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The Oakland Stroke

David Garibaldi  /  UPDATED Aug 22, 2022

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The Oakland Stroke is one of David Garibaldi’s most legendary and recognized drum grooves. Fun fact: it was created entirely by accident while rehearing with Tower of Power bandmates Emilio Castillo and Stephen Kupka. David would often write and practice at their house using a practice pad drumset, allowing them to play well into the night.

Initially the groove was just something him and his band mates would fool around with. At the time they were still playing traditional funk with the snare always on 2 and 4, so this was foreign territory for them.

After finishing the recording of “Back to Oakland” up in Seattle in 1974, David flew back down to San Francisco where he would then receive a call from Emilio:

We don’t have enough songs!

They were one song short from filling up the vinyl record. Since they had no extra recordings to work with, David flew back to Seattle to brew up another tune to add to the album. The first idea the band began to experiment with was, you guessed it, the Oakland Stroke:


The jams they came up with ended up being the opener and closer to the record. Take a listen!

Watch David Garibaldi’s one-hour Drumeo lesson by clicking here.

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Jared Falk is a lifelong drummer, drum teacher, and the co-founder of Drumeo. For over 18 years, Jared has been a leader in the online music education industry, publishing his first online video lessons in 2003 and founding Musora in 2005.

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