Gregg Rolie certainly has a decorated rock ’n’ roll career, which includes founding membership in both Santana and Journey. He just wishes more people knew about it.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people say, ‘I didn’t know you sang all those songs,’ especially Journey fans,” says the 63-year-old keyboardist, a Seattle native who now resides in Austin, Texas. “Some fans don’t even know I was in Santana, which is very strange to me.
“But that’s the way it is. That’s how it was written — that Carlos Santana did all of this ... but it was a group effort. It makes me wonder about history in general, like, what’s the real truth?”
So Rolie, who went on to play in the groups the Storm and, with other Santana alumni, Abraxas Pool, is quietly reminding audiences of his legacy — and also creating new music. He has his own seven-piece band that plays his Santana favorites as well as songs from his solo albums “Rain Dance” and “Roots.” (He also released a live album and DVD in 2009). And Rolie says some new music is on the way, which he says will be “different than what people are used to hearing from me,” though he’s made performing a greater priority in recent years.
“It’s really about going out and playing for people instead of recording so much anymore,” Rolie explains. “They’ve kind of ruined that (music) industry anyway, and I’ve kind of come full circle. I was really enjoying recording — not that I won’t anymore, but it’s not the main focus. That’s become playing live.”
Greg Rolie and Salem Witchcraft perform at 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 6, at Rockin’ on the Riverfront on the Detroit River side of the GM Renaissance Center. Admission is free. Call 313-567-6700 or visit www.andiamoitalia.com/detroit.
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