Carlos Santana Reunites With Homeless Bandmate

Carlos Santana was recently reunited with one of the original members of his band. Conga player Marcus "The Magnificent" Malone was discovered homeless on the streets of Oakland by KRON-TV reporter Stanley Roberts. NPR's Jennifer Ludden speaks with Roberts about how he came upon Malone and facilitated a reunion with Santana.

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

2013 has ended on a decidedly happy note for one homeless man in Oakland, California. Marcus Malone was a conga player for Carlos Santana in the late '60s. He landed in legal trouble and disappeared from the music scene. Then a TV reporter doing a story on illegal dumping met Malone rummaging through trash. Santana saw the report and earlier this month, the two former band mates were reunited.

MARCUS MALONE: Man.

CARLOS SANTANA: Marcus "The Magnificent" Malone.

MALONE: Oh, my God.

(LAUGHTER)

LUDDEN: KRON TV's Stanley Roberts arranged for the two men to meet. He joins us from our studios at NPR West. Welcome.

STANLEY ROBERTS: Hello. How are you?

LUDDEN: I'm good. So, when Marcus Malone told you that he used to play with Carlos Santana, what did you think?

ROBERTS: Yeah. Some things he said resonated with me. When he said that they had practice in his mother's garage on Potrero Hill with Carlos Santana, that was what really sparked my interest.

LUDDEN: So, this - you do your reports, this airs, and then what happens?

ROBERTS: I received a Facebook message from Carlos Santana's manager saying that Carlos had been driving around Oakland attempting to find Marcus.

LUDDEN: Because he had seen your report.

ROBERTS: Because they had seen the report, yes. So, I reached out to his manager and I said, you know, let's try to set up something. They met and then the rest of it was history.

LUDDEN: What do we know about how Marcus Malone went from playing with Carlos Santana to, you know, being on the streets?

ROBERTS: Well, turns out he actually had spent some time. He was incarcerated and it appears to be for about three years. He was known for having two women on both arms back in the '60s. He apparently got into an altercation with one of woman's apparent husband, some kind of a fight ensued. He went through surgery and apparently third surgery, the person passed away. So, he was charged and convicted with manslaughter.

LUDDEN: What happened when he got out of prison?

ROBERTS: You know, once you get out of prison and you come out, your life is completely different. And he was in prison for manslaughter; we can't take that fact away and we don't want to take away from the family that lost someone. So, he just couldn't bring himself back around again.

LUDDEN: What is next for Malone?

ROBERTS: Well, you know, I got a call from Carlos and he says that he doesn't want it to become a media circus, so he wants to try to get him the help he needs. It's going to take baby steps to get him back into where he was at some point they can perform together. You know, he is a part of history, part of the reason why Santana - this is according to Santana - reason why his sound is the way it is.

LUDDEN: Stanley Roberts is a reporter for KRON TV in Oakland. He helped reunite Carlos Santana with his percussionist, Marcus "The Magnificent" Malone. Thank you very much.

ROBERTS: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LUDDEN: This is NPR News.

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