Born and raised in the San Francisco bay area, David began playing drums in elementary school at the age of ten. At age seventeen, he started his professional career, and in 1966 joined the United States Air Force where he became a member of the 724th USAF band stationed at McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington.
Upon leaving the military in 1969, he returned to the bay area and on July 23, 1970 joined the legendary Tower of Power. It was in this setting that David became one of the most influential drummers of his generation and became known as an innovator in funk drumming.
As a writer and performer David has worked with such distinctive artists as Patti Austin, Natalie Cole, Mickey Hart's Planet Drum, Boz Scaggs, The BBC Orchestra, Gino Vannelli, Talking Drums, The Buddy Rich Orchestra, Ray Obiedo, Wishful Thinking, Poncho Sanchez, RAD and many others.
Currently, David is once again performing and recording with the Tower of Power. In 1998, after an eighteen-year "break", he rejoined the group for some "unfinished business".
Just a few examples amongst David's many achievements:
- Modern Drummer Magazine – Readers Poll Winner "Traditional R&B/Funk" category eight times. Five consecutive years from 1980-1985, another in 2003, again in 2007, and yet again in 2009. His name now permanently resides in that polls honor roll category for his lasting contributions to the percussive arts.
- DRUM! Magazine – Readers Poll winner – 1998 Best Percussion Video "David Garibaldi featuring Talking Drums". Readers Poll winner – 2007 Drum Book of The Year, "The Code of Funk"
- Rolling Stone Magazine – 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time
- 1982–1989 percussion faculty at the Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles,
- 2012 Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame Inductee
In addition to the above mentioned achievements, as an international clinician since 1980, he has continued educational activities in the world and also has published so many books and videos. (As of July, 2016)