Performer: Abraxas Pool
Songwriters: Gregg Rolie, Mike Shrieve
Original Release: Abraxas Pool
Definitive Version: None
I found this song by accident a couple of years ago amongst the leaves of a great YouTube tree. I went searching for Santana one day, Toussaint L’Overture, I think, and one of the related videos was of a 1986 concert where Santana reunited with his Abraxas band, including Gregg Rolie and Neal Schon. Wait, what? They got back together for one night? Cool!
I branched out from there, clicking on further related videos, when one that was titled something along the lines of Neal Schon Abraxas Pool came up. Huh, what’s that? I clicked on it, and it was this song with an incorrect title. Abraxas Pool, the explainer text said, was the original Santana band plus Schon minus Santana. They were ignored, because they neither were a nostalgia act nor hip. That’s unfortunate.
The video itself is great. It looks as amateur as amateur gets, although the sound and video quality are solid, and the song is an absolute dusty-mariachi killer. But what really stands out about the video for me is the venue where it was filmed. I suspect it was some hallowed club on the Sunset Strip, like the Whiskey, but it looks like a complete dive—small, cramped, poorly lit.
Consequently, the song makes me think of a time before I even knew it existed, because it looks like a bar I visited in Los Angeles the last time I was there (until further notice) in December 2007.
After Jin and Paul had Bridget, Laurie and I had to get out there to visit. Besides, considering our history, a trip to L.A. was a natural. We made the wise decision to stay at a hotel not far from Jin’s house (the hotel where I stayed for their wedding three years earlier, matter of fact), and we split our time visiting and heading out on our own during work and naptime.
One night, we visited friends of Laurie’s who had moved there a year or so earlier, and they suggested going to a bar near to where they lived. I don’t remember the name of the place, but I remember it was next to a part of the great Los Angeles River that looked like where they filmed the classic motorcycle sequence in Terminator 2. We went, I think, on a Sunday night, and I say that because the bar was deader than Robert Patrick at the end of that movie.
We crammed five people into a booth along the wall, and if we weren’t the only ones in the place, we constituted a quorum. There couldn’t have been more than one or two other people at the bar. The vibe was as though it was already after last call. Music played quietly over the p.a., and the lighting was an odd mix of single dim overhead incandescent bulbs and Christmas lights.
But the place had a huge bandstand that had several covered instruments and a black-and-white tile dance floor. I don’t know what kind of music was played there, but it certainly seemed as though it would be jumping on a band night, whenever those were.
And for all I know, an obscure Latin-flavored band that featured a few recognizable names and faces played there a decade earlier.