Carlos Santana says the reunion of his early 1970s lineup provides a second chance for the band after 45 years apart.
The guitar icon reconnected with lead vocalist and keyboardist Gregg Rolie, guitarist Neal Schon, percussionist Michael Carabello and drummer Michael Shrieve in 2013 to begin work on the recently issued Santana IV.
Led by the track Anywhere You Want To Go, the project brings most of the classic Santana lineup together on record following a performance at their 1998 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and after a series of random encounters that provided Schon with an opportunity to convince Carlos that it was time to regroup.
Schon tells Rolling Stone: “I kept running into Carlos in the Bay Area. I said to him, ‘If you really want to turn everybody’s head around, we should get the original band back together.’”
The guitarist – who joined Santana in 1971 at the age of 17 and left with Rolie to form Journey in 1973 – eventually wore Carlos down.
Carlos explains: “It seemed like everywhere I go, this cat is there. His eyes became very vulnerable, very ego-less.”
The lineup eventually hooked up at Santana’s rehearsal space in Las Vegas for what Schon thought was a meeting about a possible reunion.
Schon recalls: “I arrive and hear the band playing. I said, ‘I thought we were gonna talk.’ He goes, ‘No, man, this is the meeting.’ It was surreal.”
Despite a nasty split in 1972 for a variety of reasons - including an excess of drugs - Santana left the past behind and went on to huge solo success – with a clearer understanding and respect for the work the group had done in its original heyday.
Carlos says: “We were too young to appreciate it the first time around. I was so invested in my agenda. It was my, my, my, my, my, my. Also, nobody was equipped to handle the adulation.
“We can now offer each other 45 years of acquired wisdom. We all have a deeper appreciation for one another, and now we have a second chance.”
The lineup launched Santana IV with a reunion show in Las Vegas in March, marking their first live set in four decades.
After a short series of spring co-headlining dates, Journey and Santana will regroup for an August 28 show at The Forum in Los Angeles, and share a September 4 bill with the Steve Miller Band and The Doobie Brothers at AT&T Park in the band’s hometown of San Francisco.