Carlos Santana has recalled the moment he first tried marijuana.
In a clip from the upcoming documentary Carlos, shared exclusively with UCR, the legendary guitarist explained how it all went down.
As the earliest version of his namesake band was coming together during the mid-’60s in San Francisco, it seemed impossible to escape weed’s allure – especially considering the other bands who were his contemporaries at the time.
“It was the Grateful Dead, Quicksilver [Messenger Service], Country Joe [and the Fish] and the Great Society,” Santana recalled, noting that watching those groups always included a “light show with the colors and the smell of weed and patchouli oil.”
“I’d been around marijuana all my life since I was a child, but I never toked,” the guitarist noted.
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As Santana’s management began assembling with his backing band, the guitarist voiced his concerns.
“You’re building a band around me and I noticed that they smoke weed. And I don’t smoke weed. And every time that they smoke weed, they don’t play the same song twice,” Santana explained. “They play it differently and they forget things. I wish they wouldn’t smoke pot, man. So they could learn the damn song right and play it correctly.”
The managers were shocked. “They looked at me like, ‘Damn,’” Santana recalled. “So they rolled a joint about that big,” he continued, spreading his hands far apart, “and just left it there. And said, ‘We’re gonna go get some lunch. We’ll be right back.’”
Alone with one of the biggest joints he’d ever seen, Santana suddenly felt the drug beckoning to him. He initially resisted the temptation before relenting.
“So I finally went, ‘OK,’” he recalled, miming lighting up the joint and having his mind blown. You can watch the clip below.
Carlos Santana’s Marijuana History
Santana has had a long association with cannabis that goes beyond recreational use. The guitarist has spoken glowingly about the drug’s ability to connect users with a deeper spiritual and creative consciousness. “Cannabis stimulates a muscle. It is called imagination. It helps you see clearly what others don’t see,” he explained to Forbes.
READ MORE: Carlos Santana Year-by-Year Photos
Santana launched a brand of cannabis, Mirayo, in 2019.
“Marijuana is a plant that has been around for a long time,” Santana noted. “It’s a plant that has a lot to offer. It’s not just for getting high. It’s for medicine. It’s for many things.”
‘Carlos’ Documentary Launch
Carlos, the feature-length documentary chronicling Santana’s life, hits theaters on Sept. 29.
Before its official release, the film will screen as part of a limited-run event on Sept. 23, 24 and 27. Fans who attend these screenings – called CARLOS: The Santana Journey Global Premiere – will get to see exclusive introductory content featuring Santana and the film’s director, Rudy Valdez.
Ticketing, locations and further information can be found on the website.
Watch the Trailer for ‘Carlos’
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