Santana tribute band takes on a life of its own

Naturally, it was much easier said than done, but after a lot of effort, a fair amount of time, and a pretty substantial financial investment on my part, I was able to form a band that offered a fitting tribute to the legend of Carlos Santana. Of course not only did I have to learn the material, gather the band members, and put together a pretty hefty rehearsal schedule, but I had to market and book the band, as well. I had never done that!

However, I had an advantage. For more than 10 years, I had run a successful Web marketing company. It turned out to be the key to the whole operation. Understanding marketing in general, I was able in fairly short order to get the band booked on a pretty busy schedule, working for summer festivals, fairs, concerts, and casinos.

Fender Strat on stage at Santana Tribute show

It took several years, but I was also able to write and record an entire album worth of material with the band members in the tribute band. That was certainly very satisfying. But there was another effect to the whole process that I had not anticipated: I really began to appreciate and enjoy playing Santana’s music.

I don’t know why this was such a surprise. It’s true that Carlos Santana had never been one of my favorite guitar players; actually, he wasn’t even in the top 10. But when you really dig in and take the time to learn material at that level, you can’t help but appreciate and admire its genius. And I definitely did; and still do.

While I have certainly learned a number of things from playing this music, the biggest lesson I have taken to heart is the power of stripping the complexity away. Not only is Carlos, in many ways, a minimalist as a lead guitar player, but his band’s musical arrangements are brilliant in their simplicity.

After all, who hasn’t heard the famous acronym: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)