Oakland declares 'Tower of Power Day,' reminding the world what is hip

- Today is Tower of Power Day in Oakland, where everyone young and old is invited to be reminded “what is hip” about these homegrown band.

The band, now 50 years old, will be celebrated Thursday at noon in front of Oakland City Hall, just ahead of their performances this weekend at the Fox Theater. Hopefully, they’ll play at least two of their signature hits: “You’re Still  a Young Man” and “What is Hip.” 

In honor of their half-century anniversary, the band is releasing the "Soul Side of Town," which includes the songs “Oakland Stroke” and “East Bay.” 

Band members will always consider Oakland their home, even if they say they can't afford to live here anymore.

"We lived here, partied here and wrote all of our songs here," original saxophonist and/vocalist Emilio Castillo told KTVU on Thursday morning ahead of the festivities. "Oakland is a blue-collar town with down-to-earth people." 

Both he and co-founder Stephen “Doc” Kupka said they were thrilled to be honored in such a way.

Castillo lives in Phoenix and Kupka lives in Los Angeles. Both said the home prices in the Bay Area are too pricey for their blood.

Long before home prices started to soar, the Tower of Power magic began in the summer of 1968.

That's when Castillo met Kupka who played baritone sax and tried out for him at his home. As the band tells it, Emilio’s father called him into the kitchen and offered the following advice: “Hire that guy, he’s got something.” 

On August 13, 1968, Tower of Power began playing gigs in Oakland and Berkeley, and their musical history began.

Over the years, the Tower of Power Horns have traveled the globe and recorded with hundreds of artists including Aerosmith, Elton John, Little Feat, Phish, Santana, Heart.

 

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