Back Home With Tower Of Power

Drummer David GaribaldiTower Of Power made David Garibaldi a household name among drummers back in the ’70s. But David insists he had no intentions of going back to his old band – until fate intervened. “I went to see them at the Fillmore and enjoyed the show,” Garibaldi recalls. “Then they went to Europe, and their drummer at the time, Herman Matthews, decided it was time to leave. So they called to see if I’d be interested. Initially I thought I’d just do a short tour of Japan in early ’98. I hadn’t played that music in eighteen years! But after doing a few shows, we all realized that I belonged there.”

According to Garibaldi, it took him about six months to really get into the flow of the music. Even though he had a hand in developing their original sound, the years had changed his approach somewhat. “I feel a lot more comfortable with the music now than ever,” he states. “It’s probably because I feel more comfortable on the instrument in general, and I have a better sense of who I am musically and as a person. I think the experiences I’ve had over the past several years loosened me up a bit. So I think I approach the music in a much looser way. It’s still in the tradition of the music, and it’s still very groove- and part-oriented. But I just play it differently.”

The Tower concerts cover all the eras of the band, and Garibaldi admits he had to relearn some of the parts. “I changed some of the things because I felt I needed to either upgrade them or make them simpler to play. I made minor modifications to almost everything. I would think, ‘Is this the way I want to do it now? Does this make sense, or was I just trying to prove a point that I could do it back then?’ I moved a few snare drum hits or used a different bass drum beat or simplified a hi-hat pattern. When we do the tunes everybody likes, I still play those pretty much the same way. And since I’ve been back for the past year and a half, we’ve changed things further, added a lot of things, and changed the arrangements. It’s a very dynamic situation.”

Tower’s double-CD anthology, What Is Hip?, was recently released, as was a live record, Soul Vaccination: Tower Of Power Live. “By the time we got to the end of last year, when we decided to record the shows, we were all pretty toasted from so much touring,” David says. “Still, I think the performances on the record are really cool.”

Garibaldi can’t say enough about what a pleasure it is to be playing with his old bandmates. “I realized this was something I was perfectly suited for,” he says. “I get along great with the guys in the band. I don’t have anyone looking over my shoulder, and I have room to create and do all the crazy things I want to do. And I get to play with Rocco Prestia, one of the greatest bass players who ever lived. So it’s incredible. I feel like I’m at home.”