Francis Rocco Prestia (Tower of Power)

What is hip?


The bass mastery of the great Francis Rocco Prestia and Tower of Power, that’s what’s hip! The incomparable Tower of Power of Prestia wrote the book on funky pop rhythm & blues with an incredible string of 1970s releases including the essential Tower of Power (1973) and Back to Oakland (1974).


Born “Francis Houghton” in Sonoma, California, Prestia started out as a guitarist during his teen years, then switched to electric bass at the behest of TOP founder Emilio Castillo.


Rocco augmented the language and scope of the electric bass with his patented melodic, staccato finger-style funk approach to the instrument – as rendered in TOP’s signature “What Is Hip” –which remains a rite of passage for all serious bassists. Francis mutes the strings with his left fingers, forging  a percussive sound – you can find several examples of Prestia explaining his technique on YouTube and other video platforms (see below).


In 1999 Francis waxed his lone solo slab Everybody on the Bus!  Prestia’s primary weapon of choice is the Fender Precision, however he has been known to endorse brands such as ESP.


Francis Rocco Prestia Sound & Vision  


“What Is Hip”


“Soul Vaccination”


“So Very Hard to Go”


Franciso Rocco Prestia Bass Clinic from GoDPS Music 2014