Santana/Journey co-founder Gregg Rolie puts down a few tracks before rejoining Ringo Starr on tour

Gregg Rolie began work on a handful of new songs before getting set to rejoin Ringo Starr’s latest All-Starr Band for a trip to the Pacific Rim next month — including two tracks that feature fellow All-Starr Band member Steve Lukather.

Rolie, a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who co-founded both Santana and Journey, will also play a January 23, 2013 gig at the One World Theater in Austin. Appearing with Rolie will be Texas guitarist Alan Hayes, a long-time collaborator, as well as Sticky Lopez on drums and regular Rolie Band drummer Ron Wikso, who has also played with Foreigner, David Lee Roth, Cher and Denny Laine over the years.

Rolie’s last studio effort was a solo EP titled Five Days, which included emotional new takes on two of his most memorable performances with Santana and Journey — “Black Magic Woman” and “Anytime” — as well as three other tracks. Rolie contributed to four Santana albums between 1969-72, then was in Journey for eight albums between 1975-81.

[SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: Gregg Rolie on co-founding two of rock's most recognizable bands, and why he left all of that fame and fortune with Santana and Journey behind.]

Fellow Santana alum Alphonso Johnson, who came to fame as a member of Weather Report, played bass on Rolie’s new recordings, save for one track that featured Kenny Patterson. Wikso tells us that Haynes is featured all of the tracks, while Toto co-founder Lukather adds lead lines and solos on two songs. Background vocalists include Taylor Mills, Teal Collins Zee and Akina Adderly.

The tracks, will still need to be mixed and mastered, could become part of a future project, though that remains unclear right now, Wikso added. Rolie co-produced with Frenchie Smith, while son Sean Rolie served as engineer.

Meanwhile, Rolie and Lukather are set join Ringo for a series of 2013 dates beginning in February with bassist Richard Page of Mr. Mister; Todd Rundgren; saxophonist Mark Rivera of Hall and Oates and Peter Gabriel fame; and drummer Gregg Bissonette, who has played David Lee Roth.

Here are key dates for the All-Starr Band’s Asia/Pacific Rim tour, which begins next month:

February 7 – Christchurch, New Zealand – CBS Canterbury Arena
February 9 – Auckland, New Zealand – Vector Arena
February 11 – Brisbane, Australia – Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre
February 13 – Moore Park (Sydney), Australia – Hordern Pavilion
February 16 – West Melbourne, Australia – Festival Hall
February 19 – Hindmarsh (Adelaide), Australia – Adelaide Entertainment Centre
February 21 – Perth, Australia – Challenge Stadium
February 25 – Tokyo, Japan – Zepp Tokyo
February 26 – Tokyo, Japan – Zepp Tokyo
February 27 – Nagoya, Japan – Zepp Nagoya
March 1 – Osaka, Japan – Zepp Namba

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Want more? The Greg Rolie Band has a stand-alone Web site with additional music and other cool merchandise.

Nick DeRiso

Over a 30-year career, Nick DeRiso has also explored music for USA Today, All About Jazz, Ultimate Classic Rock and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the nation by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Contact him at nderiso@somethingelsereviews.com.

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