Santana on Reuniting Classic Lineup, How to Fight Trump
There was also an intense disagreement over the band’s sound. Rolie and Schon wanted to embrace their rock sides. Carlos wanted to experiment with jazz fusion, and he brought a parade of new musicians into the studio to record 1972’s Caravanserai. The results horrified Columbia Records chief Clive Davis. “I remember sitting in his office and just staring into a candle,” says Santana. “Clive said, ‘There’s not a single here within a thousand miles! Why do you have to do this? There’s already Weather Report! There’s already Herbie [Hancock] and Miles [Davis].’ I said, ‘We don’t want to rubber-stamp another “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va.” Santana is thirsty for adventure!'”
Tensions within Santana got so bad that Carlos was essentially tossed out of his own band during one East Coast tour, in 1971. He had given the group an ultimatum: Either certain members lay off the drugs and devote more time to practice, or he was out. The band chose to fly off to tour without him. But after a couple of shows, it became quite clear that a Carlos-free Santana wasn’t going to work. “I think the first one was at Boston Garden, and it went off OK,” says Schon. “But then I got heckled the whole time the second night. And that was the end of that.”
Rolie and Schon left in 1974 to form Journey. Rolie stayed with the new band until 1980, then watched as a new frontman, Steve Perry, helped turn Journey into “Don’t Stop Believin'”-powered stadium killers. Rolie was left in a strange position: He was the original singer in two hugely popular bands, but hardly anyone had ever heard of him. When he told people he sang “Black Magic Woman” and “Evil Ways,” they often didn’t even believe him. “I was never bitter,” he says. “I was always like, ‘Good for you guys. I helped build that.'”
Some of Rolie’s former Santana bandmates suffered worse fates. Bassist David Brown died of liver and kidney failure in 2000. Timbales player Jose “Chepito” Areas was arrested in 1996 for allegedly molesting two children, and wasn’t invited back for the reunion. Percussionist Marcus “The Magnificent” Malone was with Santana at the band’s formation, but months before Woodstock he was caught having sex with another man’s wife. In the ensuing fight, he stabbed the man to death. Malone was convicted of manslaughter and spent three years in San Quentin.
Three years ago, a TV news crew discovered Malone living on the streets of Oakland and orchestrated an on-camera reunion with Santana, who hoped to bring him into the studio. “We got together after our meeting on the street,” Carlos says, “and I could tell he hadn’t played in years. He didn’t have the strength or stamina.”
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