Renowned funk drummer David Garibaldi has announced his departure from Tower of Power.

Garibaldi first joined the Oakland-based band in the summer of 1970, and they released their debut album, East Bay Grease, via Bill Graham‘s Fillmore Records later that year. His distinctive drum grooves became an integral part of the group’s sound, and he helped to write some of the band’s most notable songs, including “What Is Hip?”. Following in the tradition of funky drummers like Clyde Stubblefield and John ‘Jabo’ Starks, his signature drumming style, utilizing complex patterns of syncopated 16th notes and displaced backbeats, became hugely influential.

After leaving Tower of Power in the mid-1970s to work with other artists including Natalie Cole, Jermaine Jackson, Boz Scaggs, Deniece Williams, and Yellowjackets, he rejoined the band in 1998 and has been actively touring and recording ever since, in addition to becoming a world-renowned drum educator.

In a message to fans, the 77-year-old musician expressed gratitude for his time with ToP but said his body told him it was time to give up touring with the band and finally unpack his bags for the first time in over 20 years.

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“Brothers and Sisters of The Drum and everyone else…!!! Greetings form the west coast,” he began. “Today, with great satisfaction and a feeling of deep fulfillment and humility, I’m announcing that as of January 12, 2024, my time with Tower of Power has reached its end. I always told myself and others that when it’s time to leave the Million Gig March, that I would know. Well, that happened last July as we were nearing the end of our European tour. My body told me. My body told me and I listened. By the time I got home from last year’s touring on December 18, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that I had enough.”

He went on to describe how playing over 100 shows in six months last year left him feeling worn out before clarifying that he is by no means retiring:

Just so that I could be sure about how I felt, I looked back at our schedule and was amazed to see that we had been on the road for approximately 180 days…that’s 6 months. 180 days that included 110 shows and a few recording days thrown in for good measure. Into that mix went my other commitments, rehearsals and preparation for the Christmas tour and honestly, I was worn out. I also realized that I had kept my bags packed for over 20 years. It has been constant touring since I rejoined the band in February 1998. Since then, there were many years that were 150-175 shows, which can mean 200 days traveling. As we said many times, “you can’t be a pussy if you want to be in a funk band!”

The Million Gig March is global. What an incredible education that has been. You know you’ve traveled a lot when you have favorite restaurants in other countries. Truth be told, I love my TOP brothers. Everything I know about how to be in a band, I learned there. It’s been my life and my school. I’ve never wanted to be in any other band. For me, this has been a mountaintop experience. What blessing it has been.

So…what will I do? The first thing was unpacking my bags, then very soon, my wife and I are headed somewhere to get sun and relax, then I’ll come home and get after things again. There’s always lots to do. By no means am I “retired”…I’m just not on the tour bus. I’m very much looking forward to see what’s next! God bless you all and I hope to update you again soon.

– DG

Swipe the Instagram post below to read the full statement from David Garibaldi.

Tower of Power is set to kick off a winter tour celebrating 55 years of funk and soul in February. No word yet on who will fill in for David Garibaldi. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the band’s website.


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