‘Mean’ was a hard rock excursion under the band name Montrose, officially the first album under the ‘Montrose’ name since 1976’s ‘Jump On It’.
Written by: gdmonline
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Ronnie Montrose – guitars * Johnny Edwards – lead vocals * James Kottak – drums * Glenn Letsch – bass
TRACK LISTING: 01 Don’t Damage The Rock * 02 Game Of Love * 03 Pass It On * 04 Hard Headed Woman * 05 M For Machine * 06 Ready Willing And Able * 07 Man of The Hour * 08 Flesh And Blood * 09 Stand
Up to this point, celebrated Bay Area guitarist Ronnie Montrose had a three-album run with Gamma through until 1982. He spent a short period with Pacific Northwest rockers Rail during 1985. He returned to a solo career during the middle part of the 80’s with releases such as ‘Territory’ (1986) and ‘Speed Of Sound’ (1988), which were mostly instrumentals.
Splitting these two albums was a hard rock excursion under the band name Montrose, officially the first album under the ‘Montrose’ name since 1976’s ‘Jump On It’. For ‘Mean’, Ronnie bought in Gamma band-mate Glenn Letsch, and two blokes from Louisville Kentucky, namely Johnny Edwards and James Kottak, who came from the local area band Buster Brown. Both blokes moved out to San Francisco to be part of the action, and their careers kicked on from there, but ultimately started on this LP.
It’s all testosterone fuelled stuff as soon as ‘Don’t Damage The Rock’ kicks in. Not quite matched for tempo, but good to hear Ronnie teeing off on the solo spot. The tempo is held back slightly for ‘Game Of Love’. Listening to this reminded me of John Farnham‘s ‘Pressure Down’, especially the verses. Heels are kicked up for the robust ‘Pass It On’, Edwards sounding particularly good on this one.
‘Hard Headed Woman’ applies a stomping back-beat with a chant-a-long chorus, I don’t think there was a lot of intelligence built into the lyrics though. ‘M For Machine’ changes tack a few times during its course, the chorus takes off on a wind-assisted boost. This is quite good.
‘Ready Willing And Able’ is another track for the bar rousers and beer drinkers, the same could possibly be said for ‘Man Of The Hour’, and gallops along like a King Kobra tune. Getting toward the end now, ‘Flesh And Blood’ is a pumping tune which is nothing out of the ordinary, ‘Stand’ was fairly tame too.
Personally I don’t think there are enough interesting moments onboard to make it an altogether cohesive listen. It might have been Montrose in name, but it had none of the redeeming features which made the 70’s version of the band a classic outfit.
After this, Ronnie went back to his solo career, with two more albums, the aforementioned ‘Speed of Sound’ and 1990’s ‘The Diva Station’. Edwards joined King Kobra for their 1988 ‘III’ album and then on to Foreigner and Royal Jelly during the 90’s, while James Kottak would hook up with the Led Zep inspired Kingdom Come for their breakthrough debut album in 1988, and beyond that a lengthy stint with The Scorpions.
M For Machine