Dave with the band in 1973 (lower left)

Dave with the band today.

David Garibaldi: Drums

One of the great things for me about Tower of Power is that we share a common approach to making music. We’ve always had players who understand what it means to be a team. It’s a very “old school” philosophy. We're the sum of our parts -- that’s our strength. We take the stage as ten individuals, but there comes a time in the set when everyone locks into the moment, we’re all in the same place and we become…one person, one entity.

I started playing music in the Pleasanton Elementary School band, then in my senior year in high school I joined the Sid Reis Big Band -- my first “pro” gig. After high school I joined a funk band called The Disciples and my journey with Tower started in 1970, in Lake Tahoe, Calif. There have been so many memorable shows, but the most significant would have to be the weekend we opened for Aretha Franklin at the Fillmore West in San Francisco. When I think about watching her from the wings leading King Curtis and the Kingpins with Bernard Purdie on drums…that was awesome.

Writing “What Is Hip?” with Doc (Kupka) and Emilio (Castillo) -- boy, that sure turned out OK., didn't it? (Laughs.) So it’s hard for me to appreciate it’s impact in a socio-cultural way – give me a break! (Laughs.) It was so much a song for the times. That’s how I think of it, coming at a tumultuous time of change and upheaval in the Bay Area in the early Seventies. Because that’s the environment we were born into, the time we came of age. And we still have that attitude in our music, I think. We’re still just…doing our thing.

We spent a lot of time “searching” in the Seventies, striving to realize our goals, as people and as musicians. There was lots of self-examination. (Laughs.) And you learn that, if you play enough music and work with enough people – if you experience enough life -- you find out what’s really important. In retrospect, I must say, accepting where I’m at came more easily, more quickly, than I thought it would. It’s a satisfying feeling, actually.

Not that I want to get complacent! (Laughs.) I’m never totally satisfied with where I’m at, personally -- or where Tower is at, artistically, because I’m an advocate for change at all times. That’s me, always pushing the envelope. That’s how you grow. So Tower can be a difficult place for someone like me to be working, but I relish my role as a catalyst for change! (Laughs).

It’s kind of interesting – the dynamics of writing and putting our music together is a very creative thing, yet the nuts and bolts of gigging day after day – well, it’s difficult to stay creative in a situation like that. It’s almost the enemy! But the thing that we do to keep the process artistic is the way we go about performing our business. That requires a different kind of creativity. It means concentrating on the business at hand. People say, ‘I don’t see you smiling? Are you enjoying yourself?’ And I think, ‘That’s kind of weird.’ Because I’m smiling on the inside!

I admit, I like the reputation of being…enigmatic, if you will. The idea that my close friends know me well, and those who don’t aren’t sure what to think! (Laughs.) Which either makes me an incredible human being or -- more likely -- a royal pain in the ass! (Laughs).

Now, how about some props for some of the people who’ve allowed me to become “myself.” James Campana was my high school band teacher and he got me started in the right direction. Eugene Graves was my college band teacher, a great man with a passion for life and music. Chuck Brown was my first private drum teacher; he taught me so much about the value of discipline. In later years I studied with Murray Spivack who mentored me with love and respect - he was the best. And Sandy Feldstein. He believed in my work and published my first instructional book.

There are friends I’ve made for life, like Skip Mesquite –- without question, absolutely the best friend a man could have. And Michael Spiro, who was one of my former band mates and is truly one of the great men in this world. Whenever we’re together I learn something. And what can I say about our fearless leader? Emilio gave me the opportunity to find my voice, absolutely.

I love being at home to cook, run and generally stay in shape. And I just became a father again, to Marco Giovanni Garibaldi. Music lessons will be starting soon, Gio! (Laughs).

I’m very appreciative of my gift and happy to know I’ve inspired so many people. It’s just hard for me to process. I mean, let’s face it -- the story is still being written. Which is why I don’t really like to talk about my gift because I understand my shortcomings better than anyone else. I still have so much more work to do -- what I do is only a portion of what I’m attempting to do. But every artist is like that, I guess. Realizing your full potential…is it really possible? Or is it just a pot dream –- you know, hippie talk?! (Laughs).

This much I do know: the first hundred years are the toughest!


UPDATE: David Garibaldi, 2012 Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame Inductee

November 01, 2012

We are pleased to announce the induction of David Garibaldi into the Percussive Art Society Hall Of Fame, Class of 2012.
Considered to be drumming's highest honor, David's induction into the Hall Of Fame took place on November 1st, 2012 during the Percussive Art Society's annual convention in Austin, Texas.
Other inductees for 2012 are John Bergamo, Hal Blaine, and Gordon Stout. Click here to read the complete news release: 2012 PAS Hall Of Fame Inductees

Here is a partial list of other members of the PAS Hall Of Fame:

Billy Cobham
Vic Firth
Steve Gadd
Louie Bellson
Ringo Starr
Ed Shaughnessy
Buddy Rich
Gene Krupa
Lionel Hampton
Jack DeJohnette
Gary Burton

Two PAS Hall Of Fame Members David would like to acknowledge specifically:
Murray Spivack - "One of my favorite teachers and a mentor. My time studying with him was one of the highlights in my music life."
Sandy Feldstein - "He gave me my first book deal. One of the smartest and most gifted educators I've ever known."

The PAS Hall Of Fame members are drummers and percussionists who are recognized not only for their extraordinary playing abilities, but also for educational contributions. David certainly has demonstrated all of these qualities over the years with his work with TOP and other artists and with his series of educational materials. With great pride, the entire Tower Of Power family extends our congratulations to David Garibaldi on this most deserved recognition.

The Percussive Arts Society is a music service organization promoting percussion education, research, performance and appreciation throughout the world.

The Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame was established in 1972 and recognizes the contributions of the most highly regarded professional leaders in percussion performance, education, research, scholarship, administration, composition and the industry.

Nominees must have demonstrated the highest ideals and professional integrity to their profession. They must have brought about significant events, substantive improvements in the world of percussion, or contributed to the betterment of the profession through exemplary services or acts.

A nominee must have a record of sustained (though not necessarily continuous) contributions to the field and be supportive of the philosophy and objectives of the Percussive Arts Society. Posthumous nominees may be included.

Those who submit nominations must provide the following biographical data: date of birth; current address of the nominee or, if deceased, name and address of a surviving family member; a brief description of the nominee’s achievement(s) which qualify the nominee for entry to the PAS Hall of Fame; and a curriculum vitae or career history or the candidate will not be considered. Three letters of nomination for a Hall of Fame nominee will be selected by the PAS Executive Director and forwarded to the Nominating Committee.

The Hall of Fame Nominating Committee consists of the Past Presidents with the Immediate Past President serving as chair. The function of the Nominating Committee shall be to evaluate the nominees in accordance with the Criteria for Selection and forward a slate of only the most deserving candidates to the Board of Directors for final selection.

Final selection of the inductees will be made by the Board of Directors based on the documentation provided by the nominator and in accordance with the Criteria for Election. Candidates receiving a majority of votes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Those elected, living or deceased, are honored at the annual PASIC Hall of Fame Banquet.

Nominations will be accepted from any PAS member. Nominees need not be PAS members. Names of those nominated will be given consideration for 3 years from the date of their last letter of nomination.

Nominations must include the name and address of the nominator and be sent to the Executive Director, Hall of Fame, PAS, 110 W. Washington Street, Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46204. The deadline for nominations is September 30 of each year.

Criteria for Election to the PAS Hall of Fame
All nominees will be judged according to the following criteria:

Contribution: Has the nominee made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of percussion?

Eminence: Have achievements in performance, education, research, scholarship, administration, composition or the industry distinguished the nominee from his or her contemporaries?

Influence: Has the nominee’s influence been of major significance to the profession even though contributions may have been confined largely to a single area of interest.

Permanence: Is it probable that the nominee’s accomplishments will continue to be valued by percussion professionals of the future?

Comments and Thank You's From DG:

I would also like to thank some other great people who (except for one, Vic Firth) are not in the PAS Hall of Fame, but are in my personal hall of fame. No one gets into a hall of fame without help, and I've had plenty along the way. These people have given me support and friendship and I'm forever indebted to them.

John and Marie Garibaldi - My parents, who encouraged me to follow my dreams.
Rick and Karen Garibaldi- My brother and his beautiful wife...without hesitation, they helped me when I was down. Their love and kindness made a big difference in the direction of my life. I could spend the rest of my life thanking them and it wouldn't be enough.
Emilio "Mimi" Castillo and the Tower of Power - without Mimi and the band, I'd have never found my voice.
Rocco Prestia - My musical soulmate.
James Campana and Anthony Caviglia - My high school music teachers who cared enough about me to encourage me to follow music as a profession.
Eddie Tinga - Eddie delivered the mail to my father's store, was a drummer and a great guy. He loaned me his drums when I was in high school and spent a lot of time encouraging me.
Sid Reis - Sid gave me my first paying gig with his big band when I was 17 yrs. old.
Gene Graves - My wonderfully enthusiastic college teacher who taught me about attitude and professionalism.
Chuck Brown - My first private teacher, who taught me the value of discipline.
Takashi Hagiwara, aka "Hagi" - The former head of Yamaha Drums Japan, who signed me to play Yamaha Drums internationally and is one of the coolest and most interesting people I know.
Joe Testa - I've known Joe and for many years and have worked with him on my books, then Yamaha Drums, and now at Vic Firth. He's the best.

Vic Firth (PASHOF member) - I've been playing Vic's drumsticks since 1972 - Vic, a great friend, makes the best drumsticks in the world. Being involved with his company is a dream come true.
Rob Wallis and Paul Siegel - They started the drum video trend in drum education and have produced most of my books and videos. Without them, I wouldn't be in the PASHOF.
Ron Spagnardi - The late founder of Modern Drummer Magazine, who allowed me to write articles for his publication for many years.
Bob Zildjian - Owner of Sabian Cymbals. One of the nicest people on the earth today and continues to support me with his wonderful instruments all around the world.
Cliff Castle - A&R Director of Audix Mics - A fabulous person...great gear...I wouldn't sound as good without their support.
Matt Connors - REMO Drum Heads - Matt, who's mamma is Italian, makes sure I have a supply of drum heads at all times...very appreciated.
Michael Spiro and Jesús Diaz - My bandmates in Talking Drums. Every time we play together I learn something.
"T" Moran - His real name is Tom. A great drummer, teacher and friend who has helped me a lot.
Peter Moutis - One of the brightest, most insightful and cool people I've ever met. There aren't enough words to thank him for his continued kindness toward me.
Dom Famularo - One of my dearest friends who continues to help me climb higher in this life.
Mike Howard - Every person needs a friend like him. Love you brother.

I think that covers it. I didn't think the list of folks to thank would be this long, but hey...I didn't do this by myself. I hope I didn't leave anyone out!

All The Best,


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