solo album produced by Edgar Winter, his old band mate, you guessed it from the Edgar Winter Band. Remember Edgar’s album They Only Come Out At Night from 1972 with that hit instrumental Frankenstein? Yes Sir, that was Ronnie Montrose on lead guitar with an assist on slide guitar, pedal steel guitar and bass from producer Rick Derringer. That record made Montrose famous and the following year he went on to release the album Montrose which has been cited as America’s answer to Led Zeppelin.
But it never ceases to amaze me when I look on Spotify and see some rock legends only having small amounts of monthly listeners, even though they have multi-platinum records sold. However, a completely unknown new artist in a contemporary format like “lofi” will have tens of millions of monthly listeners, not ever having sold one physical record or getting any traditional radio airplay, void of any hits at all. It is truly staggering how the consumption of music has changed along with the entire music industry, if there is such a thing any longer.
Case in point Ronnie Montrose only has only 3,000 monthly listeners as an artist and as the band Montrose 174k, after having sold millions of records with those classic songs like Bad Motor Scooter featuring a young Sammy Hagar on vocals. Montrose is not the only established rock star that suffers this same fate as I see similar numbers with Jake E Lee (Ozzy), Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions), Steve Morse (Deep Purple), Michael Schenker, and so many others. I guess it must be put into perspective, Spotify really is utilized by the new generations like the Millennials and Zoomers today. My generation of Boomers and Gen Xers tend to listen to our collections – hell we have all those great classic records anyway.
Yes, Old Guys Do Rule!