Rocco Prestia

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Rocco Prestia
Die Bühne - JADD Straubing
Die Bühne - JADD Straubing
Background information
Birth nameFrancis Rocco Prestia Jr.
Born(1951-03-07)March 7, 1951
Sonora, California, U.S.
DiedSeptember 29, 2020(2020-09-29) (aged 69)
GenresSmooth jazz, jazz-funk, funk, rhythm and blues
InstrumentsElectric bass
Years active1970–2020
Associated actsTower of Power

Francis Rocco Prestia Jr. (March 7, 1951 – September 29, 2020) was an American bassist, best known for his work with the funk band Tower of Power.


Born in Sonora, California, Prestia started playing electric guitar as an adolescent. When he auditioned for Emilio Castillo's band, Tower of Power, Castillo persuaded him to switch to electric bass.[1]

Prestia worked with the band for the next three decades, before he became seriously ill in 2001. His fans and friends created a foundation in order to help pay the artist's medical costs. On December 5, 2014, Prestia underwent successful liver transplant surgery.[2]

Rocco is survived by the loves of his life, Julian Francis Rocco Prestia and Alicia-Lyn JoAnn Prestia.

Technique and influences[edit]

Prestia was a master of fingerstyle funk, a technique in which he lightly muted the strings with his left hand to get a percussive sound, with the pitch remaining clear and accurate. That characteristic sound, in combination with a highly rhythmic approach to bass lines, makes Prestia's sound unmistakable.[1]

Along with James Jamerson, Stanley Clarke, Anthony Jackson and Alphonso Johnson, Prestia belonged to a generation of musicians that fostered a revolution on the electric bass—inspiring the innovative work of Jaco Pastorius in the mid-1970s.[3] Prestia's influential style can be heard on classic Tower of Power tracks such as the 1973 hit "What is Hip". Prestia cited James Jamerson and the different musicians who worked for James Brown (particularly Bootsy Collins) as his main influences.[4]


Prestia's primary instruments were his Fender Precision basses (a purple transparent American Deluxe and a natural ash-bodied short-lived signature model with a reverse split pickup and a 2-band EQ). He later maintained an association with the Conklin company that provided him a custom built four-string instrument, one of the few in the company's catalog.[5]

In January 2013, ESP Guitars announced that Prestia had joined their roster of endorsing artists. The company made reference to the introduction of their LTD RB series on May 22, 2014.[6][7]


Prestia died on September 29, 2020.[8]


As leader[edit]

  • Everybody on the Bus! (1999)

With Tower of Power[edit]


  • Fingerstyle Funk (1993)
  • Francis Rocco Prestia: Live at Bass Day (1998)


  1. ^ a b Parsons, Eric (9 February 2015). "Simply Rocco". Bass Musician. pp. 12–22.
  2. ^ "Rocco Prestia Biography". Tower of Power. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  3. ^ Barrett, John (12 October 2011). "The 20 Most Underrated Bass Guitarists". Paste. ISSN 1540-3106.
  4. ^ "Rocco Revisits the Prophets of Soul". Bass Player. February 2009. ISSN 1050-785X.
  5. ^ Forte, Dan (January 2009). "The Power of Tower". Vintage Guitar. ISSN 1067-2605.
  6. ^ "Rocco Prestia Joins ESP Artist Roster". Bass Player. 11 January 2013. ISSN 1050-785X.
  7. ^ Johnson, Kevin (22 March 2014). "ESP Introduces LTD RB Series Design with Rocco Prestia". No Treble.
  8. ^ Bienstock, Richard (2020-09-30). "Legendary Tower of Power bassist Rocco Prestia dies aged 69". Guitar World. Retrieved 2021-12-06.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]