While legendary musician Carlos Santana’s career rose to meteoric heights, former band mate and percussionist Marcus ‘the Magnificent’ Malone wallowed in San Quentin jail.
40 years later, KRON-4 reporter Stanley Roberts reunited the two in Oakland.
Roberts found Malone digging through a dumpster while on assignment for his segment, “People Behaving Badly” on December 9. Marcus told Roberts:
“At one time I was with the Santana band, the original Santana blues band. … Now I’m homeless and on the streets.”
Roberts was skeptical at first that the legendary musician would abandon his bandmate. This did not sound like the man who supports organizations like The Milagro Foundation, United Farm Workers, Save The Children, and Build The Dream, to name a few.
But after doing some research, Roberts found The Santana Blues Band, originally formed in 1967, actually got its start in Malone’s mother’s garage.
The name was shortened to “Santana” and the band gave its debut at the Fillmore West Theater in June of 1968.
The band then signed to Columbia Records and played again, this time for a taped show, at the Fillmore West in December the same year. The tape “Live at the Fillmore 1968” was not released until nearly 30 years later.
Then, Woodstock happened, and Santana’s debut album peaked at No. 4 on the US Billboard 200 pop chart. Within 6 months, Malone was left in obscurity while Santana rose in fame.
“You don’t know how afraid I am to let you see me.”
“We cherish you. … It’s an honor to be in your presence.”
Malone is often credited on the last track, Soul Sacrifice, of the 1969 album “Santana,” although Santana’s high school friend and conga player Michael Carabello is featured on the re-release of the album. The band took on Carabello to provide the afro-latin influence Malone brought to their sound.
Life after San Quentin has been hard for Marcus, where he has struggled to survive and find work on the streets of Oakland.
Since airing last Friday, the KRON-4 story has inspired Rod Harper, another original band member of the Santana Blues Band and producer Bobby Scott to reach out to Malone.
Santana hopes to enter the studio with Malone in the next few months and record with the original Blues Band:
“I want to offer him a place to stay in an apartment, get him some clothes, and just get him out of the street.”