Tower of Power are marking their 50th anniversary with a new album -- on top of a tour featuring the soul band's classics such as "So Very Hard to Go" and "What Is Hip."
Co-founder Emilio Castillo says he and co-founder Doc Kupka never expected to be legends -- or sustain their brand for five decades.
Tower of Power's Emilio Castillo talked about the origins of the band:
"It's not as though we had vision back then. We were just a bunch of kids. When I met Doc, I was 17 years old. But I was firmly commited to soul music. And he was a like-minded soul. We met each other, we immediately realized we had a love for all kinds of real, good soul music. Particularly Memphis Soul, James Brown, a lot of Chicago Soul, like, y' know, Curtis Mayfield, The Impressions, that kinda stuff."
They don't mind their band being called "music's best kept secret." Castillo feels the band's biggest mistake was leaving Warner Brothers Records in the mid-'70s for Columbia, where they got lost behind the label's bigger names. Worse, they got away from their soul-funk-rock sound and experimented with disco and "soft jazz." Emilio says the label considered them "a problem that needed to be solved." It never worked -- until they returned to their roots.
Castillo says the band stays true to its tradition in their 50th anniversary release Soul Side of Town :
"We tried to make the best Tower of Power record we could. We're not looking to come out with the new reggae or the new hip hop Tower of Power, you know? We've learned a long time ago that just be ourselves -- polish that diamond, keep chipping away at that sculpure and make it the best it can be. And the fans seems to love it when we do it."