Popular American bassist who had his notable works with the Funk band Tower of Power, Rocco Prestia is dead. The legendary bassist was reported to have passed away September 30 2020 at the age of 69.
Rocco Prestia was also the co-founder of Tower of Power. According to the statement posted on his Facebook page, Rocco died yesterday night after a brief time in hospice care.
Brian Rachlin, Admin on Rocco’s Page posted the news of his death some minutes ago.
Excerpts from the statement
I’m Brian Rachlin, am admin on Rocco’s Page, a friend of Rocco’s and I’ve had a long time association with Tower of Power. I wanted to share a few thoughts with Rocco’s fans.
Rocco’s Bass style defined the East Bay funk and soul sound. He was a founding member of the band Tower of Power and he and Emilio were friends since they were about 14 years old. Originally Rocco played the guitar but truthfully he wasn’t a good guitar player.
At the time the band practised at Emilio’s house and his father had hired a teacher to help the boys learn songs. This man told Rocco that he should play Bass instead of guitar and at that time the world changed.
I believe that some people are just born to play a particular instrument and Rocco was born to be a bass player. He had many influences but he took those influences and turned them into his own style of “Finger Style Funk”. Emilio always referred to him during band introductions as “The Original”.
When David Garibaldi came into the band he and Rocco developed a sound that was simply amazing. Rocco’s work was simply by feel and he was extremely intuitive. He would freely tell people that he doesn’t read music, and just listens to what is going on around him and develops his parts to complement what’s going on in the song. I’m sure there was a lot more to it but Rocco always downplayed his Legend status. He referred to the Bass as “a hunk of wood with some wires”. It was much more than that in Rocco’s hands.
In my many years of following this band and about 15 years of handling their internet sites and social media, I have been to many Tower of Power shows. It was always interesting that when Emilio did the band introductions Rocco always seemed to get the loudest applause and cheers. I think Rocco’s Bad Ass attitude endeared him to the fans and certainly came through in the music.
Beneath Rocco’s sometimes gruff exterior was kindness and friendliness that had to be earned. He had a wonderful smile and when he smiled at something you did or said it made you feel great.
Rocco’s contribution to Tower of Power speaks for itself. He was very much responsible for creating their sound. The unspoken musical communication between Rocco and Dave was amazing to watch. Luckily there is a vast catalogue of recordings going back to 1970 that document Rocco and Tower of Power. All incredible recordings.
Rocco passed away last night at age 69. There was so much more music to make and many more things to do for this man. It’s a terrible loss to the music community. Many tributes will follow. Many words will be said. He leaves behind a legacy through his recorded music and videos and will live on in the memories of all the fans all over the world that he thrilled with his work.
After years of medical problems, he is finally at peace and at rest.
Thank you, Rocco, for a job well done. Thank you for being Rocco.
Few Things You Need To Know About Rocco Prestia
Francis Rocco Prestia was a hell of a master bass player. You influenced many during his time on stage.
Born in Sonora, California, Prestia started playing electric guitar as an adolescent. When he auditioned for Emilio Castillo’s band, Tower of Power, Castillo persuaded him to switch to electric bass.
Prestia worked with the band for the next three decades, before he became seriously ill in 2001. His fans and friends created a foundation in order to help pay the artist’s medical costs. On December 5, 2014, Prestia underwent successful liver transplant surgery
Tributes Floods Twitter
Just learning of the passing of Tower Of Power bassist Rocco Prestia. If know about bass guitar, then you know that Rocco was a titan. C’mon…. what is hip? Just incredible. When I lived in NYC I’d go see TOP every time they played The Bottom Line. pic.twitter.com/kNVFKobnhx
— Steve Stevens (@Stevestevens) September 30, 2020
RIP Helen Reddy, Mac Davis, Rocco Prestia…
Life and death. All part of the fabric of existence. But for all the reasons too numerous to list here, every loss during this pandemic season has cut more deeply than usual.
— George Vinson (@GeorgeVinson) September 30, 2020
Francis Rocco Prestia, you were a hell of a master bass player. You influenced many, you co-triggered my love for the bass while jamming along to your #TowerofPower bass lines. Thank you and a deep bow to you. #rip #RoccoPrestia pic.twitter.com/tK4ycRgPnd
— Michael Schack (@michaelschack) September 30, 2020
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