Disregard the help wanted ad on Tower of Power’s website. A new lead singer has been hired, bandleader Emilio Castillo confirmed with Tahoe Onstage.
Larry Braggs, whose first show with the band was in 1999 in Reno, is leaving at the end of the year. His final Lake Tahoe performance with TOP will be Nov. 30 in Harrah’s Lake Tahoe’s South Shore Room.
“Larry told us way back, early in the year when we were up in Seattle (play at Dimitrio’s Jazz Alley),” Castillo said. “He came up to us and said, ‘I am going to finish out the year and then I am going to move on.’ So we kind of kept it under our belts for a while because with us, you just think something and immediately it’s a rumor going around. So we kept it to ourselves and put some feelers out here and there.”
Eventually, the job opening was posted on the Tower of Power website, where it remains, although a new singer has been selected and will begin at a New Year’s Day show, Castillo said.
“We started getting tons of people interested in the position and I had to screen them all,” Castillo said. “We weeded out the ones who weren’t even close and looked a little closer to ones that were in the ballpark and we then narrowed it down and then we auditioned those people.”
While the band’s debut record in 1970, “East Bay Grease,” trumpeted its regional pride, many of the members now live out of the area, including Castillo, who resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Braggs who is in New Orleans. Castillo said singers from all over the world, including Japan and Europe applied for the position.
“We made it clear that if anything was going to happen with them, that they would have to move to the states,” Castillo said.
Appropriately, the band will go “Back to Oakland” Dec. 29 for Braggs’ final performance when Tower of Power performs the National Anthem in the Oakland Coliseum before a Raiders-Broncos football game.
Up next: More from the Tahoe Onstage interview with Emilio Castillo. We also check in with keyboardist Roger Smith, who was living in South Lake Tahoe in 2002 when he joined TOP.
Tower of Power
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30
Where: Harrah’s Lake Tahoe South Shore Room