NEW YORK — With his new album, "Spirits Dancing in the Flesh," Carlos Santana wanted the same feeling of "oneness" experienced at the finale of the Olympic Games.
"Every four years at the Olympics, you see people from all walks of life joining hands, dancing, laughing together, crying. I wanted to do the kind of album to create that spirit every day," he said in an interview at Columbia Records, where he has been since his first album in 1969.
The first video, for "Peace on Earth . . . Mother Earth . . . Third Stone from the Sun," he said, "shows the Earth is the womb and we are the babies. Forget about national anthems, flags and passports and get into one-family consciousness. That turns me on.
"The first part of that piece was composed by John Coltrane, the second by me and the third by Jimi Hendrix.
"I met Hendrix at a concert. He mentioned about joining my band. Musically, he knew the band was embracing something different than show business, that he was being put into. We were just kids, but he knew. I think he had enough of show business. He wanted to seriously play some music."
This is the last album under his present Columbia contract, and his thoughts are full of what he wants in a new contract--the chance to advise the company about non-mainstream records.
"I don't want a big juicy contract with a lot of money," he said. "I would like to create a new branch in the company that deals with people in a different way than the predictable."
Only college radio is open to experimenting with music programming, said the man of whom it has been declared, "He IS Latin rock."
"This company needs a branch of rebels and renegades," he said. "I want to work with them. There are a lot of bands not that predictable--the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker. Turn on the radio, it is very insulting. A lot of people don't want the same formula of canned soup. They want the real gumbo." Outspoken and never at a loss for words, Santana says that Columbia Records would like him to repeat "Black Magic Woman" of 1970. "They treat you as a legend and don't put your new records in the stores. Every time I go on the road for the last five years, it's been sold out. People are waiting for the new thing we're going to play."
Santana found it frustrating to take "The Healer," which he composed, and the soundtrack to "La Bamba" to Columbia and have them rejected. "La Bamba" came out on Warner Bros. and "The Healer" on Chameleon Records.
He hasn't done music for a film since "La Bamba."
"All the scripts they send me are demeaning to women. If I can't play music in front of my four sisters, Mom, wife and daughters, I won't play it. Thank God I'm in a position where I don't need to do it," Santana said.