Legendary Funk and Soul Machine
Since 1968, Tower of Power has delivered their unique brand of “Urban Soul Music” to audiences around the world. The band’s horn driven sound is unclassifiably cool, and they feature one of the funkiest rhythm sections alive. Amazingly, 5 of the ten current members of the band are founding members, something unheard of from most 40 year old bands.
Emilio Castillo – Band Leader/Tenor Saxophone
Stephen “Doc” Kupka – Baritone Saxophone
Francis “Rocco” Prestia – Bass Guitar
Dave Garibaldi – Drums
Tom Polizer – Tenor Saxophone
Adolfo Acosta – Trumpet / Flugal Horn
Ray Greene – Lead Vocals
Sal Cracchiolo – Trumpet
Roger Smith – Keys
Jerry Cortez – Guitar
Tower of Power began performing in August 1968, and they quickly established a reputation as one of the most exciting elements of the burgeoning “San Francisco Sound.” After releasing one record on Bill Graham’s San Francisco records, they made the jump to Warner Brothers and by 1972 were on the national scene. The 1970s saw the band release a string of memorable records and hits that still resonate with audiences today. Tower has released a total of 19 albums, and its members have appeared on hundreds of recordings with artists as diverse as Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart, and many others.
For well close to five decades, Tower of Power has delivered the best in Rhythm and Blues music. But, as group co-founder Emilio Castillo says, they could have had a much different name.
“We were a Soul band called The Motowns.” he recalls. Rocco Prestia was the bass player, I was in there, and my brother was the drummer. I met Doc Kupka at the Alameda County Fair over the Fourth of July weekend back in 1968, and gave him an audition. He came in the band, and we eventually changed our name to the Tower of Power.”
The reason for the band name change was that they had a specific goal in mind. “We wanted to get into the Fillmore Auditorium and with a name like the Motowns, dressed in suits with razor cuts, we knew we’d never get in there. We grew our hair long, and started to be hippies, and changed our name. Doc then suggested to me that we should start writing our own songs. Our first song was ‘You’re Still A Young Man.”
Their first record, East Bay Grease, helped to define the East Bay sound, and did well enough to warrant a recording contract. Bump City, their 1972 debut, was a hit on both the Billboard 200 and the R&B Albums chart, and netted them the hits “You’re Still A Young Man” and “Down To the Nightclub.” The decade of the 1970s were a boom period for the group, who hit with radio classics like “So Very Hard To Go” and “What Is Hip?” and the band has continued to tour and record over the years.
Fans that come out to see Tower of Power will get a look at their brand new lead singer, Ray Greene. Castillo says he’s a perfect fit. “It’s phenomenal. Most bands lose their singer, and it’s over. But, we’ve changed singers and other players so many times, the fans actually get excited about who’s next.” he said, as the band has had over forty members throughout their history.
What Other People Have Been Saying...
“There’s no group that plays my stuff as good as them.” – James Brown
“play as tight as a chain-link fence, with not a weak link in sight.” – London Jazz
“How refreshing to hear old-school R&B played by seasoned musicians on real instruments. Those horns, man. Whew! I couldn’t get enough of them.” -Dallas News