War fused Rock, Jazz, Funk, Latin and R&B. Says Jordan, "We never thought we'd hit because we were too different. People wanted us to be like the Chambers Brothers or Sly and the Family Stone. But we just let it flow and played."
Suggestion credit: Amy - Chicago, IL
They started out as The Creators, playing clubs in the Los Angeles area, where they became the first black band booked on the Sunset Strip. This band evolved into Nite Shift (named because Brown worked at a steel yard at night), and backed up football player Deacon Jones for a while. They had trouble keeping the band together because members kept getting drafted to the Vietnam War.
In 1969, record executive Steve Gold put the band together with Eric Burdon, who was previously a member of The Animals. They recorded 2 albums as "War with Eric Burdon" before Burdon left the band.
As Brown remembers it, manager Steve Gold said, "You guys are really a motley crew. I've got a great idea, let's just call you War." Lee Oskar says that he and Eric Burdon were riding along and saw a billboard with Yoko Ono talking peace - the direct opposite of War, which gave them the idea.
Around 1966, they had an offer to be Otis Redding's backup band. They couldn't take the gig because their keyboard player was too young to go on the road.
War spent a lot of time with Jimi Hendrix, and played with him the night he died when they jammed together at a club in London called Ronnie Scott's. Hendrix and Burdon were good friends, and Burdon was deeply affected by the death of Hendrix.
We asked the question, "On what songs did you do your best playing, or are you particularly proud of?" Here are the responses:
Harold Brown: Funk Drumming: "Slippin' Into Darkness" Most sensitive drumming with dynamics: "Seven Tin Soldiers" Pure Jam: "Low Rider" Most exact drumming: "Cisco Kid"
Lee Oskar: First Musical Eureka (Harp and Sax Blend): "Sun O Son" first War Album Inspired Melody from Harp: "City Country City" Most played harp melody: "Low Rider"
In the mid-1990s, Far Out Productions (producer and songwriter Jerry Goldstein) went to federal court and won the use of the name War. The band's original keyboardist Lonnie Jordan began touring using that name under Goldstein's guidance, and the other 4 surviving members (Oskar, Dickerson, Scott and Brown), formed The Lowrider Band. (Thanks to Harold Brown for speaking with us about War. Learn more about the Lowrider Band at lowriderband.com.)
Wil from Atlanta, GaI also saw War in New Orleans during the 80's when they were introduced at the NO Jazz Festival (1984 ??) as one of the "Great American Bands". I had my little boy with me and told him get ready to dance. He said they can't make me dance. Needless to say he danced til he peed on himself. Harold came out saying .." Yeah we're angry too"... about something Reagan had done militarily.
Wil from Atlanta, GaWho came up with Southern Part of Texas? the words ad funk are awesome.
Wil from Atlanta, GaI first heard War in the Summer 1970 with Spill the Wine which blew everyone away. Their first solo album cemented the hard core fans with entries like Sun oh SOn , Fidel's Fantasy and Vibeka. While their musical structures are simple its hard to really compare other bands to them because of their jam ability. All day Music that same year 1971 widened their audience with classics like the title song and the ahead of its time Slippin... If you listen to the drumming its special.I'm a conga player but if you lie jazz you liked War. BB without it ever being said to me was one of the best young funk bassists on the scene in the 70s. However, in 1973 the year I was out of college introduced the World Is a Ghetto. Then knew they were a
Warqueen from Albuquerque, NmI grew up on WAR music and they have been a part of my heart since their very first song I heard on the radio,"Spill The Wine". It's so sad and ironic that the band that created one of music's most iconic songs "Why Can't We Be Friends?", are split apart because of the greed of their producer, Jerry Goldstein. Now WAR fans are confused as to who the REAL WAR band is. Or some don't even know the truth and keep following the cover band with the stolen name of WAR. My WAR fan devotion goes with the LOWRIDER BAND, because they ARE WAR and ALWAYS have been WAR, but they can't fly the WAR name that THEY made famous because Jerry Goldstein stole that and some copywrites from them, and they didn't stoop to being OWNED by Jerry for the NAME THEY made famous. WAR fans need to learn the truth and give their WAR propers to the REAL artists of WAR who are THE LOWRIDER BAND. We can't let the original artists of WAR, who created all of WAR's awesome discography, be forgotten, while imposters get all the WAR credit.
William David Snyder from Phoenix, AzWar was my first concert. It was at the AZ state fair. In vetrans memorial colliseum.At the time home of the newlly organized Phoenix Suns.That was 1969 I was 9.I remember "low rider" and "spill the wine" like it was last night.The rest is real blurry.
Finley Martin from New York, NyWhere are the Original members? I hear they have a band called The Low Riders. Do you know how to contact them?
Philip from Newark, OhWAR the group was(is) one of the greatest groups of the so-called '70's music. Lonnie Jordan and all the side men (players-writers) of their music have left a HUGH imprint. The music from 30 yrs ago is the echo still heard today.
Andy from Monterey, CaWar's songs are a perfect fit for the background of the film, "American Me."
Mark from Falls Church, VaWAR's first album featured Eric Burdon, late of The Animals, singing lead on many songs but Burdon dropped out of the project after that. "Spill The Wine" from that album got heavy airplay when it was released.