"I have peace of mind, because I want only five things out of life and music: beauty, elegance, excellence,
grace and dignity."
"Musicians can bring different things out of people; We can make them angry, sad, horny, happy. I do feel
Santana is a vehicle against cynicism and callousness."
"Shed guilt, anger, doubt, and fear like a snake sheds its old skin.
Wrap yourself in the new skin of beauty, elegance, dignity, and compassion." - Carlos Santana, Toronto 6/29/03
Of course. I remember standing onstage accepting a Grammy from Bob Dylan and Lauryn Hill, and I swear, guys
like Tommy Castro and Otis Rush were going through my mind, and all I could think about was, “Why me?” And then,
all of a sudden, I hear this voice that says, “Because of your heart.” See, my heart wants to wake people up to
their full potential. And to realize that potential in yourself, your heart must dictate to your brain. It should never be
the other way around. If your brain dictates to your heart, then you’re just shucking and jiving. No person or thing
is going to validate you more than your own heart. So which one do you want to hang with?
As much as I love music, it’s what I do, it’s not who I am.
Guitar mags have a valid role. They turn people on to the gear that’s out there, and help them understand
that certain gear sounds a certain way. For example, a Strat is going to sound the way it sounds simply because of its construction.
That hasn’t changed since Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly. And with a certain amp, your tone is going to be a certain
But people should try to go deeper into the instrument, and transcend its actual construction. To do that, you have
to make ugly faces, pucker up your butt, and get to that note. You need to put different levels of brutal freakin’ force
behind your playing. The next thing you know, you start getting into the territory that Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck inhabit.
Let’s face it, Stevie made some pretty ugly faces. And, hopefully, so do I. Anybody who goes for the note, makes that
face. It’s like having an orgasm. I don’t know anybody who looks nice when they have an orgasm. And if you’re
not having an orgasm, then you’re not all the way into it like you’re supposed to be.
What I’m learning more and more is that there are a lot of tones within myself that I can form simply
by looking inward. Sure, Dumbles are incredible amps. But Alexander Dumble himself would tell you that Larry Carlton, Robben
Ford, Eric Johnson, and myself have our own fingerprints with or without a Dumble amplifier. I can tell you every little piece
of gear I’ve ever used, and you’re still not going to sound like me. Your sound as an individual comes from sitting
and playing for one, two, or three hours nonstop. It’s where you get into this zone, and something takes over where
the music truly plays you, and your mind is free of insecurities. The muscle memory and mechanics will handle themselves at
a certain point, and you can get down to the matter of true expression that goes straight to the instrument from your heart.
You have to reach inside yourself. There’s absolutely no substitute for locking yourself away and not coming out until
you have your own sound.
It wasn’t until Prince told me that I was a major influence on his playing that I realized maybe I had
left a mark with my guitar.
Well, I remember Wynton Marsalis saying that I shouldn’t even be on the same stage with Wayne Shorter
because I was playing rock music. But Wayne’s response was beautiful. He said, “Wynton, you could put children
from different parts of the world in the same sandbox, and even though they won’t speak the same language, they’re
still going to play with the same bucket and the same shovel.”
But, first and foremost, I think people like Wayne
and John Lee read my intentions. They saw it in my eyes that I wasn’t there to steal from them or disrespect their music.
I’m there to learn from them and honor the music. And that attitude gave me a first-class ticket with those guys.
“I thought the whole experience was going to be a lot weirder than it actually was,” says Santana.
“But after you play Woodstock on acid, nothing’s a big deal anymore!”
“At this stage of my life, all is one in my eyes,” he says. “I don’t have to be just
the ‘Latin rock guy.’ If I have the chance, I want to be able to play the Grand Ole Opry, or in the middle of
Africa. Look, it’s not like I want to be liked by everybody, but who wouldn’t want to reach as many people’s
hearts as they can?”
“I’m proof that a musician can coexist with everyone from Wayne Shorter and Kirk Hammett to Placido
Domingo and P.O.D.,” exclaims Carlos Santana as he reclines in his San Rafael, California, headquarters. “I’ll
even play with Kenny G., Billy Joel, or Elton John if the song is right.”
"The best kind of music, is when you can make
a listener not feel gravity, you don't feel the bones, you don't feel tired, you don't feel that pressure."
to me, is still like making love man, you know, it has the same principal, you reach a climax and then you start again."
are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but are spiritual beings having a human experience."
music set you free."
"People are not afraid to tell me that they have made love to my music. "
much gossip and sensationalism, its nice to demonstrate to people that dignity and class can do as well."
a time when honey turns into vinegar and vinegar into dust, dust off your feet and move on..."
"Everybody gets wet
when it rains, from the prostitute to the pope. My music strives to communicate that message of unity."
that I love play from the whole body. They play from the calves, the cajoles, everything."
"Let us crystallize our
hearts intentions and lifes purpose to work towards the highest good for all people and our planet."
"The most valuable
possession you can own is an open heart ... the most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace."
that separates us is junk, because when it rains we all get wet, the pope and the prostitutes."
"Todays dreams are
"Through every step in life you find freedom from within, and if your mind should understand,
woman love your man. Because everybody is searching for eternal peace. It is there, all you have to do is share."
most valuable instrument that you can be is an instrument of peace."
(On Divine Light ) "Theyre going to think Im
crazy, but its okay you know people who are crazy have more latitude, I stopped looking at music like cookie cutters a long
"The only thing that works is how I treat you, and you treat me on a day to day basis."
a masterpiece of joy in your own lives."
"Harmony, notes, sheet music? I cant use them, I just play till my fingers
are red and sore."
"Whatever type of music you play, whether it be Mexican folk music or rock and roll, if you are
sincere, what you are projecting has life and joy."
"Speaking on his friend, Jerry Garcia - He was a profound talent
both as a musician and as an artist, and he cannot be replaced. I take solace in the thought that his spirit has gone to join
the likes of Bill Graham, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis and other greats who have left us much too soon..."
reality is my reality. I'm not going to deny it. I'm not going to deny it at all. I stand in front of people. Behold my reality."
"If you just feel, you can create."
"Live up to your convictions. You can walk in grace or you can walk in
fear. You cant have it both ways."
On John Coltrane's Love, Devotion, Surrender - "No one in last century, not Stravinski
or even Miles, elevates consciousness as powerful and as immediate as John Coltrane."
"One day there will be no borders,
no boundaries, no flags, and no countries, and the only passport will be the heart."
"The purpose of music is to compliment
other musicians, not to compete against them."
"I remember Miles Davis. Miles the Enigma, the musical shaman, and
Miles the divine rascal. Miles the artist, the evolved spirit beyond duality, beyond good and evil, and Miles my mentor, Miles
"Its rock and roll man! Its like making love and kissing Gods feet at the same time!"
are in your heart of hearts, you can see beyond appearances."
"There are all kinds of different languages, but there
is only one universal language; the language of music."
"Walls are created by fear, and fear is our only enemy."
you touch someones heart with music, they may not remember the song, but theyll remember the joy. Theres nothing in this world
more contagious than happiness."
"Many of my favorite shamans are rock stars. They probably don't even know they are
shamans but they know how to get to ecstasy and back, and how to take others with them. They may not have a license, but they
know how to drive."
"If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment."
"Music is the vehicle for the
magic of healing."
"The power of love replaces the love of power."
"The mind is the house of questions, but
the heart is the home of answers."
"People are full of possibilities, but like children with Easter eggs, we have
to go find them."
"Like my mother taught me, I'm a child of God first, not a product of anyone or anything."
1974 on his collaboration entitled Illuminations with Alice Coltrane No one to this day, arranges music like that, where it
sounds like a singing ocean, you know, or an ocean of orgasms, you know what I mean, nobody, you know whats really beautiful
about this music, is that it pulls away or to the side gravity and time. It makes time disappear and gravity disappear, like
a Shaman, thats the best kind of music when you can make a listener not feel gravity, you dont feel the bones you dont feel
tired you dont feel that pressure."
"Whether you are playing in the bar, the church, the strip joint, or the Himalayas,
the first duty of music is to complement and enhance life."
"There is no person that love cannot heal, there is no
soul that love cannot save."
"Faith is the substance of things not seen."
"To live is to dream, to die is
to awaken...please dont wake me up."
"Anyone can play fast. While it's great to play flash licks, it's more important
to learn beautiful melodies. Otherwise, you find yourself admired by a bunch of guys and there ain't a woman in sight."
cannot bend or change the real truth."
"The first rule of music is: If you feel it, people are going to feel it. If
you don't feel it, why in the hell should they?"
"Street musicians penetrate deeper than the studio-session musicians
"If you listen to John Coltranes Naima or Dear Lord in an elevator, you know, I guarantee you those people
who listen to that music are not going to shoot anybody for a long time, because it effects you on a molecular level, immediately,
you know, most people carry this anger and fear in them so when you hear a certain music it transforms it and it makes you
feel like what Einstein said, that God doesnt roll the dice with life, theres a supreme purpose to it, and even to a little
more molecular level you start feeling more at ease, and more at peace."
"Dont make friends with depression and frustration,
it will only lead to suicide."
"One positive thought equals a thousand positive vibrations."
a decision, it is not a destiny or an experience. "
"We are surrounded by angels, all around us, spirits dancing dancing
in the flesh."
"I look forward to the day when there are no boundaries, no borders, and no flags."