Tower of Power

Tower of Power were an American soul-funk band from Oakland that debuted with the album East Bay Grease on San Francisco Records in 1970, followed by five studio albums and a live disc on Warner Bros. between 1972 and 1976. A further trio of titles appeared on Columbia during the remainder of the decade.

Members: Emilio Castillo (saxophone, vocals), Stephen Kupka (saxophone), Rufus Miller (vocals, 1968-72), David Padron (trumpet, 1968-72), Skip Mesquite (saxophone, 1968-73), Willy Fulton (guitar, 1968-73, 1981-91), Mic Gillette (trumpet, trombone, 1968-86), Greg Adams (trumpet, 1968-93), Francis Rocco Prestia (bass, 1968-78, 1986-present), Rick Stevens (vocals, 1972-73), David Garibaldi (drums, 1970-76, 1979-82, 1999-present), Lenny Williams (vocals, 1972-74), Brent Byars (percussion, 1972-74), Bruce Conte (guitar, 1973-79, 2006-present), Lenny Pickett (saxophone, 1973-82, 1993-95), Chester Thompson (keyboards, 1973-82), Carter Collins (percussion, 1974-75), Hubert Tubbs (vocals, 1975-76), Edward McGee (vocals, 1976-78), Ron E. Beck (drums, 1976-79), Victor Conte (bass, 1978-79), Michael Jeffries (vocals, 1978-86), Danny Hoefer (guitar, 1979-81), Vito San Filippo (bass, 1979-86), Rick Waychesko (trumpet, 1981-82), David K. Mathews (organ, 1982-85), Marc Russo (saxophone, 1982-86), Mark Sanders (drums, 1982-86), Ellis Hall (vocals, 1986-91), Richard Elliot (saxophone, 1986-91), Mick Mestek (drums, 1986-91), Lee Thornburg (trumpet, 1986-95, 2011-?), Nick Milo (keyboards, 1988-99)

Tower of Power evolved from The Motowns, formed in 1968 by singing saxophonist Emilio Castillo and fellow saxist Stephen Kupka. They performed throughout Oakland and Berkley to a mix of soul, psych, and Latin-rock fans. Just before a prestigious gig at Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium, they changed their name to Tower of Power.

In 1970, they signed to Graham’s San Francisco Records with a ten-piece lineup that included bassist Francis “Rocco” Prestia, guitarist Willie Fulton, drummer David Garibaldi, saxophone Skip Mesquite, and trumpeters Greg Adams and Mic Gillette.


  • East Bay Grease (1970)
  • Bump City (1972)
  • Tower of Power (1973)
  • Back to Oakland (1974)
  • Urban Renewal (1975)
  • In the Slot (1975)
  • Ain’t Nothin’ Stoppin’ Us Now (1976)
  • Live and in Living Color (live, 1976)
  • We Came to Play! (1978)
  • Back on the Streets (1979)
  • Direct (1981)
  • T.O.P. (1986)
  • Power (1988)


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