Benny Rietveld

Erik Kabik Photography photo

In his youth, Benny Rietveld enjoyed playing all types of musical instruments.

“When I was growing up, I was playing a lot with my cousin and we would just jam a lot,” he explains. “I’d play drums and sometimes I’d play bass, but I was the drummer in our band.”

When the group’s bass player left, Rietveld took the spot, and the rest is history.

As part of the current lineup for longtime band Santana, Rietveld brings to the table a magnificent bass beat.

“It’s really an invisible type of instrument,” he says. “It’s structural, so a lot of people don’t really notice it until it goes away, and then they notice it. They notice its absence.”

While Santana is working on a couple of new musical projects, Rietveld is staying busy with his own adventures. He recently wrote a 9,000-word article about all the James Bond themes for the Herald de Paris, and just came back from doing three days of extra shooting on the set of Breaking Bad.

“Part of the reason why I did it is because I’m a big fan. I have an interest in that world, and I have for a long time,” says Rietveld, who was featured on our weekend cover Feb. 24, 2006. “When you see anybody doing anything at a really high level, it’s instructional. It’s amazing how much you learn.

“I was a pretty bad Breaking Bad geek before, so it was great.” Rietveld is fascinated with all aspects of acting, and says it is even related to music in some ways.

“Everything is choreographed, so you can improvise, but now you have to be aware of more dimensions. I was so nervous driving to the set, and it felt good to be nervous.

“When we play, I don’t really feel nervous. I haven’t felt nervous in forever. But I’m still excited, which is great, because this band is also an amazingly good team.”

Aside from his extracurriculars, Rietveld stays busy, as Santana performs about 80 shows a year in Las Vegas.

And the group recently played on Maui and began its 2013 Sentient Tour, which will take the band to Bangkok, Taipei, two Tokyo shows, Osaka, New Zealand and Australia.

“Then maybe I’ll get some rest, but I doubt it,” Rietveld says.

But he enjoys the busy lifestyle nonetheless.

“If it’s busy and you’re doing interesting stuff, it kind of keeps you alive,” he says. “You’re keeping challenged; it’s great. I wouldn’t want to be busy if it’s always the same thing. That would kind of get old.

“But if you keep doing things that make you nervous, then that’s good.”