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Famous Drummers - David Garibaldi by Drew Mers
David Garibaldi is the legendary drummer in the 10-member Oakland-based funk/soul band Tower of Power. Born on November 4, 1946 in Oakland, California, and raised in San Francisco, Garibaldi was already fascinated with drums at the age of 10. He played drums in the Pleasanton Elementary school band, and in high school, joined the Sid Reis Big Band under the teaching of James Campana, during which period his parents bought him his first ever drum set.
When he graduated from high school, Garibaldi became a member of a funk band called The Disciples. Just when he was starting his professional career as a musician, Garibaldi was enlisted in the United States Air Force and joined the 724th US Air Force Band. Following his release from the service, he returned to the San Francisco Bay Area, and in 1970, joined the Tower of Power.
With Tower of Power, Garibaldi easily became one of the most influential drummers of his generation. He was widely recognized as an innovator in funk drumming. He was particularly celebrated for his grooves on the hits You're Still A Young Man, So Very Hard to Go, You've Got to Funkifize and What is Hip? Garibaldi decided to leave the band in 1980, following some tumultuous years. His funky drum style, which became integral to Tower of Powers music, made it difficult for the drummers who replaced him.
Garibaldi had collaborations with various prestigious artists, including Patti Austin, Natalie Cole, Larry Carlton, Mickey Harts Planet Drum, Jermaine Jackson, Ray Obiedo, the Buddy Rich Orchestra, Boz Scaggs, Talking Drums, Gino Vanelli, and Deniece Williams.
He also has books and videos under Alfred Publishing and Warner Brothers Publications, including Tower of Groove: Complete, a two-volume DVD, where Garibaldi performed eight great tunes with a six-piece band and then breaks down his drum part in each tune section by section. In this video, Garibaldi combined funk drumming with his interest in Afro-Cuban music. Garibaldi also worked with Doc Kupka in the Strokeland Superband album. He toured as well with singer RAD.
In January 1998, after 18 years of studio work, teaching, writing books, and producing videotapes on drumming, David Garibaldi rejoined Tower of Power. He came back at a time when the band was constantly touring. The band continues to tour extensively in the US and around the world.
Garibaldi has been recognized many times for his contributions to the music industry. He was named Best Traditional R&B Drummer in the Modern Drummer Readers Poll 2007. He was also recently honored by Guitar Center, when he was given the 2008 Drum Legend Award.
Garibaldi plays Yamaha Drums and Sabian Cymbals.
Drew Mers is a consultant to Empire Rehearsal Studios, which rents aspiring bands, musicians and drummers a music rehearsal studio in Long Island City, Queens, New York.