Strokeland Records, home of East Bay Soul Music, was created by Stephen 'Doc' Kupka, legendary baritone saxophonist for Tower of Power as a platform for his prolific songwriting work and as a home for many other great soul and jazz artists.
Stephen 'Doc' Kupka
President of Strokeland Records, founding member of Tower of Power, prolific songwriter
In the summer of 1968, tenor saxophonist/vocalist Emilio Castillo met Stephen "Doc" Kupka, who played baritone sax. Castillo had played in several bands, but Castillo's father told his son to "hire that guy" after a home audition. Together, they became the backbone of Tower of Power. Within months the group, then known as The Motowns, began playing various gigs around Oakland and Berkeley, their soul sound relating to both minority and rebellious listeners. Castillo wanted to play Bill Graham's Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco, but he realized he would never get in with a name like The Motowns. The band agreed on Tower of Power and the name stuck.
That's where it all started.
Stephen 'Doc' Kupka has established himself as a preeminent songwriter of the first order, in addition to touring the world for over 45 years with the legendary East Bay Soul band, Tower of Power.
In the 1990's Doc realized that he was producing far more great songs than Tower of Power could record and formed Strokeland Records with the help of Andy Ebon in 1998. Doc's first Strokeland project was "Kick It Up a Step", a great collection of original songs in the early Tower of Power style, and Strokeland Records was off and running.
Since then, Doc has produced a great collection of releases, including "Doc Goes Hollywood", a departure from his trademark East Bay Soul style, featuring his original songs in the style of the Great American Songbook that he had dreamed of recording for years. "Doc Goes Hollywood" paired Doc with William Ross, music director for Barbra Streisand and first-call Hollywood film composer and arranger, who arranged and conducted a live orchestra for the project.
In 2016, Doc called on Ray Greene, former Tower of Power lead singer, and produced "Nature Doesn't Legislate", a socially-conscious collection of songs that continue his legacy of first-rate songwriting and working with the very best musicians.
Director of Operations
After meeting Doc Kupka while co-producing Mic Gillette's Ear Candy CD and release concert in 2005, Doc asked Steve to take over the management of Strokeland Records.
Steve manages all business aspects of the company for Doc from Roanoke, VA, while Doc and his family continue to reside in Los Angeles, CA.
Steve is a guitarist and performs regionally with The Domino Band, a nine-piece horn band in Virginia, in addition to running a small software development company, Concise Systems, and loves hanging out with his family.
European Fulfillment Manager
Bernd resides in Germany with his wife and son. Although Bernd's family commitments do not enable him to continue working as usual with Strokeland at this time, we owe a huge thank-you to Bernd for all his hard work in promoting Strokeland Records in Europe and fulfilling orders for our EU customers for years.
Bernd continues to assist and remains a Strokeland friend for life!
Strokeland Social Media Manager
Well-known and well-loved in Tower of Power fan circles, Raoul is active in many different aspects of music and has assisted Strokeland for many years, managing Strokeland's social media presence and providing advice, in addition to running HornDrivenRadio.com as a great Internet resource for horn-driven music and bands around the world. HornDrivenRadio.com programming is focused on Horn Driven Rock, Soul, Funk and Jazz, in the spirit of artists such as: Tower of Power, James Brown, Edgar Winter, Luther Kent, Candy Dulfer, Maceo Parker, Jack Mack & The Heart Attack, Lenny Williams, Doc Kupka’s Strokeland Superband, Jon Smith, Mic Gillette, and many more. Raoul provides this great service to musicians and listeners as a free service and we hope that Strokeland fans will continue to support Raoul and HornDrivenRadio.com.
We sure appreciate his help at Strokeland. Please let him know how much you appreciate everything he does!