By Brian Ives
Today, the classic version of Santana – guitarist Carlos Santana, keyboardist/singer Gregg Rolie, drummer Michael Carabello, percussionist Michael Shrieve and guitarist Neal Schon – release their first album together since 1971’s Santana III. Fittingly, the album is called Santana IV.
Radio.com spoke briefly with Santana himself after the event about the future of the band, and who else he’d like to collaborate with.
Michael Shrieve said that Santana IV is the first of a trilogy. What’s your vision for the band? Are there two more albums in the works?
Yes, the possibility is there, the enthusiasm is there. We want to see how people respond to this worldwide. This was a worldwide band. You could hear [1970’s] Abraxsas anywhere in the world. We’ll take it, as basketball players say, one game at a time. But I’d love to do two more albums with Neal and Gregg and Michael and Michael.
Are there any plans for this band to go on a full on tour?
We booked three concerts, and we’ll see from there. Gregg plays with Ringo [Starr’s All-Starr Band] and Neal, of course, has Journey.
Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers sings on two songs on the album. Are there any guest vocalists you’d like to have on the next one?
I’d like to do something with Sting and Prince, get them out of their element. And get me out of my element. And do something that is really new for them, and for me. That’s what I always say to anyone: “Let’s do something completely different.” And some people smile and want to do it, and somehow, some people get scared, and ask “Why?”
“Because you already do what you do with everybody else, I want to do something totally different!”
Everything happens for a reason; why was now the right time for this reunion?
Micheal [Carabello] will probably laugh, but I think that it’s because of all the s— that’s happening with the media, with fear. Fear has never been so thick, all over the world, and in the United States. It’s LBJ, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, both of the Bushes and now Donald Trump, it’s the same guy! We are the people who the opposite of that.
Bob Dylan said this to me: “You’re one of the last ones, if not the last ones.” Bob Dylan said that to me! Bob Dylan, who truly represents the real values of the real hippies. I was like, ‘Whoa!” I feel like I got knighted. Some people get knighted and get called “Sir,” you can keep all that! Bob Dylan validated me, by looking me in the eye and saying, “You are one of the last ones who really represents those values.” I’m like, “Damn, this is the guy who wrote ‘Like a Rolling Stone!'”
You have three shows with this lineup; are you recording them?
Yes, we’re going to record everything, we’ve got new songs. I don’t even know why we make a setlist, because we never stick with it. That’s the best part of it. I’m grateful that this particular point in life , Gregg Neal, Michael and Michael trust me to just go that way, and it’s gonna be all right, going that way. That’s where the best music is, when it’s not so programed.
Santana’s classic lineup performs tonight (April 15) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, and tomorrow (April 16) at the PPL Center in Allentown, PA. No other shows are scheduled at press time.