A chance meeting with a television reporter has led Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Carlos Santana to reunite with one of his original band members to fell into homelessness on the streets of Oakland.
KRON-TV reporter Stanley Roberts
said he was skeptical when Marcus Malone told him he played with Santana before going to prison and losing contact with him. Roberts was doing an unrelated story on illegal dumping in Oakland when he ran across Malone digging through trash, according to the television station.
"At one time I was with the Santana band, the original Santana blues band," Malone told KRON-TV. "Now I’m homeless and on the streets."
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The television station started to check out some of Malone's claims and found out the Santana's blues band actually started in Malone's mother's garage. As fate would have it, Malone went afoul of the law and sent to prison in 1969 just before Santana made it big by playing Woodstock.
Ben Fong-Torres, author of the book "Not Fade Away: A Backstage Ticket to 20 years of Rock & Roll," told The Associated Press
that Malone was imprisoned for manslaughter, forever separating him from Santana just when the band would become famous.
Malone was eventually released from San Quentin State Prison and struggled on the streets while Santana's attempts to find his friend and former bandmate repeatedly fell short, KRON-TV reported.
With the help of Roberts, the men were reunited on Dec. 20.
"You don't know how afraid I am to let you see me," Malone said to Santana in an emotional meeting, wrote Rolling Stone magazine's Ryan Reed
"It's an honor to be in your presence," Santana told Malone. "You and your family were always so gracious to us. Your mom is in my heart and your heart, and she's watching out for both of us."
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The AP reported that Santana credited Malone with the band's Afro-Latin sound. Malone played congas on Santana's first album.
The AP reported that since the KRON-TV story ran, two other Santana Blues Band members, percussionist Rod Harper, and producer Bobby Scott, have said they wanted to reconnect with Malone as well.
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