In conversation with Carlos Santana


Four decades after Carlos Santana turned “Oye Como Va” into one of the most successful Spanish-language hits inthe history of the Billboard charts, the guitarist is finally releasing a full-on Latin-pop album – ‘Corazón’, which features guest stars Gloria Estefan, Juanes and Pitbull, Rolling Stone reports. This summer, the 66-year-old will hit the road with Rod Stewart and he’ll also play a show at the original site of Woodstock, where Santana performed a transcendent (and mescaline-fueled) set 45 years ago. “I hope we can celebrate the same principles again, which were peace, love and good music,” he says. “And I hope they have good acid this time.”
Q. What was it like re-recording “Oye Como Va” with Pitbull? 
A. It was fantastic. He probably tried 17 different configurations and he didn’t have to do that because all the royalties go to Tito Puente. But he was so sincere and authentic. Everything he does winds up on NBA halftime or the Super Bowl. He’s an event guy. He makes songs sound like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” or the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up”. Pitbull is now the guy that makes that kind of energy in arenas. 
Q. It was great to hear Ziggy Marley’s “Iron Lion Zion”. That’s not one of his father’s better-known songs. 
A. Yes. As you know, I totally identity and equate myself with Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon. I am one of them and we all have the same message to transform fear on this planet into light and love. It’s the same message in “All You Need Is Love”, “One Love” and “Imagine”. It will never change. Those principles from the 1960s to stop the Vietnam War and just bring more harmony and unity into what’s happening with humans.
Q. Why do you think you’ve managed to survive while all those other people you named have passed away?
A. I would probably say god’s grace. I don’t believe in luck or chance of fortune. Some people self-destruct from within by continuing to do the wrong substances or make the wrong choices. If something I do is going to be hurtful to myself or others, I’m going to stop. If I go shop at the Apple store I’m gonna say, “No, I’m going to put that one down and find another one. I’m going to upgrade my software with something more illuminating.”
Q. I get the sense you don’t see yourself as a member of one specific religious tribe. 
A. No. It’s funny you should ask that. Right before you called I was writing this seven qualities of inner-knowing list. My faith would be holy willingness, divine confidence, perfect perception, sacred certainty, spiritual knowing, heavenly awareness, state of grace and illuminating thoughts. I’d rather have that kind of diet than an organized religion.
Q. That makes sense. There’s a lot of bureaucracy and rules in organised religion.
A. Yes, especially rules tainted with fear. “Thou shall fear thy god.” No, no, no, no. God is love. Why shall I fear him? I love him and he loves me. That’s what Bob Marley was talking about. “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.” Mental slavery is fear and lack of self-worth and thinking that you’re a sinner. That’s slavery because it means you are done. You’ve got to set somebody free so they can feel worthy of god’s love. That’s the same message of Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, John Lennon and Michael Jackson.
Q. To switch gears here, I hear you’ve reunited with the original Santana band and have been cutting new material with them for the first time since the group split up in 1972.
A. Yes, I’m happy to tell you that. Everyone is healthy and very powerful. Neal Schon (who founded Journey when he left Santana) got this started. He hunted me down like a guided missile. We called up Gregg Rolie, Michael Shrieve and Michael Carabello. We’re making Santana IV because we stopped at Santana III. We had three days in the studio and we put a lot of music together. I’m happy to tell you it was just like Led Zeppelin, the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix. There’s a chemistry with us. These are the people who were playing with me at Woodstock. It’s amazing to light that kind of dimension.
Q. Are you going to tour with them next year?
A. Yes, I believe so. I really look forward to that. It’s been so much fun to be back in the room with them. It’s like if you stand back near a woods you can really see the trees emanating oxygen. It’s like that being in the studio with this band. You can hear the music coming out just looking at them. It’s very inspiring. 

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