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Rocco Prestia

As the legendary bassist for the Tower of Power Rocco Prestia, has defined his own style and become synonymous with the much-imitated ‘Finger Style Funk' that he pioneered. A true innovator of his instrument, he is considered one of the premier bassists in music today.

Francis Rocco Prestia was born on March 7, 1951, in Sonora, California. Initially taking some guitar lessons Rocco stuck with the instrument long enough to audition for classmate Emilio Castillo's band at age 14. Under the tutelage of jazz guitarist Terry Saunders, he switched to bass. Saunders began teaching the band members how to play their parts for cover versions of tunes by the likes of the Beatles, the Animals, and Paul Revere & the Raiders. Before long, tenor saxophonist Castillo got hip to soul music through an East Bay horn band called the Spiders. He immediately added horns to his group, and the band began covering R&B tunes by James Brown, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, the Temptations, and Booker T. & the MG's. Of his own evolution during this period, Rocco says, “My influences were sounds more than specific bassists: Motown, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, Atlantic, and James Brown. It wasn't until later that I became aware of names like James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, Chuck Rainey, and Jerry Jemmott.”

With the horn section having swelled to five and the band having become a fixture at local clubs and dances, Castillo and Kupka (who came up with the name Tower Of Power) began writing originals. The final piece fell into place with the addition of drummer Dave Garibaldi in 1969.

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Everybody on the Bus

Self Produced
1999

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saxophone, alto
Tower of Power
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