Michael Shrieve, A Legend from the 1969 Woodstock

Woodstock Music and Art Fair, famously known as Woodstock, is a 3-day music festival that was held from the 15th to the 18th of August 1969 in the dairy farm of Max Yasgur in Bethel, New York. With over 460,000 attendees, it became one of the largest music festivals in history! But not only because of the number of attendees, it is also because of the legendary artists who performed at the festival such as Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and of course, Santana. One of the most notable performances happened on the 2nd day when Santana performed the Soul Sacrifice with the intense drum solo of Michael Shrieve.


Let’s Go and Get to know a little bit more about Michael Shrieve.


Michael Shrieve is the second youngest musician in Woodstock who just turned 20 by that time. (The youngest is Henry Gross, the original lead guitarist of Sha Na Na at the age of 18). He is a highly regarded American drummer known for his work with the iconic rock band Santana, particularly for his performance at Woodstock in 1969.


Young Shrieve

Michael Shrieve was born on July 6, 1949, in San Francisco, California, USA. He began taking drum lessons at the age of nine and started playing at 11. His first full-time band was Glass Menagerie. He also became a backing touring musician for B.B. King and Etta James. At 16, he played in a jam session at the Fillmore Auditorium where he caught the attention of Stan Marcum, the manager of Santana. In 1969, at the age of 19, he jammed with the band and was invited to join them on the same day after he impressed, Carlos Santana.


Woodstock 1969

Shrieve gained widespread recognition as the drummer for Santana. His drum solo during the performance of “Soul Sacrifice” at Woodstock is often hailed as one of the standout moments of the festival and a defining moment in rock music history.


Shrieve and Santana

After the phenomenal performance at Woodstock, he remained the drummer for Santana and recorded the albums Abraxas (1970), Santana III (1971), Caravanserai (1972), Welcome (1973), Borboletta (1974), and the live album, Lotus (1974).


Solos and Collabs

After leaving Santana in the early 1970s, Shrieve pursued a diverse career, collaborating with various musicians and exploring different genres. He has collaborated with a wide range of artists including Steve Winwood, Klaus Schulze, Andy Summers, Stomu Yamashta, David Beal, Wayne Horvitz, and Zakir Hussain, demonstrating his versatility and adaptability as a drummer.

He released several solo albums and contributed his drumming skills to numerous projects across rock, jazz, and experimental music. And guess what?! An album that is more than a decade in the making, the Drums of Compassion, is finally set to release on 24 May 2024!


You can click here for more information about Drums of Compassion: https://7dmedia.com/michael-shrieve-drums-of-compassion, https://www.michaelshrieve.com/current-projects

You can also check his website for updates: https://www.michaelshrieve.com/


Drumming Style

Michael Shrieve‘s drumming style is characterized by its versatility, technical proficiency, and expressive creativity. Some key aspects of his drumming style include:

Rhythmic Innovation: Shrieve‘s drumming often incorporates complex rhythms and polyrhythmic patterns, influenced by a variety of musical traditions including rock, jazz, and Latin music.

Dynamic Playing: He is known for his ability to create a wide range of dynamics, from delicate and subtle to powerful and explosive, enhancing the emotional impact of the music.

Creative Improvisation: Shrieve‘s drum solos and improvisational passages showcase his inventive approach to rhythm and his willingness to push boundaries and explore new sonic territory.


Awards, Honor, and Legacy

In 1970, he won a Grammy award for his work on Santana’s album, Abraxas. He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Michael Shrieve also received the Guitar Center’s first annual “Lifetime Achievement Award”.

Shrieve was picked and ranked at number 10 as The Best Drummer of All Time by Rolling Stone Magazine readers in March 2011.

Michael Shrieve’s innovative and captivating drumming style has become a source of inspiration to innumerable aspiring musicians. He is also active in supporting various charities and organizations.

With his incomparable talent and remarkable contributions to the world of music as a drumming virtuoso, Michael Shrieve’s legacy continues to thrive.

Michael Shrieve‘s contributions to music, both as a member of Santana and through his diverse collaborations and solo work, have cemented his legacy as one of the most innovative and influential drummers in rock history.


Let’s relive his Soul Sacrifice performance here at Woodstock Music Festival, August 1969


And here’s more!

Savor / Jingo, Tanglewood 1970


Black Magic Woman / Oye Como Va, Tanglewood 1970


and here’s Soul Sacrifice 2016


I owe Michael a lot. He’s the one who turned me onto John Coltrane and Miles Davis. I just wanted to play blues until Michael came, he opened my eyes, my ears, and my heart to a lot of things. Some drummers only have chops, but Michael Shrieve has vision.

 – Carlos Santana

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