UPDATE: Tower of Power canceled a pair of shows this week following an accident in which tow of the band’s members were hit by a train before a performance in their hometown of Oakland. The members–drummer David Garibaldi and bassist Marc van Wageningen – both survived the accident taken to a local hospital according to this story from the Associated Press. The band is scheduled to play Tachi Palace January 19. There is no word yet on whether the concert will be affected.
ORIGINAL STORY (January 11): Emilio Castillo is teasing a new Tower of Power album for 2017. The band spent the past two years recording close to 30 songs. Now comes the task of choosing the 12 best songs to release.
Emilio Castillo is teasing a new Tower of Power album for 2017. The band spent the past two years recording close to 30 songs. Now comes the task of choosing the 12 best songs to release.
It’s what Castillo calls the Michael Jackson method of album making.
“You record way more than you need,” says Castillo, a founding member of the the Bay Area funk pioneers. Working this way takes time. The band hasn’t released an album in four years. But then, Tower of Power has never been quick about its records.
“Deadlines have never meant nothing to me,” says Castillo, talking in advance of the band’s concert Jan. 19 at Tachi Palace. “It’s ready when it’s ready.”
Tower of Power gained popularity in the 1970s as part of the music scene that formed in the Bay Area following the summer of love. While the band’s contemporaries, groups like Blood Sweat and Tears and Chicago, were bringing horn sections into rock and rock, Tower of Power kept to its roots as a soul band. They were originally known as the Motowns and changed their name and aesthetic to land a gig at the Fillmore in front of Bill Graham. The legendary promoter signed the band in 1970.
Over the next 40-plus years the group saw some success – 1973’s “So Very Hard to Go,” in particular – and cultivated a group of followers that tend toward the fanatic, Castillo says: “People who are into this, they are really into this.”
Still, Tower of Power has never been quite a household name.
We haven’t had the No. 1 smash hits and all that.
Emilio Castillo – saxophone and vocals, Tower of Power
It’s a duality Castillo experiences often; on an airplane for example, seated between two passengers who casually ask what he does for a living.
“One person will be freaking out. The other person will have no idea who I am,” he says.
Tower Of Power
- 6 p.m. Jan. 19
- Tachi Palace, 17225 Jersey Ave., Lemoore.
- 866-4PALACE, www.tachipalace.com