Tower of Power – Tickets – College Street Music Hall. – New Haven, CT – August 4th, 2017

Tower of Power

Premier Concerts and Manic Presents:

Tower of Power

Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez

Fri, August 4, 2017

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$30.00 - $75.00

This event is all ages

This event is fully reserved seated on the Floor and in the Balcony.

Tower of Power
Tower of Power
For close to five decades, Tower of Power has delivered the best in Rhythm and Blues music. But, as group co-founder Emilio Castillo says, they could have had a much different name.

“We were a Soul band called The Motowns.” he recalls. "Rocco Prestia was the bass player, I was in there, and my brother was the drummer. I met Doc Kupka at the Alameda County Fair over the Fourth of July weekend back in 1968, and gave him an audition. He came in the band, and we eventually changed our name to the Tower of Power.” The reason for the band name change was that they had a specific goal in mind.

“We wanted to get into the Fillmore Auditorium and with a name like the Motowns, dressed in suits with razor cuts, we knew we’d never get in there. We grew our hair long, and started to be hippies, and changed our name. Doc then suggested to me that we should start writing our own songs. Our first song was ‘You’re Still A Young Man.”

The gig at the Fillmore was a major goal for the band, which incidentally came along at just the right time. “At the time, we had been playing nightclubs, and we had gotten busted for being underage. We had been playing underage in nightclubs for years. That’s all we knew. One night, the ABC came in, and caught the trumpet player drinking a screwdriver, and the next thing we knew, they put a notice out to all the clubs in the Bay Area that if they hired us again, they would lose their liquor license. We found ourselves with no work and no money. My parents had moved to Detroit and I was on my own for the first time. I was broke and hungry, and all I did was rehearse. We wrote the songs for the East Bay Grease record, and we practiced them every day. By the time November came around, we were at the end of our rope. I told the guys that I was going to Detroit for the holidays to see my parents, and if nothing happened with this audition, I wasn’t coming back.”

Fortunately, he did have to make a return trip to the Bay Area. “A couple of days later, Doc called me, and said ‘You’ve gotta come back. He dug it.” I said ‘Who dug it?” He said ‘Bill Graham.’ As it turned out, Bill and David Rubinson – the producer for his new label, San Francisco Records - liked the band because we were soulful. Everyone had grown out of the whole psychedelic thing. Bands like Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead had been happening for about three years. The collective ear of the Bay Area was ready for something soulful. That’s right when we came along.”

Their first record, East Bay Grease, 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 were a boom period for the group, who hit with radio classics like “So Very Hard To Go” and “What Is Hip?” and the band has continued to tour and record over the years with their latest project Hipper Than Hip being a live flash back to their 1974 tour. Castillo says their love of the stage is the same today as it was back in 1968.

“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. We noticed years ago that when we did that, the fans liked it. We stay true to that, and that makes it easy to go to work on a daily basis. Every time we go to play, we’re playing music we love because we got to make it our way” The thrill of stepping on stage has never gone away, because as Castillo says, he loves the attention. “Let’s face it. Musicians are some of the most self-centered people in the world. So, that never gets old. People ask what it feels like to hear your song on the radio. It never gets old. What’s it like to see yourself on TV? Again, it never gets old.”

In 2014, Tower of Power will be on the road – a lot – as a result of their tour with Journey and the Steve Miller Band. He credits their involvement to an old friend, Journey guitarist Neal Schon. “We’ve known him for years, back to when he was hired to play in Carlos Santana’s band as an extra guitarist. When we were new, Carlos really dug the band, and he used to take us on tour – even when people around the nation didn’t know us. Some of those nights, we were playing at a high level, and gave him a good run for his money. He liked that. He liked being challenged. It made him play better. At the time, Neil was in the band, and we’ve known him ever since then. About a year or two ago, he noticed our presence was becoming a little more known on the Internet and TV. He came to a few gigs, and the next thing we know, we get this offer to tour,” he says with a smile.

Fans that come out to see Tower of Power this year will get a look at their brand new lead singer, Ray Greene. Castillo says he’s a perfect fit. “It’s phenomenal. Most bands lose their singer, and it’s over. But, we’ve changed singers and other players so many times, the fans actually get excited about who’s next.” he said, as the band has had over forty members throughout their history. “I worked on finding a new singer for about a year, and prayed about it a lot. I found out about Ray, and he’s amazing. All the guys come on stage, and we just think ‘Wow. God has really blessed us.’ He’s 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. Ray’s got everything – he looks great, he sings great, he’s a good person. We’re just really blessed to have him.”

With a new member comes a new attitude, and Emilio says it’s contagious. “Everybody in the band is saying ‘Wow, what is happening?’ You get to an age where we’re at and things can start to run down but it seems like for us that things are really kicking into high gear.”

And, that’s the way Tower of Power likes it!

When asked to describe the band's music, the group members give a variety of responses. Says Emilio, “What Tower plays is Oakland soul music.” Former Tower saxophonist Lenny Pickett, current musical director for the Saturday Night Live band, says “TOP is the world's best rhythm and blues band.” In reality, TOP's horn-driven, in- your-face sound is all its own. Read more about Tower of Power at http://www.towerofpower.com.

Emilio Castillo - bandleader, 2nd tenor sax, vocals
Stephen "Doc" Kupka - baritone sax
Rocco Prestia - bass
David Garibaldi - drums
Roger Smith - keyboards
Tom Politzer - lead tenor sax
Adolfo Acosta - trumpet
Jerry Cortez - guitar
Sal Cracchiolo - trumpet & trombone
Ray Greene - lead vocalist
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez
Christine Ohlman & Rebel Montez
This queen of blue-eyed rock n’ soul, who grew up loving equally the sweetness of a Memphis horn line and the raunch of an electric guitar riff, whether played by Muddy Waters, Keith Richards, or Pop Staples, teased her blonde hair into a beehive in honor of Ronnie Spector and never looked back, picking up a guitar and forging a career as a songwriter in the process. She’s the current, long-time vocalist with the Saturday Night Live Band (SNL40’s anniversary post-show concert also featured her star turn onstage with Jimmy Fallon, Elvis Costello and the B-52s), whose latest CD, The Deep End, was honored on five national Top Ten lists and features special guests/duet partners Ian Hunter, Dion DiMucci, and Marshall Crenshaw, plus Levon Helm, GE Smith, Andy York, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, Catherine Russell, Big Al Anderson, and others. Ohlman topped the Alternate Root.com’s Readers’ Poll as top Americana vocalist, joining other winners Paul Thorn, The Mavericks and Rodney Crowell.

Ohlman’s legendary voice and stage presence (she’s known as “The Beehive Queen” for her towering blonde hairdo) have most recently been featured at the 2016 AMA Conference in Nashville; The PBS series “Music City Roots” with Bonnie Bramlett, Sarah Potenza and the McCrary Sisters during June, 2016; 2016 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’s Tribute To David Bowie; on numerous guest vocal shots on the HBO series “Vinyl" that feature a duet with Elvis Costello; on SNL’s 40th Anniversary telecast (pulled onstage by Jimmy Fallon at the after-party concert at the Plaza Hotel, she tore the roof off with the B52s as her backup vocalists), “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” (guest shot with Black 47); the 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Concert in Cleveland (filmed by HBO); the Carnegie Hall tribute to the Rolling Stones; the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Little Kids Rock galas in NYC (taking the stage with Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Elvis Costello, Steve Miller, Graham Nash, Bill Medley, Tom Morello and others); and the 2012-2015 WC Handy Festivals (she was the special guest of the Blind Boys Of Alabama and soul queen Candi Staton, and helmed a sold-out tribute to legendary producer Jerry Wexler; in 2015 she was the festival’s Grand Marshall and co-billed with iconic guitarist Travis Wammack), as well as on both SNL’s 25th and the aforementioned 40th Anniversary telecasts; Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary bash at The Garden (with George Harrison, Chrissie Hynde, and others); the 2013 Obama Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C.; The Lincoln Center “American Songbook” series with Sting, Lou Reed and Van Dyke Parks; and the Central Park Summerstage Tribute To Janis Joplin (where she fronted both Big Brother & The Holding Company and the Kozmic Blues Band).

She appears on Grammy nominees A Tribute To Howlin’ Wolf (with Taj Mahal and Lucinda Williams) and Charlie Musselwhite’s One Night In America (with Marty Stuart); sings the theme song for NBC’s 30 Rock; worked on a musical with the late Cy Coleman (who compared her sense of timing to Peggy Lee’s); duets live with friends like the aforementioned Miss Spector, Mac Rebennack (two private evening of duets she calls “absolute highlights”), Americana stalwart Paul Thorn, Bonnie Bramlett (who has become a longtime friend), Muscle Shoals legends Donnie Fritts and John Paul White of the Civil Wars, and New Orleans mainstays The Subdudes (she joins The ‘Dudes, BB King, Irma Thomas, Richard Thompson and others on Get You A Healin’ to benefit the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic and has guest-hosted five editions of “Down On The Bayou” during successive Jazz & Heritage Fests with Widespread Panic’s JoJo Hermann, again to benefit The Clinic); worked often with the late blues giants Hubert Sumlin and Eddie Kirkland; collaborated on critically-acclaimed tracks with Marshall Crenshaw (Labour Of Love: The Music of Nick Lowe), Big Al Anderson (Pawn Shop Guitars), and Ian Hunter (When I’m President and Shrunken Heads); edited legendary Rolling Stones producer Andrew Loog Oldham’s autobiography 2Stoned and appears also on Oldham’s historic 2013 release “Andrew Loog Oldham and Friends Sing The Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2”). A musicologist of note, Ohlman is a cover-story-writing contributor to Elmore Magazine, and worked with Bonnie Raitt, Ry Cooder & others on the Rhythm & Blues Foundation Awards.

Ohlman tours relentlessly, torching clubs up and down the Eastern Seaboard in support of her recordings (Strip, The Hard Way, Radio Queen, Wicked Time, 2008 career retrospective Re-Hive, the aforementioned The Deep End, 2011 concert DVD Live Hive and 2016’s upcoming “The Grown-Up Thing” with her band Rebel Montez (Michael Colbath-bass; Cliff Goodwin-guitar; Larry Donahue-drums).

“I’ve come here tonight to set your souls on fire,” she’ll tell an audience. And she will.
Venue Information:
College Street Music Hall.
238 College Street
New Haven, CT, 06510
http://www.collegestreetmusichall.com