Watch Santana's Reunited Classic Lineup Rock 'Anywhere You Want to Go': Exclusive Video

Steve Jennings/WireImage
Carlos Santana performs at On The Green 2016 San Francisco Fest at AT&T Park on Sept. 4, 2016 in San Francisco.

Carlos Santana tells Billboard he could see a Desert Trip-like future for the reunited lineup.

Carlos Santana was not at all surprised at how well the reunited 1971-72 lineup of his band clicked this year -- both on this year's Santana IV album and a handful of times on stage, captured on the new Live at the House of Blues, Las Vegas album and DVD/Blu-ray. Check out the exclusive premiere of "Anywhere You Want To Go" below.

"It was like revisiting an old friend in a way that you can close your eyes and you don't see the years that passed by," Santana tells Billboard. "It's the same ocean. It's the same joy, the same respect. It was very natural and normal. People call it organic; I call it symbiotic to play with these musicians because we talk very little and we just point at it and hit it. It was very easy to do. It was like Billie Holiday says -- 'you open the faucet and water pours.'"

Santana IV -- Santana, singer-keyboardist Gregg Rolie, guitarist Neal Schon, drummer Michael Shrieve, percussionist Michael Carabello and with three members of Santana's other Supernatural band -- played just four shows during the spring in support of the Santana IV album. That's not a lot, of course, and there's clearly an appetite for more -- from fans, promoters, and the band itself. Santana says the key is figuring out schedules -- of his primary band, Schon with Journey, Rolie with Ringo Starr and Schrieve with his various projects -- and also getting a financial strategy in place that's acceptable to all band members. 

"We're going to have a meeting next Monday and talk about how we can get to the next level," Santana says. "It's a matter of figuring out how are we going to distribute energy -- not only musically but financially -- and honor everybody." That means settling on terms and mitigating resentments before the group plots another album or more shows.

"We're not what we used to be in 1970," Santana explains. "We used to split everything evenly, like the Grateful Dead and some bands still do. That's not fair anymore because yours truly and Neal and Gregg, we've been on the road taking the name higher and more brighter. It cannot be distributed equally anymore because it would not be fair. We all have to have an understanding of how to honor and respect each other in a way that's what yours is yours and God bless it, and what's mine is mine and God bless it so we can make the music on stage and on a CD, record again. Certain things have to be crystallized for us to take it to the next level so there's no hidden shadows of discord or misperception. I love playing with musicians where there's an understanding spiritually and monetarily -- who we are, where we are and where we're going. It needs to be addressed so we can agree and we look each other in the eye and then we can play music with each other in such a way each person is compensated spiritually, monetarily, psychologically and financially."

Santana did look at this month's Desert Trip festival as a possible home for a future Santana performance, too. And he's confident the group could bring something different to that party. "I was really happy it was successful for everyone but there was only one fidelity, and that was nostalgia," he explains. "None of those bands are playing anything new. Just personally as an individual, I don't want to be stuck like a ghost in some jukebox in another era. Even though we just record this last album, Santana IV, we don't sound like we're trying to sound like something that happened already, you know? We need some forward-thinking."

Santana's Supernatural band is preparing for its next recording project, and Santana plans to work with Rick Rubin on an album tentatively called Searching For Mona Lisa. No collaborations have been set in stone yet, but Santana doesn't hide the fact that the goal is another commercial triumph. 

"I dream big, y'know?" he says. "I reach out to [Rubin] because my intentionality is to get back to the top 10 or No. 1 on the radio, to get back to the Super Bowl and the World Cup. Right now we're working out certain ground and seeds, and I'm very honored, very grateful that [Rubin] has eyes to do this with me. Nothing is predictable or anything like that. I trust my conscious mind will connect me with Rubin and the Holy Ghost and we can do the impossible."


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