Meet Our Instructors
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!
David's schedule is limited to Saturdays when Tower of Power is not touring. If you'd like to take a lesson with him, please put in a lesson inquiry to get on our mailing list and be sure to follow us on Instagram @dubsdrumbasement.
What makes Satriani so successful is that his music isn’t just about flashy chops….it’s really about well-written songs with memorable melodies and addictive grooves. Like his boss, Campitelli has all the chops, but knows when and when not to use them.
Jeff enhances, supports and lifts the music. He plays for the song. What also sets him apart is his ability to perform equally well, both live and in the studio. Many artists today have their live guy and/or their studio guy but Joe has everything he needs, all on one drum throne.
Through the years with Satriani, Jeff Campitelli has made 21 albums (including 3 Gold and 1 Platinum), 7 live concert DVDs and has played on 15 Grammy nominated songs. On the infamous G3 tours, other master guitarists Jeff has backed up include Steve Vai, Eric Johnson, Robert Fripp, Steve Lukather and Kenny Wayne Sheppard, to name just a few.
Jeff was recently named the 50th greatest rock ’n roll drummer of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine.
Jeff teaches on Saturday
He currently Plays “Generation Esmeralda”, “East Bay Mudd”, “Sunday Paper” House drummer for the Empress Theater in Vallejo CA. and the “Contemporary Jazz Orchestra” (CJO), As well as freelancing with several Bay Area Artists, Local and abroad.
He has also been teaching drums for 32 years +. One of my most sought after specialties is in “Moeller Technique”. Gladstone (Freestroke) and other hand and foot techniques for Drumset and Snare Drum Studies. Reading, Rudiments and all styles of Drumset playing are offered. Please contact the store for lessons with T.
T Moran teaches Tuesdays & Wednesdays.
Angelo Christian MiceliDrums
Angelo Christian Miceli, fondly known as “Crisco”, was literally born on the road while touring with his father’s classic rock band. He fell in love with drums at the ripe age of three when he discovered how much noise he could produce playing them. Though self taught early on, in order to feed his drumming obsession, Crisco has studied percussive styles both personally and professionally including jazz, rock, R&B, marching percussion, funk, and heavy metal. He currently tours the world with popular Celtic-Rock band Seven Nations, as well as many other International artists such as The Stepcrew (Canadian Dance Production) and The Family Crest (Orchestral Pop Band). Crisco brings over 30 years of playing experience and 20 years of full time touring tips and tricks into his teaching. New to California, Crisco looks forward to working with the great folks at Dubs Drum Basement and spreading the joy of drumming to all the new drummers in the Bay Area.
Dan teaches on Thursday
Michael Hughes was born in 1984 and began playing the drums at age 8. He grew up in the East Bay in a musically active family and began playing in bands at a very young age. In 2003 he attended LA Music Academy (now known as Los Angeles College of Music) and studied under Joe Porcaro and Ralph Humphrey. From 2005-2011, Michael worked as an ensemble musician and teacher for LA Music Academy. He also worked as a freelance musician during his time in L.A. and got to work with many world class musicians and songwriters including Frank Gambale, Robben Ford, Majek Fashek, George Krikes, Jane Carey and many others.
In 2011, Michael returned to the Bay Area to focus more on teaching, gigging and starting a family. He is the house drummer for Wide Hive Records in Berkeley and has been working with Gregory Howe (Producer/Musician) on many projects for the last several years. Michael played drums on the late great Larry Coryell’s album “Heavy Feel” in 2015 and several “Throttle Elevator Music” records featuring Kamasi Washington. In 2016, he did a fall tour with Jason Newsted (former bassist of Metallica) and his ChopHouse Band.
Michael has been happily married since 2013 and has 2 beautiful daughters. He is currently the Music Director at Canyon Creek Church in San Ramon as well as the head drum instructor for Soundwall Rock Camp in Santa Cruz.
He has recorded for BBC One Radio London, ZDF Television (Germany), Radio France, House of Blues Radio Network and CBC Radio-Canada as well as Verve, Blue Thumb and House of Blues Records and the Smithsonian. He was a student of Bob Richards and Steve Erquiaga and has over twenty years of private teaching experience, bringing the unique perspective of someone who has truly “done it all.” Tom also plays bass, keyboards, and trumpet.
Tom teaches Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.
John R. BurrPiano
After years of touring with such artists as Maria Muldaur, The Alison Brown Quartet, Paul McCandless, Michael Manring and Kathy Kallick and recognition including a feature spot on Windham Hill’s Piano Sampler II, Burr is stepping out with his first solo album, Piedmont Avenue. His playing is as likely to be inspired by James Taylor or Doctor John as by Oscar Peterson or the Yellowjackets although he says it is his love of folk music that has influenced him most. His musical diversity has enabled him to tour and record with a variety of artists and has made him the ideal pianist for the ground breaking folk/jazz group, The Alison Brown Quartet. Burr explains, “I play a sort of jazz piano version of the vocal music that I love to listen to. That’s what influences me. I love to play and study jazz but I listen to vocal, folk/singer/songwriter music. I’m always searching for that melodic song-like quality when I improvise.”
John teaches Monday, Friday & Saturday.