Letters

Letters 09-26-2016

Welcome To 1984 The Democrat Party, the government education complex, private corporations and foundations, the news media and the allpervasive sports and entertainment industry have incrementally repressed the foundational right of We the People to publicly debate open borders, forced immigration, sanctuary cities and the calamitous destruction of innate gender norms...

Grow Up, Kachadurian Apparently Tom Kachadurian has great words; too bad they make little sense. His Sept. 19 editorial highlights his prevalent beliefs that only Hillary and the Dems are engaged in namecalling and polarizing actions. Huh? What rock does he live under up on Old Mission...

Facts MatterThomas Kachadurian’s “In the Basket” opinion deliberately chooses to twist what Clinton said. He chooses to argue that her basket lumped all into the clearly despicable categories of the racist, sexist, homophobic , etc. segments of the alt right...

Turn Off Fox, Kachadurian I read Thomas Kachadurian’s opinion letter in last week’s issue. It seemed this opinion was the product of someone who offered nothing but what anyone could hear 24/7/365 on Fox News; a one-sided slime job that has been done better by Fox than this writer every day of the year...

Let’s Fix This Political Process Enough! We have been embroiled in the current election cycle for…well, over a year, or is it almost two? What is the benefit of this insanity? Exorbitant amounts of money are spent, candidates are under the microscope day and night, the media – now in action 24/7 – focuses on anything and everything anyone does, and then analyzes until the next event, and on it goes...

Can’t Cut Taxes 

We are in a different place today. The slogan, “Making America Great Again” begs the questions, “great for whom?” and “when was it great?” I have claimed my generation has lived in a bubble since WWII, which has offered a prosperity for a majority of the people. The bubble has burst over the last few decades. The jobs which provided a good living for people without a college degree are vanishing. Unions, which looked out for the welfare of employees, have been shrinking. Businesses have sought to produce goods where labor is not expensive...

Wrong About Clinton In response to Thomas Kachadurian’s column, I have to take issue with many of his points. First, his remarks about Ms. Clinton’s statement regarding Trump supporters was misleading. She was referring to a large segment of his supporters, not all. And the sad fact is that her statement was not a “smug notion.” Rather, it was the sad truth, as witnessed by the large turnout of new voters in the primaries and the ugly incidents at so many of his rallies...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Oye Como Va! Gregg Rolie?s musical...
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Oye Como Va! Gregg Rolie?s musical journey

Rick Coates - June 28th, 2010
Oye Como Va! Gregg Rolie’s musical journey
By Rick Coates
Keyboardist and vocalist Gregg Rolie has accomplished something few in the music business have been able to do. It is tough to create one great rock and roll band, yet Rolie cofounded two legendary rock groups, Santana and Journey. He now fronts the Gregg Rolie Band that performs all of the hits from the early Santana days along with originals Rolie has written over the years. They will take the Bayside Entertainment Stage at the National Cherry Festival on July 4.
Carlos Santana and Gregg Rolie co-founded Santana in 1966 during a chance meeting in Palo Alto.
“When I am asked, I like to tell people I met Carlos in a tomato patch,” said Rolie. “It sort of went down that way. A buddy saw Carlos playing at the Fillmore during what was called locals night where Bill Graham invited local bands to come and jam. Well my friend said ‘you got to hear this guy.’ So he drove into San Francisco, found Carlos at a hamburger joint and brought him to the house I was jamming at. Well the music was loud, and there was some pot smoking going on, and the police were called and we ended up hiding in a tomato patch until the police left. So that is how we met.”
When it came down to naming the band, the Santana Blues Band emerged, but when they debuted at the Fillmore the “Blues Band” was dropped to fit the marquee and they became forever known as Santana.
“Actually Carlos didn’t want the band named after him, he saw himself as just a guitar player in a band,” said Rolie.

POWERFUL VOCALS
Because of the name, the assumption was that Carlos Santana was “the band,” and to this day many believe he was the vocalist.
Rolie was actually the lead singer of the group and his powerful vocals and keyboard talents on “Evil Ways,” “Jingo,” “Persuasion,” “Oye Como Va, and “Black Magic Woman,” combined with the guitar wizardry of Carlos Santana lifted the band Santana to superstar status literally overnight.
“Certainly Carlos and I were the driving forces behind the band,” said Rolie. “But what made Santana a great band was we were a melting pot of musical ideas and talent. Everyone in the band brought something to the table. Each member was important to the group’s success. We were not one style, we were blues, rock, jazz and Latin all blended together.”
That “group process” is why it took the band a whole year to record “Black Magic Woman,” after Rolie brought the song to their attention.
“I loved that song the first time I heard Peter Green (founder of Fleetwood Mac) play it,” said Rolie. “I thought it would be great for us, but the way we worked was everyone in the band had to take ownership of every song and it took a year before that happened.” It didn’t take that long for Santana to catch on. Without an album the group took to the stage at Woodstock early on day two of the festival and mesmerized 400,000 fans with a two-song set that featured Rolie’s vocals on the song “Persuasion,” and an extended instrumental “Soul Sacrifice,” that electrified the crowd.
Within weeks of Woodstock, Columbia Records would release the debut album by Santana. The group would also make an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show just two months after Woodstock. Because of Rolie’s role as the group’s lead singer he would receive about 90 percent of the camera time.

MOVING ON
In 1972, Rolie, along with 16-year-old guitar prodigy Neal Schon, left the band.
“When we formed Santana we really didn’t know each other and things happened for us so fast that we didn’t get to know each other. We all got pretty full of ourselves and what we realized back then was the only thing we had in common was music.”
Rolie didn’t stay out of the music business for too long.
“I was pretty much done and headed to Seattle and opened a restaurant with my father,” said Rolie. “Then Neal called me and said let’s start a band and before I knew it we formed Journey.”
Rolie spent 10 years building Journey, recording seven albums and singing lead vocals on the hit songs  “Just the Same Way,” and “Feeling That Way.” In 1982 he left Journey to raise a family. The musical experiences were different but the end result was two bands that rose to the top of the rock music charts.
“Besides the musical styles being different, the difference for me was Santana happened so fast we were barely together and without a record contract and the next thing we are on stage in front of 400,000 people at Woodstock,” said Rolie. “Journey was a nice musical progression, it was a long journey.”
Rolie still keeps in touch with his former band mates.
“Carlos and I stay in touch and we keep in better contact then I do with the guys from Journey,” said Rolie. “We always stayed in contact and I produced several songs for Santana after I left.”
Rolie also reunited with Santana for their 1998 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
“When the original band Santana got back together in 1998 to perform at our induction ceremonies for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the magic was definitely there again,” said Rolie. “We did ‘Black Magic Woman’; we brought Peter Green on stage who made that song famous with Fleetwood Mac. Green was also inducted that night.  I think for me if I would have stayed with Santana for all these years it wouldn’t have worked for the band or me. As I look back on it I have a real appreciation for what we accomplished.”

The Gregg Rolie Band will perform Sunday night at the Bayside Entertainment Stage, part of the National Cherry Festival. Rolie will perform hits from Santana (“No songs from Journey -- the timbales don’t lend themselves to those songs”) along with some originals. He assembled an all-star line-up of musicians featuring Alphonso Johnson, the internationally acclaimed bassist and Chapman stick artist. Johnson was also a member of Santana during the 1980s and is a legend around jazz circles. Wally Minko is the famed keyboardist for Jean Luc Ponty, Tom Jones and Barry Manilow. Ron Wikso has played drums with Foreigner, David Lee Roth and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi and guitarist Kurt Griffey who has taken the stage with such legends as Randy Meisner and Spencer Davis. On timbales is Adrian Areas the son of the original Santana timbale virtuoso Jose “Chepito” Areas.
For a complete lineup of this year’s National Cherry Festival offerings visit www.cherryfestival.org.
 
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