By: Ray Hidalgo
When celebrated guitarists Neal Schon and Carlos Santana were sharing studio and stage over the course of two album releases (Santana III and Caravansei) in the early ‘70s, their band, Santana, was laying the foundations for plenty of platinum certifications and top ten spots on the Billboard charts.
Despite his instrumental role in the group’s success, Schon only stayed with the band from 1970 through 1972. It has been around four decades since his departure, but Schon is now indicating that he plans to jam next to Carlos Santana once again. Better late than never, right?
“I’ve reconnected with Carlos Santana now and we have been talking about doing something together again,” Schon told Noise11.com. “We’ve talked a lot on the telephone and I hooked up with him before Christmas. You never know what’s going to happen. Life is full of surprises. It’s very exciting.”
One surprise for a then-15-year-old Schon was an opportunity to play for either Santana or Eric Clapton. At that age, the lack of a driver’s license and some wheels might kill plans to go to the local movie theater for another pedestrian PG-13 popcorn flick. Schon’s case, however, required him to get across San Francisco in time so that he wouldn’t disappoint the ‘God’ of classic rock.
“The next day I came back to the studio to jam with the Santana band and Eric [Clapton] left a message for me and asked me to come over to Berkeley Community Theater,” Schon told Noise11.com. I didn’t have a licence. I didn’t have a car. I talked somebody into driving me over there at the last minute. They got me there 10 minutes before he was to go on.”
Needless to say, Schon joined Santana and turned Clapton’s eventual offer to join Derek and the Dominoes down, ultimately leaving Santana as well. Both bands lost a talented guitarist in Schon, but then again, he ended up co-founding a pretty awesome band with Gregg Rolie. We call them Journey.
For more on this story, head to Noise11.com.