Classic Rock Corner

Shape Shifter: A Conversation With Icon of Style Carlos Santana

National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually between September 15t and October 15 as a celebration of the positive cultural impact Hispanic and Latino Americans contribute to this country.

This year, guitarist Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana was honored by Macy's as the Hispanic Heritage Month "Icon of Style", citing his achievements in music and fashion. In his acceptance speech, he commented the following:

I am so honored Macy's has chosen me as Icon of Style for 2012. I believe that personal expression is the essence of the human spirit and for me that has always been through my music and my style.

I am proud to be Latino and I think it comes though in everything that I do. every song, every rhythm, the colors, prints and textures in my designs. Muchas gracias, Macy's!

Rocks Off spoke briefly with Mr. Santana by phone, where we discussed the importance of keeping females happy, a possible collaboration with Adele, and the legalization of marijuana.

Rocks Off: Congratulations on being named Macy's Icon of Style. Why is it important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?

Carlos Santana: It helps us develop a voice. Many of us Latinos here in the United States are invisible... the cooks, landscapers, nannies. There are so many of us now that we need our voice to be heard.

RO: So do you consider yourself as Latino, or Hispanic, or simply Mexican-American?

CS: I am all of the above and none of the above. My father's blood was part Tarahumara Indian and my mother was more Spanish. I was born in Mexico and I am an American citizen.

I don't put too much importance on terminology -- every 25 years they come up with a new label for us anyway. Ultimately I'm just a human being like Bob Marley or John Lennon.

RO: Your new album Shape Shifter was released earlier this year, which is the first for your new label Starfaith Records and your thirty-sixth overall. How does it feel to be so successful and still relevant over such a long career?

CS: Aw man, it's wonderful. I'm very happy for this new album, just as I was happy with what we did with Supernatural. You know it's interesting that I was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, and then I won all of those Grammy Awards two years later.

Just goes to show that it's never too late to achieve your dreams. Anyone can become a genius at something when they concentrate and complete that thing. Anything is possible when you have hope, trust and have faith in your journey.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
When he's not roaming around the city in search of tacos and graffiti, Houston Press contributor Marco both writes and points his camera lens toward the vibrant Houston music scene and beyond.