Tower of Power brings mighty sound to Kaua‘i

The best way to describe Tower of Power’s sound is soulful. Influenced by the music of James Brown and Curtis Mayfield, Tower of Power leader Emilio Castillo started the band in 1968.

“It seems like yesterday,” he said. “I’d be lying if I said we didn’t have our struggles, but it’s been quite a bit of fun.” Tower of Power’s sound echoes that of Brown and Mayfield in their songs such as “Ain’t Nothin’ Stoppin’ Us Now” and “We Came To Play.” They even have a song called “Diggin’ on James Brown.” Lyrics for that read: “It doesn’t matter what I’ve been through/I’ll still be diggin’ on James Brown/It may be a different age but I’m on the same page/One thing that I’ve found/I’ll still be diggin’ on James Brown.” Having toured all over the world, Tower of Power makes its way to the islands for a short Hawai‘i tour, stopping first on Kaua‘i. Tonight the band will perform at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall at 7:30 p.m.

Castillo said fans will be treated to series of old and new music.

“It’s very high-energy, but we don’t only play fast, upbeat music. We have ballads that show our soft sides as well,” Castillo said.

One his favorites is the love song “For Time Will Tell.” “It’s a waltz, and the singer just burns it down,” he said.

Fans may have heard Tower of Power’s sounds as backup for popular artists such as Aerosmith, the Eurythmics, Rod Stewart and Santana, but Castillo explains that members have found success as a complete band themselves.

“People see us on Neil Diamond, but it doesn’t make up a huge part of who we are. We’ll do recordings with them, they like what they hear, and then we’re done,” he said.

These days, Castillo said he listens to a lot of gospel music, acknowledging some of his current inspirations, Fred Hammond and Yolanda Adams.

“I’m a soul music addict— anything with soul,” he said.

Tower of Power has managed to tour the world, is working on two albums — both expected to be released this year — and will also release a DVD.

“We’re looking to remake a lot of our old soul music and record an all-original CD. And we’ve just finished our live DVD that we shot in Germany,” he said.

Castillo said he thinks he and the band will stick around to meet and greet some of the fans.

“We have a loyal fan base out there, and that’s really great for us,” he said.

Tickets may still be available at the Big K-mart in Lihu‘e, the Hanalei Surf Company and Street Eagle Motorcycles in Lihu‘e. Call first for availability.

Otherwise, tickets may be available at the door for $45.

Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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