Cindy Blackman Santana Talks Her New CD and Life With Carlos

Posted February 2019

Cindy Blackman Credit Rob Shanahan croppedPhoto by Rob ShanahanThey say that behind every great man is a great woman. This is literally the case with Carlos Santana in the person of his wife of eight years, Cindy Blackman-Santana. Cindy is one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s touring and studio drummers.

Astute music fans will know Cindy as a phenomenal musician who stands quite well on her own. Having cut her musical teeth on hard-core jazz, she has played with a long list of jazz artists including Sam Rivers, Angela Bofill, Sonny Simmons. 

She’s also quite the rock drummer, first hitting it big as Lenny Kravitz’s drummer and performing on his huge 1993 hit, “Are You Gonna Go My Way”. She’s pretty much played with him ever since.

Her work as a rock drummer invaded her personal life when, in December 2010, she married Carlos Santana. The marriage is rocking along beautifully both personally and musically. 

Hearing that she was going to have an album coming out later this year as well as a new CD with Carlos, I thought it would a great time to chat with her (something I’ve sought to do for three years). 

While preparing for our chat, I learned that she is friends Boomerocity photographic contributor (and personal photographer for Ringo Starr and the go-to shutter bug for DW Drums and Gretsch Drums), Rob Shanahan. 

He had this to say about Cindy: “Cindy is a total class act and incredible drummer. I enjoyed photographing her for the Gretsch Drums campaign, and incredibly grateful to have created such an iconic image of her.” Of which she said, “He’s awesome!”

At the beginning of my chat with Cindy, I congratulated her on her recent wedding anniversary and asked her if it has been anything at all like she envisioned it eight years ago.

“Um, no, it’s not. Ha! Ha! No, it’s not in some ways and in other ways it’s gloriously like I envisioned it. I really like monogamy because I love growing with a person. I’ve always been that way my whole life. I like that. I like seeing the growthEverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited of a person; doing things together; growing with somebody. We certainly done a lot of that. It’s a beautiful thing because we still have our freshness. We still have playfulness and we still have fun. I see some people who are together for a lot less time and sometimes they don’t stay together. Sometimes, things wear out. We still have all of those things so I’m very happy with that.”

I shifted the conversation to the new CDs coming out and asked her to tell me about them.

“Absolutely! I’ll start, first, with Carlos’ and then end up with mine. 

“He’s got a great CD coming out called “Africa Speaks” and it’s with the

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Derek Trucks Talks About Greg Allman, Uncle Butch, and Touring In 2019

Posted January 2019

 

TedeschiTrucksBand DerekSOLO Credit Stuart LevinePhoto by Stuart LevineAs I’ve said before, it’s always a compliment and an honor when an artist agrees to sit with me for an interview more than one time. Such is the case with legendary guitarist, Derek Trucks, of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

For those who may not be familiar with Derek, the short version of his story is: Considered a prodigy at a very young age, he managed to play alongside the great Buddy Guy before he was thirteen. He formed his self-named band when he was fifteen and by the time he was twenty, he had played with such icons as Stephen Stills, Bob Dylan, and Joe Walsh. His late uncle was the legendary Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band which played a bit of a role in Derek becoming a permanent member of that band at the young age of twenty. At the age of 27, he worked with Eric Clapton and his LP, The Road To Escondido. He married the lovely and immensely talented Susan Tedeschi and formed the twelve-piece Tedeschi Trucks Band which will be playing at the Tennessee Theatre on January 22nd and at Chattanooga’s Soldiers and Sailors Auditorium on the 23rd.

It had been right at two years since I last spoke with Trucks so, when I called him at his Florida home, I asked what all has happened since we last spoke.

“Good to talk to you, again! It’s been a long, crazy two years, man! The live record was a great highwater mark for the EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEditedband. I think it’s been a long two years for the planet but personally and as a band there’s been a lot of losses. It’s been a tough go on some levels. I feel that everything’s in a good place as a group, you know? We just finished a new record and just charging down the road, trying to keep the flame lit.”

I asked Derek how have the losses of Gregg and Butch affected his music, performing, and view of life.

“Those guys and Colonel Bruce Hampton – who was, basically, a family member and a mentor in a lot of ways – those things happened all bunched up together. Then, not long after that, we almost lost Kofi (Burbridge), our keyboard player, who I’ve been with for eighteen years. He’s still with us and crushing it but it was touch and go there for a minute.

“That stuff – it certainly changes your outlook on things and, in some ways, it makes you double-down on what you’re doing – especially with Colonel and Butch and Gregg – it makes you want to keep that music going and keep it alive. There’s no time to waste. It makes you think of those things a little differently. There’s a lot of reflection when that stuff happens. It’s been a few years of that in a lot of ways. I think the record we just made is very much in that headspace. But, you gotta carry on. You gotta keep rolling and that’s what we do.”

When we last spoke, one of Susan and Derek’s kids was a teenager. Now, both are so I asked how that is messing with his mind.

“Yeah, two kids in high school – that’s something! They’re really good kids! We’re really fortunate that way. They’ll test you. Ha! Ha! Those and having a twelve piece band – that’ll test ya, too!”

And which is worse?

“It depends on the week, I will say. This week, our kids are

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Robert Berry - Version 3.2

Posted November 2018

robert berry piano 001 cropped“I’m the luckiest guy you’ve never heard of.”

 

That’s how master musician, Robert Berry, describes himself. That may be true when it comes to the bulk of music fans but not for those who get into the nuts and bolts of music and how it’s made.

 

Having established himself as a bit of a child prodigy, musically, Berry established the reputation of being a great musician as well as knowing his way around the recording studio. Today, he’s a well-respected performer, songwriter, and producer.

 

He’s arguably most known as the bassist/vocalist for 3, the Emerson, Lake and Palmer spinoff that consisted of Berry, Carl Palmer and Keith Emerson.

 

Additionally, he was vocalist and guitarist for Ambrosia (from 2000 – 2010) as well as working with Alliance, December People, and the Greg Kihn Band. If being a studio wiz and band member wasn’t enough, Robert has also released five solo projects and has pitched in on an impressive number of tribute albums.

 

It’s about his latest project under the title, “3.2 – The Rules Have Changed”. It’s an album that was

EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEdited to be the follow up to 3’s debut album and would’ve had featured Keith Emerson. However, as music fans know, Keith left us far too soon in March 2016. It’s about 3.2 that I caught up with Berry by phone at his Silicon Valley home recently. 

 

So, first, tell me the background on the album.

“I had a Top Ten hit in 1988. From there, I played with

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Ken Mansfield & The Roof Top Concert

Posted December 2018

 

RoofTopBookCoverBeatles fans the world over – even if they’re just a nominal fan – is aware of the bands iconic performance which became known as the “rooftop concert”.

Only a handful of people were on that roof with the band and very few people have written directly about – and certainly not from an insider’s perspective.

Ken Mansfield – who is no stranger to Boomerocity or Everything Knoxville Magazine – is one of those handful of people on the roof that day. As the U.S. manager for the lad’s record label, Apple, he was on the inside, literally, of what led up to that iconic musical event. While he’s written about it in previous books, his new book, The Roof: The Beatles’ Final Concert, combines the stories and the details of that performance and shares it from a very personal (and not so academic) perspective.

For the second time this year, I called Ken at his California home to chat about “Rooftop”. To help set up the backdrop for what he was about to share, I started by asking which of the Fab Four he was closest to.

“I was probably more with Ringo because he and I had spent the longest time together. I think there was a closeness with George that I didn’t have with the others just because our natures were so similar, and we spent some really close, personal time together. But Ringo and I, we went through everything. We went through being crazy and having to go away and get well. Ha! Ha! Coming back together afterwards. I represented him, again, in the nineties. He moved to L.A. right away, so he was really an L.A. guy after a while. We were a small group that just hung out together; an isolated group of people from either Apple or just in the business and stuff like that.”

When I asked Mansfield if he sees either Ringo or Paul since the nineties, he said:

“The last time I saw him (Ringo), he was playing at an Indian casino at Indianland up in Northern California – in Santa Rosa, actually. It was in Santa Rosa. That’s the last time. It was funny because, as close as we were and as much time as we spent (together) and went through so much together . . . when we got together, we were backstage, ‘How’s Barbara?’ ‘Oh, she’s fine. How you doin’, Ken?’ ‘Well, I’m doing okay.’ Then, pretty soon we’re just looking at each other because we just didn’t have much to talk about because we weren’t involved in each other’s lives anymore. That was the last time I saw him. That was probably four years ago.”

Asking Ken to lay out the premise of “Rooftop”, he shared:

“First of all, the point I’m really making with this book is that I really wanted to separate myself from other people and the EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEditedother books. It’s a personal book. Since Kevin Harrington forty years ago when he wrote that really small book on the roof, I’m the only person right now that’s written a book about being on the roof. I was there. There’s only a few of us that were there. There’s not many of us alive anymore.

“So, it’s a very personal, in-person look at putting together Apple. A personal look at the guys. There’s not a lot of facts and not a lot of detail and

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Steve Lukather and His Gospel

Posted October 2018

 

lukebookFeat crop3It’s Fall and that means one thing: Great tours are on the road and one such tour is Toto and they’re playing East Tennessee this month at Greeneville’s Niswonger Performing Arts Center. 

Toto’s Steve Lukather is a good friend of Boomerocity, so we recently caught up by phone to see what fans can expect from this month’s show and what else has been going on in Luke’s life. One thing is for certain: You never know what you’re going to get when you’re in a conversation with this guy. 

Before we go anything farther, I must warn you. No, scratch that. I’ll let Luke warn you himself (using a quote from his new book, The Gospel According To Luke”.

“Oh, I swear a lot, too. If you are offended by that, stop reading now.”

Luke puts it out there in raw form and I don’t just mean in swear words. He uses . . . how shall I put this?  He uses “colorful” phrases to make his point or to get a reaction.

I used to edit such things out of interviews with people, but I found that I wasn’t presenting the interviewees accurately to their fans. So, what you’ll see here is the chat with Luke, pretty much unfiltered.

Back to the chat with Luke.

Before chatting about his new book and the upcoming tour, I asked Luke what he’s been up to this year.

“I just got back from the Ringo tour. I’ve been taking care of some business. Getting ready to go back out on this (Toto) tour. We did this Weezer track that we’re going to put out here pretty soon that’s pretty funny – pretty cool, actually; and just EverythingKnoxvilleLogoEditedhanging around my kids, man. Being a dad. I did practice for a while, this morning, though. I still do that to stay in the game a little bit, you know? I try to win the race. I realize I gotta be in it, you know?”

“The years kinda meld together, you know? I can’t believe we’re edging towards 2020. Isn’t that a scary concept? The fact that I still have to take a twelve-hour flight to Europe pisses me off. You would think it would’ve gotten better than that.”

The year before, Luke had fallen on his tour bus while in Europe, resulting in persistent pain in one of his shoulders. I asked how the shoulder was doing.

“Ah, my shoulder’s all messed up, man. On one hand, it was a bus accident. On the other hand, I was leaning too hard on the right arm and, then, it finally snapped. The joys of living in twenty-four-hour pain. But I don’t have cancer or anything like that. The rest of me is aces! A little CBD oil and off we go!”

When asked about how it went touring with Ringo this year, Steve chuckled and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know. Don’t ask me stuff like that. Anyway, where were we?

“No, no, no! I was bored. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I don’t do anything illegal! I’m too old to go to jail. If they had their

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