Stephen 'Doc' Kupka

ASK DOC - January, 2007

The Funky Doctor answers YOUR questions


From Larry Coviello:

April 27th of 2007, when I take my family to see Tower Of Power at the Mohegan Sun arena in CT, it will be the 26th time I've seen TOP in concert since the seventies!! Anyway, I can't wait for the next Strokeland project to be finished. You guys inspire us second string working musicians, keep the funk coming!!!!

A few years back, TOP performed at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT and the show was broadcast. A couple of songs you guys did then were great, but you never put them on any album.

The songs are "Playin' for Keeps" and "She's a Pro But She's a Con". I thought they were pretty hip tunes! Any plans for these songs for the future? There was also a song I saw listed on a website that TOP supposedly did called "Doggin' at the Cat House". Hip title, but is it for real?

Hi, Larry. We haven’t played "Playin' for Keeps" or "She's a Pro But She's a Con" for years.  The latter, however, is a bonus track on one of our Epic CDs released overseas.  I always very much liked both of those songs.  “Doggin' at the Cat House” was on the European version of the “Power” album, which Tower released in 1987.  For some strange reason, it was deleted from the American release of the same album.  The song used to go over very well live, with people reading into it all sorts of hidden meanings.  I enjoyed that because it was just written as a fun little tune.  All three of these songs just go to show how international releases differ from domestic American releases of Tower of Power CDs.


From Tonnie Telgenhof:

First of all, thanks for the great music during all these years. I've had the opportunity to see Tower of Power live more than 15 times, here in Holland and Germany over the last 20 years. I even was at the concert in New York at the introduction of the "Oakland Zone" CD.

What is your opinion of all the Tower of Power cover bands playing worldwide, especially the ones playing your own music?

I love it!  The more the merrier.  I’m always thrilled to hear of cover bands performing any or all of my material

Also, is there any chance of you performing live with the Strokeland Superband?

There’s always a chance, but it would be a lot of work to get the people together, build the charts, and rehearse. Stranger things have happened and I would love it, but we’ll have to wait and see. Thanks for writing, Tonnie.


From Timothy Hamp:

Hi, Doc! I have a few questions, but I've got to tell you how cool it is to have a source for good funk! Thanks for being the go-to for da funk!

Mingo Fishtrap -- best new pick. Thanks for the intro. Are they doing any national tours where they might hit Seattle?

Hi, Timothy. Mingo Fishtrap is a hard-working touring band.  I understand they will be out on tour again in a few weeks.  They usually make it to the Pacific Northwest as well as the East Coast.  Strokeland Records is very honored to have them on the roster.  They’re very talented young men and we’re proud of the association.

Has Tower ever played with James Brown?

Tower of Power played three times with James Brown.  Once in Sedona, AZ, once at the Greek Theater in Hollywood, and once at the Paramount Theater in Oakland.  It was always a thrill and one the biggest moments in my career was when James Brown came over to me and said how much he enjoyed hearing “Diggin' on James Brown”.

I’m sure Tower of Power will be playing "Diggin' on James Brown" as long as the band is still performing.


From Jim Stimpson:

How does one "Kick it up a Step"?

"Kick It Up a Step" is synonymous with "turn it up a notch".  I decided it was a clever phrase and it’s one my favorite songs I ever wrote.

What is a Bump City?

"Bump City" is more of a state of mind as opposed to a thing.  When that record came out there was a movie out called “Fat City” starring Jeff Bridges, which represented a state of mind of the characters in the film.  "Bump City" is a state of mind of the kind of snap funk music that Tower was playing then and continues to play to this day. Thanks, Jim.


Keep those questions coming!   We have no secrets here and I’ll answer all but the most embarrassing ones.  Thanks for the support and come hang out in the Strokeland Community!


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