In December 2009, drummer Brian Rash packed up all his belongings (including two Gretsch drum kits) into his white Chevy van and left New Jersey on a one-way road trip to San Diego.
“A few months after moving to San Diego, I met Rob [Smith, bassist] and found out he lived right down the street. He happened to be cruising by on his bike and said ‘Hey, nice van!’ We started talking music and ended up doing some recordings at his home studio...a couple of weeks later, he introduced me to Mike and Dustin.”
Based in Lakeside, Tower XVI was founded in 2010, with their first gig on December 30 at Wong’s Dragon Room in La Mesa. Singer/songwriter Michael Di Bernardo is a native San Diegan. Bassist/keyboardist Rob Smith and singer/guitarist Dustin Jenkins previously played with the defunct reggae band 619 Lexington.
Di Bernardo’s style has been compared to Mike Ness and Kurt Cobain, at least according to the band. “I do what feels comfortable,” says DiBernardo. “I feel like my style is my own, but I definitely have my influential musicians who helped pave the way for me.”