Gregg Rolie

Last updated

Gregg Rolie
Gregg Rolie June 2014.jpg
Rolie performing with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band in June 2014
Background information
Birth nameGregg Alan Rolie
Born (1947-06-17) June 17, 1947 (age 76)
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
  • Musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
Years active1965–present
Formerly of

Gregg Alan Rolie (born June 17, 1947) is an American keyboardist, singer and songwriter. Rolie served as lead singer of the bands Santana and Journey – both of which he co-founded. He also helmed rock group The Storm, performed in Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band until 2021, and since 2001 with his Gregg Rolie Band. Rolie is a two-time inductee of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted both as a member of Santana in 1998 and as a member of Journey in 2017.



Rolie was born in Seattle, Washington, United States. Prior to Santana, he played with a group called William Penn and His Pals while attending Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California 1965, his senior year. [1]

In 1966, Rolie joined Carlos Santana and others to form the Santana Blues Band, which was later shortened simply to Santana. As a co-founding member of Santana, Rolie was part of the band's first wave of success, including an appearance at the Woodstock Music and Art Festival in 1969 [2] and central roles in several hit albums. He was their original lead vocalist, with his voice appearing on well-known Santana songs such as "Black Magic Woman" (US #4), "Oye Como Va", "No One To Depend On" and "Evil Ways". He also became well known for his skill on the Hammond B3 organ, with solos on many of the aforementioned hits. He has song-writing credits on many tracks from this period. However, persistent differences with Carlos Santana regarding the musical direction of the band led Rolie to leave in 1972.

In 1973 Rolie joined a new band with ex-Santana guitarist Neal Schon. This became Journey. Starring in a lineup that featured Schon, Aynsley Dunbar, George Tickner, and Ross Valory, he was keyboardist for the band's first six albums. On Journey and Look into the Future , he was lead vocalist, and on Next he shared those duties with guitarist Neal Schon. After Steve Perry joined the band in 1977, Rolie sang co-lead vocals on several songs on the albums Infinity , Evolution , and Departure .

After leaving Journey in 1980, Rolie released several solo albums, including the eponymous Gregg Rolie in 1985. This album featured the song "I Wanna Go Back", which later became a hit for Eddie Money, and included contributions from Carlos Santana, Peter Wolf, Neal Schon, and Craig Chaquico. A second solo effort, Gringo, was released in 1987.

Rolie formed The Storm in 1991 with Steve Smith and Ross Valory of Journey. The band also included singer, Kevin Chalfant and guitarist, Josh Ramos. Prior to their inaugural tour in support of their first album, Steve Smith left the band and was replaced by Ron Wikso.

Similar to his work with Santana and Journey, Rolie played keyboards and was a co-lead vocalist on several tracks of the band's first, eponymous, album, which spent 17 weeks [3] on the Billboard albums chart peaking at #133 [4] and spawned the hit singles "I've Got a Lot to Learn About Love," [5] and "Show Me the Way." [4] Despite this success, Interscope Records shelved the band's second album, Eye Off The Storm, which was recorded in 1993. It was finally released in 1996, in Europe, on the Music For Nations label, in 1997, in Japan, on the Avex Trax/Bateknuckle label, and in 1998, in the United States, on the Miramar label.

In 1998, Rolie and other former members of Santana, including Neal Schon, briefly reunited as Abraxas Pool, releasing one album.

Rolie in 2007. Rolie-07.jpg
Rolie in 2007.

When Schon left to lead a re-formed Journey later that year, Rolie and Ron Wikso began work in 1999, on a Gregg Rolie solo CD, titled Roots, which eventually led to the forming of the Gregg Rolie Band. Besides Rolie and Wikso, Roots featured appearances by Neal Schon, Alphonso Johnson, Dave Amato, Adrian Areas, Michael Carabello. The Gregg Rolie Band saw Kurt Griffey taking over guitar duties and the addition of Wally Minko as a second keyboardist. They recorded a live CD at Sturgis called Rain Dance, which was released in 2009.

In 2010, Rolie released Five Days and subsequently formed a duo with Alan Haynes, which eventually led to the formation of the Gregg Rolie Quartet, with the addition of long time collaborator/drummer, Ron Wikso and bassist Evan "Sticky" Lopez.

From 2012 to 2021 he toured as a member of Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band performing Santana hits "Black Magic Woman", "Evil Ways" and "Everybody's Everything". [6] The band also included Toto guitarist Steve Lukather, Todd Rundgren, Richard Page, Mark Rivera and Gregg Bissonette.

On February 2, 2013 Carlos Santana confirmed that he would reunite his classic lineup, most of whom played Woodstock with him in 1969. Santana said of Rolie, "I'm pretty sure Gregg's going to do it." Speaking in 2012 of such a reunion, Rolie told "it's just a matter of putting it together and going and doing it. I would do it. I think it's a great idea. People would love it. It could be great!" [7] In 2016, as part of Santana's original line-up they released their fourth album, titled Santana IV . [8]

On February 9, 2018, Rolie reunited with Schon for a charity show at San Francisco's The Independent, benefiting North Bay Fire Relief. The group also featured former Journey drummer Deen Castronovo (who also sang some of the vocals) and bassist Marco Mendoza of The Dead Daisies. [9] In 2019 Rolie reunited with Schon, Castronovo and Mendoza for four more concert dates. [10]


Rolie is a proponent of music education for children. In 2005, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and instruction to children in underserved public schools throughout the US. He sits on the organization's Honorary board of directors.

Personal life

Rolie and his wife, Lori, reside near Austin, Texas.


Solo discography

(Also as Gregg Rolie Band)

with Santana

with Journey

with The Storm

with Abraxas Pool


Related Research Articles

<i>Infinity</i> (Journey album) 1978 studio album by Journey

Infinity is the fourth studio album by American rock band Journey, released in January 1978 by Columbia Records. It was the band's first album with vocalist Steve Perry and the last to feature drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

<i>Look into the Future</i> 1976 studio album by Journey

Look into the Future is the second studio album by Journey. It was released in January 1976 by Columbia Records.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carlos Santana</span> American guitarist (born 1947)

Carlos Humberto Santana Barragán is an American guitarist, best known as a founding member of the rock band Santana. Born and raised in Mexico where he developed his musical background, he rose to fame in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States with Santana, which pioneered a fusion of rock and roll and Latin American jazz. Its sound featured his melodic, blues-based lines set against Latin American and African rhythms played on percussion instruments not generally heard in rock, such as timbales and congas. He experienced a resurgence of popularity and critical acclaim in the late 1990s.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Journey (band)</span> American rock band

Journey is an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1973 by former members of Santana, the Steve Miller Band, and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band as of 2024 consists of guitarist/vocalist Neal Schon, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Cain and keyboardist/vocalist Jason Derlatka, drummer/vocalist Deen Castronovo, bassist Todd Jensen, and lead vocalist Arnel Pineda.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Neal Schon</span> American guitarist (b. 1954)

Neal Joseph Schon is an American musician and songwriter, best known as the co-founder and lead guitarist for the rock band Journey. He is the last original member to remain throughout the group's history. He was a member of the rock band Santana before forming Journey. He was also a member of the group Bad English during Journey's hiatus from 1987 to 1995, as well as an original member of Hardline.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Michael Shrieve</span> American drummer, percussionist, and composer

Michael Shrieve is an American drummer, percussionist, and composer. He is best known as the drummer of the rock band Santana, playing on the band's first seven albums from 1969 to 1974. At age 20, Shrieve was the second youngest musician to perform at Woodstock. His drum solo during "Soul Sacrifice" in the Woodstock film has been described as "electrifying", although he considers his solo during the same piece in 1970 at Tanglewood the superior performance.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ross Valory</span> American bassist (born 1949)

Ross Lamont Valory is an American musician who is best known as the original bass player for the rock band Journey from 1973 to 1985 and again from 1995 to 2020. Valory was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Journey in 2017.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jonathan Cain</span> American musician

Jonathan Leonard Friga, known professionally as Jonathan Cain, is an American musician, singer and songwriter. He is best known as the keyboardist and rhythm guitarist for Journey. He has also worked with The Babys and Bad English. Cain was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Journey in 2017. He also maintains a solo career as a contemporary Christian artist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deen Castronovo</span> American drummer and singer

Deen Joseph Castronovo is an American drummer and singer best known for being a member of classic rock band Journey and hard rock acts Bad English and Hardline. He currently plays drums and shares lead vocals for the bands Journey, Generation Radio, and Revolution Saints. He has been a touring and studio player for Ozzy Osbourne, Steve Vai, Paul Rodgers, and Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler's GZR.

The Storm was an American supergroup rock band, formed in the Bay Area of San Francisco during the early 1990s. The band's first single, power ballad "I've Got a Lot to Learn About Love", peaked at #6 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Any Way You Want It</span> 1980 single by Journey

"Any Way You Want It" is a song by American rock band Journey, released in February 1980 as the lead single from the band's sixth album Departure (1980). Written by lead singer Steve Perry and guitarist Neal Schon, it peaked at number 23 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

<i>Abraxas Pool</i> 1997 studio album by Abraxas Pool

Abraxas Pool is a 1997 album by ex-Santana members Mike Shrieve, Neal Schon, Gregg Rolie, José "Chepito" Areas, Alphonso Johnson, and Mike Carabello.

Walter James "Herbie" Herbert II was an American music manager and musician. He was best known for his work with Santana and Journey.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kevin Chalfant</span> American rock singer

Kevin Chalfant is an American singer and a native of Streator, Illinois. He obtained a BMI award for co-writing and singing on one of the most frequently aired rock radio hits of 1992 and 1993, "I've Got a Lot to Learn About Love", by The Storm. In October 1993 he very briefly sat in for Steve Perry in Journey, singing lead at a roast for Journey's manager, Herbie Herbert, and in 2003, he toured as lead vocalist for the Alan Parsons Live Project.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Santana (band)</span> American rock band

Santana is an American rock band formed in San Francisco in 1966 by Mexican-born guitarist Carlos Santana. The band has undergone various recording and performing line-ups in its history, with Santana being the only consistent member. After signing with Columbia Records, the band's appearance at the Woodstock Festival in 1969 increased their profile, and they went on to record the commercially successful and critically-acclaimed albums Santana (1969), Abraxas (1970), and Santana III (1971). These were recorded by the group's "classic" line-up, featuring Gregg Rolie, Michael Carabello, Michael Shrieve, David Brown, and José "Chepito" Areas. Hit songs of this period include "Evil Ways", "Black Magic Woman", "Oye Como Va", and the instrumental "Samba Pa Ti".

<i>In the Beginning</i> (Journey album) 1979 compilation album by Journey

In the Beginning is the first compilation album from the rock band Journey, containing songs from the group's first three albums. The songs on this album are all taken from the period where Gregg Rolie sang lead vocals, before Steve Perry joined the band as their new lead singer in 1977.

Stevie "Keys" Roseman is a keyboardist and performer born in Oakland, California. He has worked as a session and live musician since the late 1960s, most notably with the rock band Journey.

<i>Greatest Hits 2</i> (Journey album)

Greatest Hits 2 is a greatest hits album by American rock band Journey. The album was released on November 1, 2011 by Columbia Records.

<i>Santana IV</i> 2016 studio album by Santana

Santana IV is the twenty-fourth studio album by American rock band Santana, released in April 2016.


  1. "William Penn and His Pals | The Historic San Francisco Group". CD Baby. Retrieved March 27, 2012.
  2. NEA ZIXNH (November 4, 2012), Santana - Soul Sacrifice 1969 "Woodstock" Live Video HQ, archived from the original on December 22, 2012, retrieved October 26, 2018
  3. "Top Album Sales : Page 1". Billboard. Retrieved October 26, 2018.
  4. 1 2 "The Storm Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  5. "The Storm I've Got A Lot To Learn About Love Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on October 25, 2018. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  6. Greene, Andy (February 8, 2012). "Ringo Starr Announces New All Starr Band Line-Up, Tour Dates". Rolling Stone, LLC. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  7. "Gregg Rolie Band - Bio". Gregg Rolie Band. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  8. Ragogna, Mike (March 18, 2016). "Santana IV: Chatting with Carlos Santana & Gregg Rolie, Plus Zona, Lexi Baker and Ninet Exclusives". Buzz Feed, Inc. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  9. "Neal Schon Goes Deep Into His Past at Solo Benefit Show". Ultimate Classic Rock. February 10, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  10. "Neal Schon's Journey Through Time Adds 2019 Dates".
  11. "Ringo – Postcards From Paradise". discogs. March 27, 2015.


Preceded by
Journey keyboardist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Journey lead vocalist
Succeeded by