Oakland is a city like no other, populated with passionate residents who take great pride in their home. There’s an ever-present underdog spirit – whether fighting the negative reputation it receives nationally or living in the shadow of its golden brother across the bridge – and that spirit shines through in many of the great Oakland exports. With the news that two members of Oakland funk band, Tower of Power, were injured in a train accident on January 12, it is time for another fine Oakland export, the A’s, to pay tribute to the band.
No band to ever come from the East Bay has come close to Tower of Power’s level of civic pride. One look at their discography will reveal exactly where the band’s roots lie. With albums such as East Bay Grease, Bump City, Back to Oakland, We Came To Play (which features a cover taken inside the Oakland Coliseum), Oakland Zone, and East Bay Archive as well as songs like Oakland Stroke, it’s pretty clear where their heart resides.
It is with that sense of civic pride in mind that the Oakland A’s, who are on an apparent quest to mend public discord between team and city and establish themselves as a cornerstone of the community, should honor Tower of Power with a full day of festivities in 2017. What better way to repair a fractured relationship with the most loyal Oakland supporters than honoring one of the town’s greatest musical exports?
While it may be too late to host a Tower of Power fireworks show, it isn’t too late to have band play the national anthem, throw out the first pitch, or feature their music during walk-ups and inning breaks. Have the band play a concert following a day game (either in the park or in the East Side Club), or raffle off Tower of Power items for the Community Fund. Whatever can be planned, plan it.
Nothing would delight fans of both Oakland institutions more than hearing Rajai Davis take the plate to the soaring trumpets of You’re Still a Young Man and seventh inning stretch will be lively if Oakland Stroke is played over the PA (a much better stadium song than The Phenomenauts).
Mic Gillette, trumpet and trombone player for the band who passed away in January, 2016, played in New York, he wore his autograph Nick Swisher A’s jersey (Swisher was on the Yankees at that time) to gigs. These guys love where they come from and simply bleed Oakland pride and with the A’s in position to be the last sports team remaining in the East Bay, it seems logical for these two amazing and storied groups merge. After all, they both came to Oakland in 1968 and have brought continued success and pride to the city that calls them theirs for all those years.
Oakland, you gotta funkifize.