Admittedly, I was hammered when I put my hand on Carlos Santana’s shoulder and whispered in his ear. And, in retrospect, I consider myself incredibly lucky that his bodyguard didn’t forcibly remove me from the club, but my intentions were good. At that moment, I didn’t feel like I was trying to talk to Carlos Santana, the rock and roll icon. Instead, I was trying to connect with Carlos Santana, the dad.
The night before this run-in with greatness, I was at completely different kind of music showcase. Instead of the professional setting of the club where I saw Santana, this was just a bar with the classic garage band set-up, the kind of place where feedback is an additional instrument in the band. And, instead of seeing a professional recording artist, I was in this bar to watch the public debut of my friends’ kids playing in their first band. They called themselves “Focus Fools” (because half band wanted to be called “Focus” and the other half voted for “The Fools”). Three of the members of Focus Fools were my friend’s sons, the youngest of whom is six-years old and one of K-Man’s best buddies.
As you can imagine, the band was great fun to watch. For me, though, it was almost even better watching their dad, my friend. His eyes lit up as his sons rocked the house with tunes like “Louie, Louie,” “Had a Bad Day,” and “Smoke on the Water.” As the Focus Fools eclectic five-song set came to an end, the pride radiated from his eyes. The million-watt smiles on his face and on his wife’s face could have lit up the Bay. Moreover the kids were so very proud of themselves. It was simply an incredible scene. A moment that will never be forgotten for my friend’s family.
The Focus Fools were on my mind the next night in the club where I saw Carlos Santana. You see, we were there to see an incredible up-and-coming artist who was starting to make a name for himself with his unique sound and unparalleled talent as a singer-songwriter-keyboardist. We were there to see Salvador Santana. Carlos Santana’s kid.
While I listened to Salvador sing, I watched his dad. His smile and pride were as big as my friend’s the night before. I loved watching Santana dance – just like the rest of us – as his son filled the room with an intense vibe that, frankly, I can’t even describe. On this night, even as he got up on stage to play with Salvador, Carlos Santana was just another dad proud of his kid.
So, as he walked past me, I couldn’t help but put my hand on his shoulder and whisper, “I have to tell you that the best part of this night is watching how proud you are of your son.” He thanked me, and as his bodyguard gave me very gentle push away, the 10-time Grammy Award winner was whisked back to his seat.
I feel a great deal of pride when it comes to my kid. Whether he’s navigating his way through the older kids at the skatepark, earning another Taekwondo belt, drawing, or even advancing through a challenging level of a video game, I love being his biggest fan. I don’t doubt this will ever end. I could understand, to a certain extent, how Carlos Santana felt. And definitely how my friend felt.
We live in this world of celebrity worship and in most instances, I probably would have just gawked at the music legend in his white top hat. I would have gone out of my way not to get in his way. I mean this guy played Woodstock! Carlos Santana may very well be “Santana,” but on this night, he wasn’t anything more than a dad. A dad just like me or my friend watching the Focus Fools.
I know father-son relationships can be complicated. Hell, my own relationship with my dad has had its share of bumps and potholes. I spar with K-Man more than I care to admit. And, I have no idea what kind of relationship Salvador and Santana have (beyond what I’ve read online), but on these nights – there was only love. A dad is a dad is a dad. Whether he’s a creative-type, finance-type or a music legend. And I think that’s pretty cool.