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Old 03-19-2008, 01:21 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Default Carlos Santana Talks Peter March 2008

Vintage Guitar

Here's an excerpt from Carlos' interview that mentions PG:

Like what Clapton did between the Yardbirds and the Blues Breakers album with John Mayall.

Carlos: When you hear Clapton at that time, and Peter Green, they both sound like B.B. King, the way he was playing between '64 and '67 - like Live At The Regal. That was B.B. supreme. Even B.B. had to go back to it to get to the next level. Otis Rush, Buddy Guy - they all had to go through B.B. at that point. Albert was different, but even Freddie King; he had more raw energy, but it was still B.B. King, to a certain extent. Michael Bloomfield... B.B. King. Peter Green... all B.B. King. I found myself thinking, "Well, there's too many guys in this corral." Fortunately for me, discovering LSD, mescaline, and peyote, I finally could discover Gabor Szabo and Chico Hamilton. Once I discovered Gabor Szabo, Charles Lloyd, Larry Coryell, John McLaughlin, Wes Montgomery, the cat was out of the bag. I wasn't going to be a B.B. King wannabe. Plus, I wasn't interested in becoming another "white blues guitarist." I felt, as grand as that title is, it's one-dimensional. I like multi-dimensional.

When I discovered Gabor Szabo, I realized something that Jimi wasn't doing. After a while, Jimi got congas; Miles got congas; Sly got congas; Chicago got congas; the Rolling Stones got congas and timbales. All that came from Gabor Szabo and Olatunji. Santana went a different way. Because in the beginning it was the Santana Blues Band. Once we got the congas, Marcus Malone and Michael Carabello, and they started turning me on to this Gabor Szabo stuff, I couldn't listen to the blues like I used to. All of a sudden it was more fascinating to use that in this other context, with rhythm. I could tell by the way women, particularly, were attracted. When we played in front of Paul Butterfield or Creedence Clearwater or Steppenwolf or the Who, the audience - especially the women - were like, "Damn!" So instead of the relationship between the melody, which is the woman, and the rhythm, which is masculine, suddenly women were really attracted to the rhythm. By the time I got to the melody on "Jingo," that was it!

Next thing I know, Peter Green is hanging around - literally taking flights from his Fleetwood Mac gigs to see our band and travel with us. There was a period of about a month where everywhere we went, Peter Green was hanging out with us. To me, that was a great validation, because I adore Peter Green. I adore Michael Bloomfield. I adore people who aren't mental people; they're heart people. Every note comes directly from their heart. It gave me... not arrogance, but confidence that we were doing something. Peter Green, I believe, was looking for something different from B.B. King and Elmore James. Because that basically was what they did. Then they saw Santana and the Grateful Dead, and they started doing this Grateful Dead thing, writing more like Jerry Garcia, but also like Santana. But in order to play like that, they had to listen to the records the way I did and really break them down. You can't just add congas. You've got to understand where to put them, and what part to play, what not to play. Otherwise, they sound and feel like stickers on a refrigerator. I never wanted the music to sound like you just stick something on. It has to be part and parcel of your molecular structure. Learn how to integrate, activate, and ignite within your own physical body. Don't just add stickers and think that you can do it; it won't work.

I just recently became aware of the guitarist Javier Batiz. Did you listen to him growing up in Tijuana?

This was in 1958, '59, '60. If you hear B.B. King from '64 to '67 - which is like Peter Green and Michael Bloomfield - and then the most beautiful sound from Freddie King. Not when he sounded thin and frantic. Before the coke, when they were drinking guys and the tone was a little fatter. That was this guy's tone. Being a kid in Tijuana, when I first heard this sound, it was like seeing a whale step out of the ocean, or a flying saucer; I just knew in that moment that I wouldn't do anything else in my life other than just play the guitar - no matter what the guarantees or the consequences. This guy, Javier Batiz, was a combination of B.B. King, Ray Charles, and Little Richard. I mean, he had those three guys down.

So I followed him like a dog, but he wouldn't teach me anything. Every time he'd catch me looking at him, he'd always turn his back to me. Now he claims that I learned everything from him, but he was a really stingy mother. See, the people from the old days, they didn't have tape recorders or cameras. So they guarded what they had. The motto for those people was, "Never give a cripple a crutch to cross the street, because they'll kill you with it." So he was really paranoid that I was going to steal some stuff from him. Which I knew, "Well, you got this from Little Richard, Ray Charles, and B.B. King - I'll just hang out with B.B. King." So I came to San Francisco and hung out with Michael Bloomfield and B.B. I went to the master's masters to learn.

I'm really grateful to God for allowing me to live in this particular time. In 1966, I went to Sigmund Stern Grove to see John Handy, Bola Sete, and Vince Guaraldi. It was incredible. And I saw Bola open up for Paul Butterfield and Charles Lloyd at a matinee at the Fillmore. Imagine that. I was there! From '63, when I came to this country, I was really blessed that people like B.B. and Miles, John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Bill Graham, and Clive Davis just adopted me. The honeymoon has never been over between them and me. I've never had a musician be nasty towards me. People know that I'm honoring them in my music.

On "The Healer," it sounds like you and Hooker are both improvising.

Well, I went to his house on his birthday, and I told him I had a sketch of this thing called "The Healer." I said, "It sounds like the Doors' 'When The Music's Over,' which sounds like you - I know they got the riff from you, man. So we're going to rescue it back." As soon as I played it for him at his house, he made up the lyrics on the spot. I said, "Don't say any more; just save it for the studio."

I told him not to come to the studio until 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I wanted to make sure the sound was right, rehearse the band, set the mood, get the right tempos. I said, "So when you walk in, like the master chef, the stove is hot, the spice is there, you just start cooking." "Okay, I'll do what you say." He came in, and that's how it happened - one take. The only thing he overdubbed was, "Mmm, mmm, mmm." I said, "Would you mind going back in?" "For what?" "Just do a little bit of mmm, mmm, mmm at the very end." "Okay, I'll try it."

It was the same thing recording with my brother, Buddy Guy. I have a deep respect and admiration for Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, B.B., Hubert Sumlin - all of them. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield - we all know who to go to and what to listen to so we can soak ourselves. We don't want to sound like them, but we want to be drenched with the same things that they're drenched with. It's a pure emotional thing that transcends being black or Jewish or white. I mean, Pavarotti sings the blues, man. So does Placido Domingo. So do Japanese people and people in Persia. It's all about the deep feeling inside. Like Miles Davis said, "My mama's good looking, my daddy's rich, I never picked cotton, I never suffered or intend to suffer. But I can play some blues."

Buddy Guy and I talked about how they made up this thing about Robert Johnson getting on his knees at the crossroads. That's just a bunch of baloney. The only way you get to play like that is, first of all, God's gift, and the second is you've got to practice your ass off, day and night, like Jimi Hendrix or Stevie Ray - until playing the guitar is like breathing; you don't think about it. All that talk about selling your soul to the devil - I got news for you: it's Hollywood bull****; it doesn't work. Plus, if you're that hard up to do something like that, that's cheating anyway. The devil cannot make you play divine. Coltrane is divine; Stevie Ray is divine; Jimi Hendrix is divine; Robert Johnson is divine. The devil can only shadow. I don't see shadows around Robert Johnson; I see light.

Last edited by michelej1; 03-19-2008 at 01:25 PM..
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:24 PM
DavidMn DavidMn is offline
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WHat an interesting article! thank you for finding and posting this! I always appreciate any information that can help me appreciate what Peter and the older Fleetwood Mac stuff meant to people.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:38 PM
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sharksfan2000 sharksfan2000 is offline
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Interesting article, but isn't this the same one you posted a couple of months ago??
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:51 PM
michelej1 michelej1 is offline
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Originally Posted by sharksfan2000 View Post
Interesting article, but isn't this the same one you posted a couple of months ago??
I guess it is. I didn't see it and couldn't remember if it had been up already.

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Old 03-20-2008, 06:02 AM
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doodyhead doodyhead is offline
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Default the egg or the hen?

Thanks for posting the interview.

It is great to hear peoples take on the times they lived in.Peter Green and Carlos Santana were roughly the same age in 68 when they met (Peter was 22, carlos 21) Michael Bloomfield was the seasoned pro at 26 having practicly opening the Fillmore. All were devotees of BB King, each with their own unique style. At the time (68)Bloomfield was by far the more advanced player in multiple styles. Peter's sound was far more refined and nuanced by then. It is true that Coming your way and Rattlesnake shake would not have taken the forms they did without the influence of the Santana Band. Peter did start experementing with african drums after leaving in 70. But these were just some of the influences. Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Coltrane all were oozing up from the cracks into these awakening musicians.If you listen to "The Live adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper" recorded ant the Fillmore west in 68 you will hear the rougher younger sound of the evolving Carlos Santana who was called in in an emergency to fill in for Bloomfield on the 3rd night of the concert because Bloomie was subject to insomnia and drug problems by then and was unable to perform. Bill Graham and Bloomie were developing carlos. The first Santana album was released in 69 through Bill Grahams sponsorship. But it is all relative. I think it is a testament that Carlos is still standing and was able to live through that period without crumbling. His signature tone and attack has evolved to such a sublime state.

I will stop rambling now

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Old 03-20-2008, 07:40 PM
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Wouter Vuijk Wouter Vuijk is offline
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Originally Posted by michelej1 View Post
Vintage Guitar

Here's an excerpt from the excerpt from Carlos' interview that mentions PG:

It was the same thing recording with my brother, Buddy Guy. I have a deep respect and admiration for Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, B.B., Hubert Sumlin - all of them. Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Peter Green, Michael Bloomfield - we all know who to go to and what to listen to so we can soak ourselves. We don't want to sound like them, but we want to be drenched with the same things that they're drenched with.
Well, I definitely want to sound like Peter did in 1969!!!
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Old 03-22-2008, 06:06 PM
Ms Moose Ms Moose is offline
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Default Hen house paradox blues

Thanks for posting the interview, Michelej...

Originally Posted by doodyhead View Post

I will stop rambling now

....and to you Doodyhead: DON´T stop rambling, you obviously know a lot about these musicians and their music and it is great that you share it!

When Carlos S. says: "Well, there is too many guys in this cannon..." it sounds like a rationalization, like he sat down as a 21 year old and decided to play different from the "B.B.King people".
The musicians he mentions differ a lot in style, tone and feeling - within the same frame of course.

I bet Carlos would have loved to play like PG too..

Easter Greetings

Ms Moose
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