Rock-soul musician Montrose isn’t unlike many other Dallas hidden gem, waiting patiently in the wings of local notoriety for his moment to shine. He, his band and his partner in prose Rhonda Nicole zig zag the city performing everywhere from the Opening Bell (back when it was Standard & Pours) to Miso Café to the Taste of Dallas Festival.
Those appearances earned him a rag-tag cult following. Dallas Mavericks’ Don Nelson is counted as a fan. He recognized Montrose at the LFT Universe Party and rained complements on him about a performance at Brooklyn’s Jazz Café before pulling him into a few photos.
The soulful singer agreed to sit down with DC-9 and give us the inside scoop on fashion shows, pet peeves and his favorite fan.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
Montrose: I’ve always had an interest in music. I guess when I got out of college, I decided to see if I could do it full time.
How do you describe your sound, and from where do you draw inspiration?
Montrose: I don’t know how you’d describe it. I hate descriptions; it’s like describing a color. It just is what it is. I incorporate a lot of different styles in my music, so there’s a little bit of everything in it. I get inspiration from other artists, art in every form, travel, relationships, nature, conversation, anger, women, new experiences, melancholy, movies, women’s fashion magazines…women’s fashion in general really…just as a source of inspiration.
I’m not a fashion connoisseur and couldn’t tell Prada from Jimmy Choo, but I love the creativity that goes into design. I love fashion shows, and the models. When I was recording my first CD in my first home studio, I had models’ photos all over one half of the studio and the other half was musicians and movie posters.
You sometimes perform with a vocalist named Rhonda Nicole. How did you meet?
Montrose: Man, I always cringe and laugh when people ask that. We met at a wake. No, I wasn’t walking around the funeral home passing out business cards. When I was leaving I saw a friend who was sitting with Rhonda and Rhonda’s sister and mother. So she introduced me as a musician and Rhonda’s sister said, “My sister sings...,” and there you go.
What was your most memorable gig?
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Montrose: I did an independent music festival in Florida, and it was a disaster. Everything about that gig that could go wrong, went wrong. Now, the performance was great and we had a good time hanging out in Florida, but everything surrounding that whole festival was bad. I always look at that one as my “lesson learned” gig.
Are there any particular gigs that you just can't stand doing?
Montrose: Not really. My pet peeve is people asking me to do requests. I don’t do that. If you want to hear some Al Green, then you need to take your butt home and download him on iTunes.
Where is your favorite place in Dallas to perform?
Montrose: My favorite gigs are really the outdoor festivals. Big stages. We like big stages.
What are your favorite spoils of being a performer (i.e. swag, hook-ups, groupies)?
Montrose: (Laughs) I don’t know. I get an occasional hook up and some swag from time to time but not that much. Rhonda and Danielle, my drummer, have more groupies than I do.
Do you want to be a big star like Lenny or would you be perfectly content with celeb status of say, Van Hunt?
Montrose: It wouldn’t matter to me. At one point Lenny was at Van Hunt status. I’ve been a Lenny fan since the first album and I remember when he just had a cult following.
Do you sell CDs out of your trunk?
Montrose: Please, I’ve sold a CD to someone in line at the bank (laughs). I always have CDs for sale. You want to buy one now?
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Who is your most memorable/unlikely fan?
Montrose: Oh, that would have to be Rhonda’s grandmother. I love seeing her at a show. She’s 83 years-old and can still hang out with the band.
When do you think you'll record another album?
Montrose: When my muses get together and decide it’s time. -- Quia Querisma