...that discussed his deep-seated, life-long feeling that he was "never good enough," that he'd be "found out" at some point, and while I can intellectualize the psychological roots of that kind of thinking, I reflect on his playing and think "WHAT?"
In the flood of articles following his passing, a quote was reprinted regarding the first Montrose album in which he said something like "We just maximized what we had to mask our shortcomings" and once again thought "WHAT?" When that album was released, my reaction was "This is American Led Zeppelin." I know the personal dymanic of the band made it impossible for them to make it past the second album, but that first album...almost 4 decades later...has never been equalled.
Then I think of my favorite instrumental piece, "Zero G," from "The Speed of Sound." When that album was released, Ronnie did a track-by-tract rundown for Guitar Player magazine. He said that "Zero G" was a painful piece to play because for the entire length of the track, he's working the whammy bar...he never lets it go. You can hear the fact that virtually every note he's playing is nuanced in one degree or another by sustained tension and release on the bar. The track is pretty much Ronnie's equivalent to Carlos Santana's "Europa"...one of those guitar tracks that makes every serious guitar player think "I want to play that" while realizing that the true heart of the performance can never be duplicated.
I don't know what Ronnie thought about his stature in the community of musicians. At any point he could have assembled a band to rival Montrose...hell, Sammy said that the REAL Montrose band was planning a reunion at his Cabo Wabo Cantina and that they were going to play the first album front-to-back. Van Halen came back this year and reclaimed their turf...Ronnie could have done it too.
But we can never understand another human being's demons. We shouldn't even try, because it's impossible.
Musicians and music lovers will keep Ronnie's music alive. It's a shame that the world couldn't sustain the man himself.