Iconic US funk and soul band Tower Of Power with the legendary horn section, are in the UK for a run of four dates – including their first gigs outside of London in 15 years. Celebrating 50 years next year since they formed in Oakland, California, the 10-piece band play Manchester, Bristol, Coventry and London this month (October 2017).
Opening for Tower of Power at The Roundhouse in London on Sunday 15th October, is freshly reformed British funk band Cymande, whose hits such as “Bra”, “Brothers on the Slide” and “The Message” lead to Rolling Stone magazine describing them as London’s greatest funk band.
Support for Tower of Power’s dates at Manchester Academy 2 (12th) and Bristol 02 Academy (13th) comes from Stone Foundation, whose latest Top 30 album, “Street Rituals, a collaboration with Paul Weller, has cemented their reputation as one of the UK’s best soul bands. No support has been advertised for their Coventry Empire show on Saturday 14th October.
UK fans will get to see and hear Tower of Power’s new lead singer, Marcus Scott, who joined the band in April 2016. Leader and sax player Emilio Castillo says he is a perfect fit. “It is phenomenal. Most bands lose their singer and it is over. But we’ve changed singers and other players so many times that the fans actually get excited about who is next. I found out about Marcus, and he’s amazing.
“All the guys come on stage and we just think: Wow, God has really blessed us. Marcus is doing a great job, and has a great personality. One of the things you learn when you’ve been in the business as long as I have, is to hire good people with principles, because you’re going to spend as much as twenty hours a day with these guys. Marcus has everything – he looks great, he sings great, he’s a good person. We’re just really blessed to have him”.
Tower of Power consistently plays over 200 shows a year across the world, and their love of the stage is the same today as it was back in 1968, as co-founder Emilio explains, “I still love it as much as ever. We’re not a smooth jazz band, or a retro band…we don’t follow trends; we just make our music exactly the way we want it to be. Every time we go to play, we’re playing music we love because we got to make it our way.”
Ahead of the trip to the UK, he spoke of how ‘up for it’ the band are: “All of us in Tower of Power are really excited about coming back to Europe and the UK to see some of our favourite fans in the world. It’s been too long and we’re looking forward to bringing some deeply soulful music to that part of the world. In the words of one of our newer songs: “If you’re gonna do it, do it with soul”. See you there.”
Forming in 1968, Tower of Power’s 1970 debut album, “East Bay Grease”, released on San Francisco Records, helped to define the East Bay sound – and did well enough to warrant a recording contract with Warner Brothers. “Bump City”, their 1972 debut for the label, was a hit on both the Billboard 200 and the chart’s 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 was a boom period for Tower of Power, who hit big with radio classics like “So Very Hard To Go” and their theme tune: “What Is Hip?” The band has continued to tour and record ever since, and the famed horn section has also played on a who’s who of other stars’ albums.
In January this year (2017), stand in bassist Marc Van Wageningen and legendary TOP drummer David Garibalid got hit by a train as they crossed the road to go into Yoshi’s, a venue in Oakland, where they were due to to perform their two annual shows with TOP that night. Both were very seriously hurt and rushed to hospital. David broke several bones and Marc was critical, and had to have emergency surgery.
RED HOT NEWS: David Garibaldi WILL be with the band for their UK shows, having made a faster than expected recovery and now fit enough to get back behind the kit and next to his bass buddy, the great Francis Rocco Prestia, before David’s originally expected return in November. So the two musical Titans are back, to once again form one of the greatest rhythm sections ever.