In 1969, Michael Shrieve was the youngest performer at the Woodstock Festival, as the drummer for Santana. At just 20 years old, his iconic drum solo during the song “Soul Sacrifice” is still considered one of the best of all time. (see video below) On Sunday, January 6, Shrieve reunited with his old band mate Carlos Santana for an interview, on his own radio show called “Notes from the Field.” They spoke backstage at Experience Music Project here in Seattle, as Carlos was about to receive the 2012 EMP Founder’s Award.
Carlos Santana is a ten-time Grammy Award winner for his rock, Latin and jazz fusion music. Rolling Stone Magazine listed him as number 15 on their list of the Greatest Guitarists of All Time. So the Founders Award is yet another acknowledgment of the influence Santana has had on music history.
The 18-minute conversation was highly spiritual in nature, as Carlos talked about his recent trip to India and the deep soul impact it made on him. Interestingly, when Michael asked Carlos who he might collaborate with musically, Carlos answered—not with names, but with the requirement of honesty and integrity of anyone he would work with.
I asked Michael how long it had been since he had seen Carlos, and he said they have remained friends: “We stay in touch, so it’s not like I hadn’t spoken to him in years or anything like that. I saw him last time Cindy Blackman was in town at Jazz Alley which was less than a year ago.”
Before leaving to receive his Founders Award from EMP, Carlos ended with a heart-warming validation of his relationship with Michael, by saying, “It’s supremely important that I validate my relationship with you…What you brought to me was the gift of expansion. You brought to my house a whole bunch of records, Miles and Coltrane…you are the one who brought the keys...and I want to let you know I really appreciate it, for opening me up to the aerial view of life…where would life be without Miles and Coltrane? You graciously knew I needed to hear that, and I thank you from the center of my heart.”
After leaving Santana in 1974 Michael went on to record with other rock-n-roll stars like George Harrison, The Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend, and also worked with film. (see his website here) He was inducted to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Shrieve’s “Notes from the Field” show began airing November 4, 2012 on Seattle’s internet station, Jet City Stream, every Sunday morning at 9 a.m. He has been interviewing interesting local and national musicians, artists, chefs and writers. (It is recorded, so if that’s too early for you, you can listen to the recording after you’ve had your coffee.) Also read Greg Roth’s article here, about Michael’s recent interview with drummer Neil Peart of Pearl Jam.
Michael also currently has an instrumental band called “Spellbinder”, featuring some of Seattle's best musicians. They are frequent performers at Seattle's The White Rabbit in the Fremont area. You can hear samples of Michael’s music from his 2008 debut album Spellbinder Live at Tost. (Available at Amazon)
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