Great Metal Albums of 1987: Montrose- Mean

There is a problem when a band doesn’t put out an album for eleven years, people tend to forget about them. That seemed to be the case with Montrose. Back in the early 1970s, they had a few good albums but their last album before this 1987 album, “Mean,” was in 1976. As for me, I didn’t hear of Montrose until the early 1980s and only because a Marine buddy was into them. Later on, when Sammy Hagar achieved widespread acclaim in the rock world, I discovered that he was in the band in the early 1970s. However, with Sammy’s solo success and then joining Van Halen, I, like so many others, assumed that Montrose had become extinct. Therefore, the “Mean” album came as a pleasant surprise.

It has been said that “Mean” is more in the glam metal fashion and different from the Montrose of the early to mid 1970s. While that’s probably true, I’ll have to listen to a Montrose album or two for confirmation, all I know is that when listening to “Mean,” I very much like what I hear. One thing Ronnie Montrose hadn’t forgotten to do was wail on a guitar. He does it very well throughout the album. Furthermore, the rest of the band are able to keep up with him.

“Mean” starts off with the best track on the album, “Don’t Damage the Rock.” This is a high energy rocker and Ronnie dominates with his guitar. But Johnny Edwards turns in a great vocal performance as well. Fortunately, even though the opener is my favourite track, the rest of the album doesn’t deteriorate after it. Linking past with present, when I hear “Pass It On,” I can easily imagine Sammy singing on the tune as it fits his style. However, Edwards is his own singer so while the song reeks of Sammy, Johnny delivers a sound vocal performance and Ronnie’s guitar adds flavour to it as well.

While I wouldn’t call it a Ronnie solo album, he is the principal component to the album. His guitar stamps it’s authority with its acoustic intro on “Hard Headed Woman” and some great guitar work on “M for Machine” and “Ready, Willing and Able.” But what I found interesting about the album is that it comes out smoking on the first three songs, levels off a bit on the middle three songs and goes out on a big high on the final three songs. “Man of the Hour” is a great rocking song, which any 80s heavy metal band would have been proud to have recorded. A cool guitar riff heralds in “Flesh and Blood.” This song could out-Kiss KISS. It sounds exactly like what KISS would have done back in the 1970s, except Ronnie plays a blinder of a guitar solo. Maybe they should have taken note here instead of chasing trends. “Stand” is an excellent closer.

Track Listing:

  1. Don’t Damage the Rock
  2. Game of Love
  3. Pass It On
  4. Hard Headed Woman
  5. M is for Machine
  6. Ready, Willing and Able
  7. Man of the Hour
  8. Flesh and Blood
  9. Stand
Ronnie Montrose

Ronnie Montrose- guitars

Johnny Edwards- vocals

Glenn Letsch- bass

James Kottack- drums

Note: The only photos of Montrose I could find on the net are back when Sammy was in the band.

“Mean” would be the only album put out by this line up. The other members would go onto to other bands and create history there while Ronnie would attempt a solo career. This begs the question: If the band had stuck around, could they have gone onto the achieve greatness? This album suggested that they could have.

Next post: Frehley’s Comet

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

12 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Montrose- Mean”

  1. Interesting! I only heard of Montrose recently from Sammy, via an interview of his. These two songs made me smile. Reminded me of Ted Nugent. I asked the hubs and he said Ronnie played with Uriah Heep too. ❤️🎼

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Whipped Owl and commented:
    I haven’t listened to this in decades! I’ll break it out later! And I did not realize James Kottak played drums on this record.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No Sammy, no Montrose!! LOL!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very cool! I just recently got a Hits set of Montrose, so great minds think alike!

    Liked by 1 person

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