Where and when were you born and when did you start to play the guitar or any other instruments?

I was born, Alfred Charles Redwine, in San Francisco, Ca. 6:58am, Sept 23rd 1955.
My dad Mr Alfred Redwine loved the guitar, and always kept one around me as early as three years old, he did not play, but he always wanted me to play.
Growing up, I loved music, Elvis, The Beatles, James Brown I had posters all over my walls, listening to records every day.
I really got serious about music in Jr. High school in S.F., I started to play the stand up Bass, but I was not making progress, Then my mother and father got me a bass guitar for Christmas when I was 14, and I got it together almost over night. When I went back to school, I found that the teacher was teaching me right handed, and at home I was playing left handed.
I started to jam with my friends, but the problem was; my best friend at the time Raymond Brown played the bass too. It was cool when we studied together, but when it came to jamming, he played or I played, we never got to jam together, and all our friends would compare us after each jam, and that got old. So I started to play lead guitar!
In S. F. at the time I was growing up as a teenager, music was all over the city. My dad was a security guard at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West on Market Street so I got to see all the best bands at an early sober age.
My childhood friend Calvin Tillery is a great singer and was even as a young child, he told me he had a cousin who sang in a band, she was Linda Tillery who used to let us come to her performances with Chuck Berry, It’s a Beautiful Day and Al Kooper, it was a great place for a young want-a-be musician to be.
One day in Junior High, my friend Raymond asked me if I had seen Santana on The Ed Sullivan Show, I had never heard of them until then, but it seems that my whole life changed after I did hear them!
I started High School at Mission High! {Carlos Santana went to Mission High, every day there would be a least five to ten people worshipping his alumni picture in the hallway.}
Mission High school was a great school for me, I was not a good student, I was always cutting class and sitting under a palm tree playing my guitar a cross the street at Dolores Park, (which by the way, had the best percussions park jams in the city.
One day a teacher (Mr Barton) told me, “If you come in the school we’ll offer you, your own class with no teachers, just you students who want to play music.” (It was called Jam Class). I said O.K. “I’ll go in the building for that!”

What was your first musical break or recording??

Well…. Jam class on the first, was chaos at it’s best, the teachers had to offer this program to all the students in the school and everybody wanted to get out of class, so almost the whole school was there.
In the mission district at the time almost everyone played the timbales and not well, we had too much of everything, but over time the class became just, myself, Greg Landau, Leonard Briant, Joe Burnsten and the late Nazario a great pianist who played with Mongo Santamaria at five years old. We really did teach other things, it was the best thing that happened to us, Greg Landau went on to be a noted producer of Cuban Music.

What were your music influences then, what turned you on to music and excited you??

During and after High School I played with Pure Funk (Funk group) from South Park, I also played with
Cosmic Popcorn (a rock band) from Marin, in 1975 a good friend Larry Baker was trying out to play drums with a band Chepito Areas and Micheal Carabello was putting together. So I went with him as he tried out, well Larry was good but he had not studied the 6\8 rhythm, so he did not get the gig, so he asked me to jam on the bass since it was his last song, so I did, and it was a hot jam. Afterwards Cobra’s manager Charlie (Buddha) Gracia asked me to bring my guitar the next day, I did, and then I was in Cobra with “The Big Boys!”

When did you hook up with Cobra, what were your next projects then? Tell us about the recordings you have made with them

These guys played hard, loud and strong, since I had been there for all of Larry’s try outs, I knew the songs they were playing, I also knew the bass player Freddy Ancheta from High school, Al Moody got the drum job. He had been playing with Sly Stone for some time, Greg [El Gato] Watts on keyboards; he had that Billy Preston thing down, The other Greg (Popeye) Dawkins on vibes was cool he also play harp and sang, Fernando Arragon on guitar, “Georgia” was on vocals; man she could sing and she was a sweet person.

Did you record or tour with Cobra, what were
your next projects then? Tell us about the recordings
you have made with them?

I was with Cobra for about a year and a half, if that long. They were practicing in Daly City at the time I joined, around the corner from my Mom’s apartment.
They were going to call the band “Attitude”, but everyone was wearing snake skin boots at the time, so one of the names in the hat was Cobra, which I voted for.
We toured a little; we went to Oregon, also to a little town outside of Portland called Zig-Zag. The ride up was fun, I would always travel with the roadies, because we’d get to places first and get to know the people first and my best friends were the roadies, Robert Shrieve (he was the cousin of the drummer of Santana’s Michael Shrieve, and he was also Chepito’s personal roadie) Bill {the Roadie}, and a Gadget-man, who’s name I have forgotten. We were riding along, all of us stoned on L.S.D, when I got the idea, “Hey what if somebody try’s to rob us with all this equipment”. Then the Gadget-man pulls out a big 45 pistol and said, “Nobody is going to fuck with us”, and then that is when I started to worry about the Gadget-man.

We rode up in three Winnebago motor homes, and got to the town, they gave us a nice condo to stay in, and a ounce of tie-sticks (a potent form of grass). The gig was a birthday party for a gentleman who wanted me to play Happy Birthday “Jimi Hendrix style”. They gave us a big plate full of cocaine, they passed it down the line of musicians while we were playing, you should of seen the guys, trying to scoop up stuff in little papers, by the time it got to me, it was nothing but that which was stuck to the plate, and that was about two grams or so.

Our trip to Hawaii was so much fun. This was around 1975-76 Diamond-Head Crater Festival, 10,000 people. We got to Hawaii the day after Christmas, I was with the roadies and Stan Marcum, the ex-manager for Santana, we got the gig I found out later, only if we or Buddha (Cobra manager) could bring Sly Stone to come and he did.
At that time most of the guys were really strung out on heroin, and being in Hawaii there was no smack, so I think somebody went back to San Francisco to get some. Before the gig the guys were all fucked-up, I mean it was funny, one guy could not put his tape on his fingers, I was young so it scared me at first, so I went over to my friend, and said, “Hey man you want me to help” he said, “Hey yea Al, that would be cool” While he was wetting, then he said, ” Hey man, you better not laugh”!
We were backstage before the big show, it was beautiful they had a big table with every-kind of food. Drinks, pot, women in bikinis, I was in rock ‘n’ roll heaven, Billy Preston, Herbie Hancock, all the stars,!
One of the guys was backstage just before we went on, with whole hand full of beanies, uppers, shaking and saying, “Hey Al, you want some”. I was like, “Oh man; this is going to be a fucked-up show!”

They said we could use anything we wanted as far as equipment was concerned. So, I had just seen the Rolling Stones that year and I saw that they used Ampeg SVT amps, so I asked for two of those, with a echoplex, distortion pedal, and a wah-wah unit.  I asked our roadie for two joints and a bottle of grape juice! From listening to tapes of me playing drunk I didn’t want to be all fucked up that day!
Now I didn’t give you a picture of Chepito’s personality, when it came to the women in the band……Well as you know Chepito is one of the greatest percussionists in the world, but it is not easy to work with him.
One thing Chepito was good at, was doing a roll, turning around like James Brown, and hitting the cymbal right on the beat…..well he used to like for the girl singer (Georgia) to stand next to him…..so he would do that roll turn around, pinch the singer on the butt so she would yell Huh!! Just right on the beat.
It was funny, but not to the women, one women from the Funkadelic-Parliament group was with us for a little while, Chepito tried that move one time with her, and you could hear her say in a very low voice “Look you little sawed off mother-fucker if you try that again I will kick your ass”. She didn’t stay in the band for long.

We did another gig of the north shore of Hawaii!

We toured in Oregon, California, and Hawaii, where we did the 75-76 Crater Festival, Best show ever with10.000 people, we went on after Cheech and Chong at 3:00 in the afternoon, I knew I died and went to rock and roll heaven. Meanwhile back at the gig.. and just before we got on stage there was a Musician Union-man asking for everyone’s union card, we didn’t have no cards. So we just pushed him off the side of the stage ….10,000 people waiting.. we went on after Cheech and Chong so the people were waiting to hear some music. The first song was in 6\8 and that started out like shit.
Chepito had a look on his face and then he said “Oh fuck you”…we finally got it together and it was great, Fernando had the first solo, but….you see, Fernando wasn’t always nice to the roadies…and he took it for granted that they would hook his sound up, but….Fernando was great with a wah-wah pedal, but the roadies gave him a volume pedal…so I had to take all the solos that day!
Chepito did his butt pinch to Georgia in front of 10,000 people, so she just quit right away that night!
Backstage I met the late (Terry Kath from Chicago) what a great person, he gave me that spirit of hope for my music.
Back in the day, at that time, drugs were everywhere, and in Cobra there were lots, Al Moody and myself were kids at that time. We were pot smokers, and would sniff some coke, if it were free, but some of the other guys were (The Big Boys) and they did not play around.

When we got back to S. F. after the tour, the band was not happy with Freddy the bass player, we had a meeting and everyone wanted Doug Rauch to play bass, well we told Freddy, and Freddy said “If you guys kick me out of the band, I’m going jump out this window.” (Well, we were three stories up in an old office building), everyone looked like, “So what!” then he said, “and I’m going to take someone with me” then everyone said, “Oh no Freddy you can play!!” After that Doug Rauch did join us and Gail Muldrow (guitar, vocals) and Henry Blandon. We did a big gig at Bimbos in North Beach.
We recorded some songs at Columbia Recording studios in S.F.
It has been years since I heard them, all good songs, and produced very well, I took some good guitar solos.

Playing with Olatunji and Carlos Santana.

I moved to Hawaii after playing that gig there, got married and we had two boys, I then played in Honolulu for ten years, while in Hawaii I added Shival to my name now I’m Al “Shival” Redwine. While playing in Hawaii I met and got to play with the late Babatunde Olatunji who wrote Jingo, which is on the first Santana album. After playing, Baba (as we all use to call him) he invited me and my girlfriend at the time (Marijah Speizale), singer, songwriter and percussionist to play on his album that was going to be produced by Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, with Airto and Carlos Santana.
To think I had to think about the offer, cause I was working 7 nights a week, on Hotel Street, and I didn’t want to lose my gig, but a friend of mine a guitar player from New Orleans said “Hey if you go I’m going to get this gig, but if you don’t want to play with Santana, I’ll take that gig!”
I said “O.K. I’m going” and I’m glad I did, it was the best move I’ve made. The album is called Dance to the Beat Of My Drum by Babatunde Olatunji; we recorded it at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. I toured with Babatunde up and down California in 1985/86.
Working with Olatunji, Santana and Airto and Mickey Hart,
That was a fun time, everyday going to work at Fantasy Studios, was great, we had Bobby Vega on Bass, Frank {Baba’s assistant} on guitar.
The first day, Mickey Hart said Carlos will do all the guitar work, then my Girlfriend at the time (singer-percussonist-songwriter Marijah Speziale, Said “wait a minute Baba, me and Shival came all way from hawaii to play on this album” then Baba ” O.K, only Carlos, Frank and Shival’
So I owe thanks to Marijah for speaking up for me. “Thank you Marijah!”
One day working on the album , Bobby Vega says to me, ” Hey man we’re going to lunch with Carlos you be in the mix. so i took heed. and jumped in the car with Bobby and Carlos, we got to the place, there was big table of us all from the studio, all I had was $5.00 bucks in my pocket so ordered a salad which was $4.95, when it was time to pay, everybody took out their money, Carlos looked at everyone and said, “Hey, leave that for the tip, I’ll pay the bill”, I thought that was cool and class, ” My hero!”

Tell us about Latin rock guitar playing, what makes it different to you? About other guitarists in the Latin Rock SF scene and beyond that you admire?? Then and now??

I moved to L. A. in 1987, where I joined the reggae band Roughneck Posse, I went with the band to San Diego, where we won The San Diego Music Award for Best Reggae Band in 1989.
In 1991 I started my own band, with my son Balaram Redwine on bass called The Shival Experience. The style of music is Dreadadelic! Our website is www.shivalexperience.com <http://www.shivalexperience.com/> We have 3 albums out and are currently working on the 4th.
We play here in this county, but we do tour. We’ve   been to Cabo San Lucas, Maine, Florida, Yellow  Stone.
The Latin music and the San Francisco Latin music community has enriched my life.  Thank you, musicians, sound people, roadies and all the people!!

 

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