Montrose

Bad Motor Scooter

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One of the many fine songs which helped make Montrose's eponymous debut one of the '70s most influential hard rock albums, "Bad Motor Scooter" was written by singer Sammy Hagar -- the first in a long line of hits for the future solo artist and Van Halen singer. But the band and Warner Bros. staff producer Ted Templeman weren't terribly impressed with what they'd managed to record at the outset. The song was missing a certain something to make it stand out, and according to guitarist Ronnie Montrose, he finally stumbled upon that "something" while messing around in the studio with a slide and fuzz box one day. With his axe in open D tuning, Montrose began improvising what became the song's trademark motorcycle rev-up riff, while Templeman and engineer Don Landee flailed frantically at him to keep going while they scrambled to start the tape rolling. Sure enough, the nearly out-of-control roaring engine effect served not only as the song's intro, but became its most distinctive and recognizable feature, and has often been replicated since. It was such a popular live number, that even after quitting Montrose, Hagar continued to perform "Bad Motor Scooter" live with his solo band, yet it has rarely been covered by other artists -- which is something of a testament to the unique attributes of the original Montrose recording.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Montrose 1973 Warner Bros. 3:43
Rock for the Ages 1997
Various Artists
Hip-O
Harley Davidson Road Songs, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
Capitol 3:44
The Very Best of Montrose 2000 Rhino 3:43
The Essential Red Collection 2004 Hip-O 3:41
Heavy Metal [Rhino Box Set] 2007
Various Artists
Rhino 3:42
100% Rock Guitar Anthems [Mood Media]
Various Artists
Mood Media Entertainment 3:41