Tower of Power booking

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Tower of Power

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Formed in 1967 in Oakland, California, USA, this durable funky soul group – Rufus Miller (vocals),
Greg Adams (trumpet), Emilio ‘Mimi’ Castillo (Detroit, Michigan, USA; saxophone), Steve Kupka
(saxophone), Lenny Pickett (saxophone), David Padron (trumpet), Mic Gillette (horns), Willie Fulton
(guitar), Francis Prestia (bass), Brent Byers (percussion) and David Garibaldi (drums) – was originally
known as the Motowns/Motown Soul Band. One of several Bay Area outfits preferring soul to its
prevalent acid-rock sound, Tower Of Power’s debut album, East Bay Grease, followed several popular
appearances at San Francisco’s Fillmore auditorium. Having now signed to the Warner Brothers
Records label, the group’s next two albums, Bump City and Tower Of Power, produced a hit single
each in ‘You’re Still A Young Man’ and ‘So Very Hard To Go’, but their progress was hampered by a
recurring vocalist problem.
Miller was replaced firstly by Rick Stevens and then Lenny Williams (b. February 1945, San Francisco,
California, USA), while the rhythm section also proved unstable. Other members passing through were
Chester Thompson (vocals/organ), Skip Mesquite (saxophone/flute), Ken Balzell (trumpet) and Bruce
Conte (guitar/vocals). Curiously, the horn section stayed intact and was much in demand for session
work, a factor that doubtlessly kept the parent group intact despite dwindling commercial fortunes.
‘Don’t Change Horses (In The Middle Of A Stream)’ (1974) was the group’s last US Top 30 single, and
they switched to Columbia Records in 1976 for three lacklustre albums. Still bedevilled by personnel
changes, recordings under their own name are now infrequent, but the brass players remain part of
the west coast backroom circle for their work with, among others, Huey Lewis and Phil Collins.

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