Carlos Santana is a true pioneer. When he burst on the scene with his namesake band in the late 1960s, his fusion of rock and Latin American Jazz was a revelation. And, his continued commitment to the art of great guitar playing has inspired generation after generation of players.
With the recent news that Carlos Santana has almost finished recording a new album (featuring guest spots from Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, Living Colour frontman Corey Glover and Steve Winwood), we thought that it was prime time to run through some of the legendary guitarist’s most profound and inspirational statements over the years. As always, if you’re looking for some six-string motivation, feel free to print these out and stick them up around your practice space.
On other guitar players:
“No one's better than me. I'm not better than anyone. Whether it's Eric Clapton or BB King we look straight at each other. And that keeps it real.”
“You can take things that Jimi Hendrix took, from Curtis Mayfield or from Buddy Guy for example, because we are all children of everything, even Picasso. But if you want to stand out, you have to learn to crystallize your existence and create your own fingerprints.”
On the importance of melody:
“There's a melody in everything. And once you find the melody, then you connect immediately with the heart. Because sometimes English or Spanish, Swahili or any language gets in the way. But nothing penetrates the heart faster than the melody.”
“Ever since I was a child I've always been very attracted to melodies. Whether I hear Jeff Beck, a choir, an ocean or the wind, there's always a melody in there.”
“I have been accused of being a very simplistic, very lyrical player, and that's okay. That just comes from the blues, which is my background. But every day you wake up and transcend. You can't ever rest on your laurels.”
“I think of music as a menu. I can't eat the same thing every day.”
On the power of music:
“I realized that it's all really one, that John Lennon was correct. We utilize the music to bring down the walls of Berlin, to bring up the force of compassion and forgiveness and kindness between Palestines, Hebrews. Bring down the walls here in San Diego, Tijuana, Cuba.”
“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”
What’s your favourite Carlos Santana moment? Have you ever seen the great man live? And how did he influence your approach to guitar playing? As always, share your stories in the comments section.