Spirit Talk with Carlos Santana

My dad taught me that there's a way to connect sound [and] resonant vibration immediately to the listener's heart. For me, it's just fun discovering how to activate myself and activate them to a spiritual joy.

-Carlos Santana


If you listen to real God, God is about compassion and mercy and unity and harmony. There is not future without forgiveness. That's the first thing humans of all religions need to learn. I know that if we would send planes where there's conflict, with brothers and sisters, if we would send planes instead of bombs, if we would send blankets and food and soap and medicine and kindness and kind eyes, I know for sure that it would work way faster. Like Doctors With No Borders. Fear begets fear. For some reason our government is invested in making every day Halloween without candy. And so I don't buy it. I don't buy the fear thing. I know that people who believe in Allah or Krishna or Buddha or Jesus, they have the same needs that you and I have, which is a need to trust, which is unity with God. When you don't trust and you have fear you're not in union with your own God. If you take one thing from this interview, just one thing alone, this is it: There's only two energies in this planet, love and fear.

Carlos Santana by Jay Blakesberg
We're afraid that somebody will get nuclear power or nuclear weapons, yet we have all of them. We have enough to destroy everything, but it's okay that we have them, but we don't want them to have them. So there's a certain kind of hypocrisy about the so-called Christian Fox Network stations and Republicans, people who use God to achieve power. The ultimate result of fear is control. When you're not in fear you know that it's pure arrogance to think that one bomb can stop time, like Bob Marley said ["Have no fear for atomic energy 'Cause none of them can stop the time" - Redemption Song]. There's a legion of angels who, when they get an order from God, Mother Nature lets off a tsunami wave or earthquake or volcano. And Mother Nature, it's not that she wants revenge, it's just that she squirms. And when she squirms she's not conscious of how many people die or whatever. To Mother Nature it's just self-protection. My perception about where we are today is that this is the time where you, with your interviews and what you ask, you get to help ignite and activate light back into the brains of people and then you rearrange the molecular structure. That's what Derek Trucks is doing. That's what we do because we both come from Coltrane. I know he listened to Coltrane a lot, and Coltrane's main function with his music is to awaken humans to a higher consciousness. We tried that with the hippies, and he [Coltrane] was one of the first ones, like The Beatles, whose ultimate goal was to uplift, transform, and illuminate the consciousness of people, all people, because of what was happening in Vietnam. Some hippies sold out. They came to San Francisco with fake mustaches just to get free drugs and sex and free food. But there's real hippies still - American Indians, the first people of the land, and there're still musicians who are deeply invested in utilizing their music.

Sort of taking that idea to the stage, you referenced Clapton and Trey Anastasio, and also Coltrane, who I never had the opportunity to see. I recently was listening to and saw the footage of "Soul Sacrifice" from Woodstock. There's a clear sense that there's something larger happening, that you're not even playing the music but that something is going through you. I get that same sense when I watch Clapton when he's really doing it, and Trey as well. For somebody like myself, that's what draws me in. Those are the moments that keep me coming back. Because it doesn't always happen, it's not every night even, is there a way as the musician that you can sort of make this easier, allow this to happen? Is there something that you can do on stage that allows this greater power to come through you?

Carlos Santana
Yes. Thank you for asking that. I believe that doctors wash their hands with anesthesiology so the germs in your hands don't go inside the body that they're operating on. So, as I've said before, music goes deeper than the knife. So, we meditate and pray fifteen minutes before we go onstage, as a group, those ones who are receptive. It's not mandatory. I notice that after we do it the music becomes more than the notes or chord changes or melodies. It becomes, I guess the best way to describe it is a wave of light that assaults the place, and from the first note people get up without [having to say], "Hey, how you doing? Get up," or "Hey, everybody say yeah." You hit one note and everybody gets off their seats, they start looking at each other and then they got chills. You see women crying and laughing and dancing, and you go into this kind of holy revival. And they're not faking it, man. They're possessed because you're possessed. I'm very grateful to God that I have seen this many, many times, that the band goes into this from the first note and then we go, okay, this is going to be good. That's the barometer, and we know that a two-hour or three-hour concert is going to feel like fifteen seconds, because the first thing that happens when something spiritual assaults the place [is] time disappears, gravity disappears, issues disappear. There's a t-shirt that says, "We don't have any problems. We just think we do." The problem starts with the mind. If you take an aerial view of this planet, there's actually a lot of beauty, a lot of promise, a lot of possibilities. You see the innocence and the purity of children as a whole in the planet. Once we land and we're in New York in the traffic jam, you see the other stuff. So for me, music is like that. You take an aerial view of what you're playing, and you can be in it but not of it. It's kind of like going to Los Angeles but you're not affected by all the plastic stuff.

Thank you for asking these questions. These are the questions that I ask Desmond Tutu, Mandela, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King. These are the questions that, for me, make a difference. You can do something from your heart, make a difference in the world and still be profitable. Just give it back because you can't take it with you.

Continue reading for more with Carlos Santana...

Take full advantage of all JamBase has to offer by signing up for an account!

You'll receive

show alerts

when your favorite artists announce shows, be eligible to enter contests for

free tickets

, gain the ability to

share your personalized live music calendar

and much more. Join JamBase!