Ronnie Montrose’s last message to fans
Ronnie’s widow reveals guitar icon’s note of gratitude at star-studded tribute concert two months after he shot himself
CORRECTION: The message referred to in this article is taken from the sleeve notes of Ronnie Montrose’s 1999 album Bearings, which was stated before it was read out. We apologise for the inaccuracy and are happy to set the record straight. The article is preserved below for reference.
Ronnie Montrose’s widow has revealed a message he wrote to his fans before committing suicide in March.
The public had at first been allowed to assume the guitarist’s death was related to his prostate cancer battle – but Classic Rock later reported police believed the tragedy was not straightforward. It was subsequently confirmed he’d shot himself in his garage at home in San Mateo, California.
A tribute concert was held at the weekend starring former Montrose bandmate Sammy Hagar alongside Joe Satriani, Neal Schon and Steve Smith of Journey fame, Ricky Phillips of Styx, Mr Big’s Eric Martin, Kiss men Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer, Jimmy DeGrasso of Y&T and many others.
During the show Montrose’s widow Leighsa, who managed her husband, displayed his note, entitled Words Of Musical Expression From Ronnie.
It read: “Music is one of the most powerful and precious gifts we all share.
“The best that any of us can do is try to connect with the core of what it is that drives us to express ourselves through any creative medium we choose, and bring as much of ourselves as we can to that process.
“I have chosen playing guitar and composing music (or have they chosen me?) as my principal means of creative expression. For me, the work of refining that process is always ongoing.
“My wish is that you find all of the pleasure and joy in listening to this music that I found in creating it.
“My deepest gratitude to the incredible gifted and talented musicians who helped me to bring this music to you. Ronnie.”
It’s not been confirmed how Montrose intended his words to be used.
Last month Leighsa said: “Ronnie had a difficult childhood which caused him to have extremely deep and damaging feelings of inadequacy. He never thought he was good enough. Now I see he didn’t want to carry these burdens for very much longer.”
Montrose did not leave a suicide note, but had texted his wife to say: “I’m so sorry. Still have the gun in my hand. I’m going on that voyage. I love you beyond measure.”