JJ Savage, 19, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Ronnie Montrose Rock the Nation Award.
The late Ronnie Montrose (1947-2012) was an avid and committed believer in mentoring young people about the joys of making music. His wife, Leighsa—along with former Guitar Player Editor in Chief and current Guardians of Guitar founder Michael Molenda—established this award in 2014 to honor Ronnie’s memory and to recognize young men and women with a passion for playing guitar.
Savage, who was born in Albany, New York as Joey Pettinato, has worked hard to develop some unbelievable chops as a guitarist and songwriter, and he has had to smash through two formidable obstacles to achieve success as a player. He has Tourette Syndrome, which made him a target for relentless bullying while attending school. But after picking up a guitar at age 9, he found the worlds of music and guitar playing to be wonderful destinations where he could escape the ridicule of peers and focus on something exciting, joyful, and all his.
As with the 2016 winners of the Rock the Nation Award, former Montrose vocalist Keith St. John has graciously provided a spot in his Ronnie Montrose Remembered concert for JJ to be presented his “Montrose Medal” by Leighsa, and to celebrate by performing a Montrose song with the house band.
Ronnie Montrose Remembered 2019 is set for Friday, January 25 at Anaheim, California’s M3 Live Event Center, and it features guitar stars such as George Lynch, Tracii Guns, Frank Hannon, and others paying tribute to the music of Ronnie Montrose.