Monday, August 25, 2008

TOP Ten reasons horn band members don’t marry each other by Al Carlos

10. They agree with the Bible which says Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.

9. None of the band members are gay or can even put a matching outfit together.

8. In Oakland when Homies get out of the penitentiary they usually go back to girls.

7. Someone would have to quit and get a straight job so they can have medical benefits.

6. They would accidentally murder their pets by being on the road so long.

5. If one got fired from the band, the other would mess up songs on purpose.

4. If they look uncomfortable dancing side by side could you imagine face to face?

3. They would rather find someone with money.

2. Don’t want to be honor bound to donate vital organs.

1. Being on the road with ten dudes is worse than being married.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tower of Power 40th Photos-August 13th San Mateo Ca.

The Photos below are courtesy of Frank Anzalone. These photos can not be reproduced without the written consent of Frank Anzalone. To contact Frank check out our link to Frank Anzalone Photography (right side of this page).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

TOP TEN things Mingo Fishtrap does when they play Seattle by Al Carlos

10. Go to Pikes market and squeeze local melons.

9. Take the underground tour to see if they can find deadbeat Dad musician friends from Texas.

8. Explain to bus boys its “Mingo”, not “Gringo” Fishtrap.

7. Go to the world’s first Starbucks and thank them for keeping them touring all these years.

6. Explain to the former rock players that the Needle is not literally from Space.

5. Try not to wear pointy cowboy boots while walking down steep hills.

4. Go to Seahawk Games in Dallas Cowboys gear and start fights.

3. Visit Woodland park zoo, and trap fish.

2. Visit Dr, Funk for yearly alcohol performance tolerance aptitude tests.

1. Stop by Oakland on the way over from Austin to pick up some Everett and Jones BBQ.

Mingo Fishtrap and Doctor FunK Together in Concert

DOCTORFUNK and MINGO FISHTRAP TOGETHER IN CONCERT! DoctorfunK and Mingo Fishtrap are appearing together in a split bill for those in the Pacific Northwest. Shows are scheduled for August 22 in Seattle, Washingon at the Highway 99 Club, and August 23 in Tacoma at JazzBones.Check out the DoctorfunK website or Mingo Fishtrap website for more show details and pick up your DoctorfunK and Mingo Fishtrap CDs and DVDs at

If your in the area don't miss this event. This is a major throwdown of Oakland Style Soul Music.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Jerry Wexler Dies at 91

Legendary producer Jerry Wexler, who invented the term "rhythm and blues" while helping shape the careers of stars such as Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, has died aged 91, reports said Friday.

Rolling Stone magazine reported on its website that Wexler, who ran Atlantic Records with Ahmet Ertegun from 1953 to 1975, died at his home in Florida.
During 22 years with Atlantic, Wexler worked with some of the music world's biggest names, including Charles, Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, Willie Nelson, Cher, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan.

"Because of him, we use the term 'rhythm and blues' and we hail Ray Charles as 'Genius' and Aretha Franklin as 'Queen,'" Rolling Stone commented.

Wexler, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, was born in New York in 1917 and served in the Navy during World War II.

After serving in the military he joined Billboard Magazine as a journalist, where he famously coined the term "rhythm and blues" before joining Atlantic as a partner in 1953.

At Atlantic he presided over a golden age of music, overseeing classic recordings by the likes of soul legend Charles, the Drifters and Ruth Brown.

In the 1960s, notable collaborations included Springfield's "Dusty in Memphis" album, and later he and Ertegun signed Led Zeppelin to Atlantic.

After leaving Atlantic in 1975, Wexler joined Warner Bros Records, where he worked with Dylan on the album "Slow Train Coming."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Al Carlos Hernandez'-TOP Ten countdowns

Ok, here is what we are hoping will the the first of many...Al Carlos Hernandez' top ten lists will be appearing here at So here we go...

TOP Ten reasons TOP has been on the road for 40 Years:

10.William Morris agency always forgets where they played last.

9. Fans are scattered though out the globe in witness protection programs.

8. The Hebrews wandered in the desert for 40 years, Emilio is a huge Moses fan.

7. Since they don’t get the radio airplay they deserve they have to serve it up live.

6. If band members stay home for more than a week they start messing with the neighbors.

5. They will soon have enough frequent flier miles to take their families to Pluto.

4. They keep getting new fans who want to see them live, while the older fans go back to prison where they belong.

3. Every time they are introduced being from Oakland the hotel evicts them.

2. People plan and look forward to seeing them once a year like in-laws.

1. They are relentless in their quest to find a cure for Honky pox.

(Congratulations Fellas on your 40th you have enriched my life)- Al Carlos

Happy 40th Tower Of Power

Well today's the day, its official, Tower of Power has now been performing for 40 Years. For Emilio Castillo and Doc Kupka that's 40 years together on-stage, uninterrupted. So Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary or whatever you want to call it, its simply 40 years of the best soul music out there.

Got a report from three different sources, that the show TOP did last night at the San Mateo County Fair (CA) had some surprise guests. Alumni Mic Gillette, Skip Mesquite, Lenny Pickett, Chester Thompson, and Bruce Conte were at the show, and performed. Roger Smith, still recovering from surgery, was at the show as well. So if your in and around San Mateo tonight, it might be a good idea to drop in, not sure who may show up, but it might be worth the price of admission.

Below is an article from the San Mateo daily news:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gotham City Crime Fighters

Before "Tower of Power" there was the "Gotham City Crime Fighters". Part of the East Bay music scene, the Gotham City Crime Fighters released "Who Stole The Batmobile" in March of 1966. The group was made up Emilio Castillo (sax and organ), Jack Castillo (drums) Jody Lopez (guitar) Frank "Rocco' Houghton (bass, and later to be known as Francis Rocco Prestia), and Dave Getner (vocals).

This group was originally known as the Extension Five, but became known as the Gotham City Crime Fighters as the Batman craze of the 60's took off. The band would later evolve into and R & B band known as the Motowns, to finally become Tower of Power.

In the player below is "Who Stole The Batmobile".

Herman Matthews and Friends.

So you want some info on Herman Matthews and what he doing when not playing with Tom Jones. Check out the article from "Bobby G" at the "Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns Blog". Great job Bobby, and some nice photos as well (web address below).

Tower Of Power 40 Years and Still Bumpin'

This month marks the 40th anniversary of one of our favorite bands "Tower of Power". We will be running some features regarding the band over the next weeks, and months. So to kick it off, here is a article from our friend Al Carlos Hernandez about Towers new 2 disc CD:

Al Carlos Hernandez

The seminal R&B horn driven funk master supreme band Tower of Power has reached way back into their trick bag and has issued a 2 disc CD set entitled The East Bay Archive Volume 1. The two joint set is a concert captured live on April 23, 1973 at a club in Boston. The anal audio cats need to stand down and stop sniveling the sound quality. The CD as one would expect is not up to TOP studio standards, the sound is that of an authorized Bootleg, but worth every penny if you have ever taken a music lesson or have at least one ounce of hip in your dance DNA.

According to Archive producer, 2008 Drum legends award winner David Garibaldi, “Throughout my first 10 years with the band. I collected reel to reel tapes, and cassettes of our rehearsals and shows. These recordings document our evolution as a group, and are a historical record of the development of the Tower of Power sound. Over the years, I would occasionally listen to some of these tapes, and marvel at how we were always trying to reach beyond ourselves into that creative space where great music lives”.

“The initial volumes of The East Bay Archive will be from my private collection, and covers the period from August 1971 to Spring 1980, but there is certainly more, and eventually, recordings from later years will be included. The release of this material was put in motion at the suggestion of our Manager Pat Rains, as a way to celebrate our 40th anniversary and further connect with our fans”.

The two CD set needs to be listened to loud, the tunes, the rhythm, the banter slingshot me back to the days of Daddy Mac brims, floor length trench coats, El Dorado drop tops and red hot Mamas with high Feathered hair, got my game up tight Babe, shoulda known that up in front…

Founding band member, Doctor Steven Kupka recalls a certain Black and White divide in Boston at the time, something that the band was not used to coming from the San Francisco the Bay Area. “We were originally booked to play a soul club in the Roxbury area which was predominantly Black. But when the club owner saw our promo picture and realized we were not an all Black band he cancelled the engagement. He told us that he didn’t want to cancel us but he was afraid that there would be a race riot if the crowd found out we were white, even thou the band was fronted by Lenny Williams and Chester Thompson. Needless to say we were determined to dominate Boston in our 5 days at this K-K-K Katy’s gig”.

Bandleader Emilio Castillo and Doc recall, “The vibe was hipper in the cellar at Katy’s, where hippies and Super Fly types commingled. They didn’t seem to mind our color. In that racial climate, it was particularly gratifying to see blacks whites partying together, equally enthusiastic about the music”.

The Godfather of soul, James Brown once said praising the predominantly white group R&B Tower of Power, “There is no black group that plays my stuff as good as them”.

The two disc set includes 18 tunes, including all of the hits, What is Hip, So very hard to go, Still a young man, (Which provokes an intensely embarrassing emotional reaction in my friend comedian George Lopez), Don’t Change Horses, and a very special rendition of the flute powered gem, Sparkling in the Sand. Big shout out to original TOP guitar player Sparkling co-writer Jody Lopez for the Latin bass line in the tune.

Tower of Power is not an Oldies band, they are just a big now as they ever were and maintain a touring calendar that takes them around the world several times a year. The band is celebrating their 40th year, they have never broken up, during the lean years when the world went androgynous masked as disco, the horn section kept The Fellas in business working with everyone including Elton John.

Recently, music icon Doc Kupka released a collection of traditional love songs on his Strokeland label, and has received high praise and talks of maybe a future collaboration with Barbara Streisand.

The archive CD is the first release on the bands TOP Records label. There is a new studio CD of the band in the works which is being mixed and schedule to be released early next year they plan to cover classic R&B tunes and will feature guest artists as Sir Tom Jones, Huey Lewis, and Joss Stone.

The East Bay Archive Vol 1 is a must for any serious R&B real music lover, and if you don’t know you need to ask somebody and they better not be someone square. The CD is available on line at;

As a post script to this article, the new CD will be available at other outlets as well updates will be posted then those links are established.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fred Ross is a busy guy

Fred Ross has over the years been a very busy guy. Fred has recorded with a number of artists in the past including Pee Wee Ellis, Miguel Migs, and Doc Kupkas Strokeland Super Band, and plays frequently around the San Francisco Bay Area with his own band "The Fred Ross Project", as well as other Bay Area Bands.

Most recently however, Fred completed a brief European tour with Pee Wee Ellis and Fred Wesley doing "An African Tribute To James Brown". Fred Ross of coarse provided the vocals. This month the same tribute band will be doing a few shows in the US, and there are talks that this effort, or some version of it will tour in 2009.

The current tour of the Pee Wee Ellis, Fred Wesley tribute to James Brown is as follows:

Aug 19th-Dartmouth College-Hanover, NH
Aug 20th-Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, MA
Aug 21st-Kimmel Center-Philadelphia, PA
Aug 22nd-Lincoln Center-New York, NY
Aug 23rd-930 Club-Washington, DC
Aug 25th-The Dokota Room-Minneapolis, MN
Aug 26th-Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago IL

When back in the Bay Area, Fred can be found 2-3 times a week playing at Harry Denton's Starlight Room on top of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel as well as other venues.

For more info on Fred, check out his myspace page at:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Issac Hayes Dead at 65

8-10-08, 1:10 PM PDT (CNN) -- Soul singer and arranger Isaac Hayes, who won Grammy awards and an Oscar for the theme from the 1971 action film "Shaft," has died, sheriff's officials in Memphis, Tennessee, reported Sunday.

Relatives found Hayes, 65, unconscious in his home next to a still-running treadmill, said Steve Schular, a spokesman for the Shelby County Sheriff's Department. Paramedics attempted to revive him and took him to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 2 p.m., the sheriff's department said. No foul play is suspected, the agency said in a written statement.

Hayes was a longtime songwriter and arranger for Stax Records in Memphis, playing in the studio's backup band and crafting tunes for artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave in the 1960s. He released his first solo album in 1967. In 1971, the theme from "Shaft" became a pop hit and won an Academy Award for best original theme song. The song and the movie score also won Grammy awards for best original score and movie theme. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.