Carlos confirmed the report, explaining that he invited members of the early Santana lineup to record new material. Neal Schon, Mike Carabello, and Michael Shrieve are on board. Regarding original singer/keyboard player Gregg Rolie, Santana said, “I am pretty sure Greg’s going to do it.”
Radio.com spoke with Rolie last year, and it seems that it’s a safe bet that he’ll be interested. “It’s just a matter of putting it together and going and doing it,” he said. “We’ve talked about it a number of times, but it never comes to fruition. I would do it, I think it’s a great idea, people would love it. It could be great!” He said that when he left the Santana, it wasn’t over personal reasons. After Santana III, the follow-up album, Caravanserai, was less blues-based and more jazzy: “Playing the stuff that was on Caravanserai, I liked the exploration of it, but I didn’t want to make it the mainstay, and that’s what happened.” Rolie added that the focus of the band had become improvisational instrumental jamming by the time he left: “The songs went away. I thought it was a mistake, I didn’t want to do it. It’s not my cup of tea. It was time to go.”
So, he’ll most likely appreciate that Santana’s plan is for the group to continue their African-influenced feel from the first three albums into their new record, dubbing it Santana IV. Carlos said: “It will be like Santana IV because we stopped at Santana III.” Work on new material will start later this year after Carlos finishes up his current tour. Santana is scheduled to tour the South Pacific through the end of March, then head to Las Vegas for a month-long residency at Mandalay Bay and Europe in the late summer. Santana expects to release the album in 2014.
Alex Long, 98.5 WNCX with additional reporting by Brian Ives, Radio.com