Tower of Power

Boarding House Park
40 French Street
Lowell, MA Venue Information
Buy Tickets Thursday July 30, 2015 7:30 PM
$38 in advance / $138 premium / $45 day of concert
No ticket fees!

Special Guest: Vanessa Collier




For well 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 in San Francisco 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 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." As it turned out, Bill Graham 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.

After many appearances at the Fillmore, Tower of Power celebrated their 40th anniversary in 2008 at a very special reunion show there. In addition to the ten current members of the band, another 20 musicians and vocalists that at one time held a positon with the band appeared with them. The show was filmed and issued as a DVD and has appeared on PBS.

"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.

In 2014, Tower of Power was on the road - a lot - as a result of their tour with Journey and the Steve Miller Band. 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!


Find more info at: towerofpower.com



Special Guest: Vanessa Collier




Vanessa Collier is a captivating and multitalented blues vocalist, saxophonist, and songwriter, hailing from Berklee College of Music where she earned dual degrees in Performance and Music Production & Engineering. Prior to releasing her debut album in August 2014, Vanessa spent a year and a half touring in the U.S. and internationally with Grammy Award-winning, Blues Hall of Fame Artist Joe Louis Walker. Vanessa has also played alongside Annie Lennox, Kathy Mattea, Willie Nelson, and other notable artists.

Most recently, Vanessa was honored on Dan Aykroyd's House of Blues Radio Show (Elwood's BluesMobile) as a Best of 2014 Blues Breaker Featured Artist. She was also selected as a top three finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition and, in March 2015, earned a coveted spot to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee in 2016 by winning the Billtown Blues Challenge.

On her debut album, heart soul & saxophone, Vanessa demonstrates her skills as a master musician and songwriter, blending her blues background with elements of funk, rock, and soul. Vanessa's powerful vocals, gritty saxophone solos, and incredible high-energy performance create a powerful show not to be missed!

Find more info at: vanessacollier.com





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