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Tower of Power performs in Riverside

BY SAMANTHA GENTRY | MARCH 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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In the final minutes before a show starts, the 10 members of Tower of Power gather to pray, because they believe they are "making music for the glory of God."

In 1988, when the musicians had been playing together for 20 years, they realized it was time to start sobering up.

"At that time, San Francisco was all about sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll," said Emilio Castillo, the founder of Tower of Power. "We realized we had been in the toughest time in our career, and we came out of it. People even started calling us legends."

Twenty-four years later, the band is still playing for audiences all over the country, and at 7:30 p.m. Friday, it will perform at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, 3184 Highway 22, Riverside.

Admission ranges from $19 to $42.

Castillo never thought that when he started the band in 1968 that he would wind up where he is today.

"I was just a kid who wanted to play music; I didn't have that kind of scope," he said. "I loved music, I loved performing, and I loved the band. I had no idea how much farther it was going to go than my dreams of just going to Sacramento."

Tower of Power's music style has changed over the years, but the members have always been interested in the smooth sounds of soul.

The band has recorded moer than 20 albums, and it has recently been back in the studio working on a new album, Great American Soulbook. Nine tracks have been recorded, but the process is going slowly because the band members are recording between tours and shows.

Keyboardist Roger Smith said the process has been going great.

"We are stockpiling a lot of songs so that we can [narrow] it down to which tunes are going to make the cut," he said. "We get to interact with each other and get our ideas across in structuring these songs."

Smith has been with the band for about 13 years now. The keyboard he uses is called a Hammond B-3, which gives a specific sound because of its large wooden frame. He took the place of Chester Thompson, who, Smith said, left some huge footprints.

"It's been an interesting ride keeping true to the [Tower of Power] sound and finding myself, too," Smith said. "Whenever you follow behind someone as formidable as [Thompson], it's intimidating, because he is a brilliant keyboardist."

Drummer David Garibaldi, who has been with Tower of Power since 1970, believes he was born to play in the band.

"After all these years, I'm not interested in being in anything else," he said. "I love the guys because we still make great music together."

Tower of Power hasn't been to Iowa City since the 1980s, so the members look forward to bringing their music to people who are starving for it, Castillo said.

"[Audiences] are going to see a show that is unlike any show they have ever been to," Garibaldi said. "They are going to see really great musicians perform as a team and unit that I believe is better than any other band today."


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