Founding member Harold Ray Brown, and the Evolution of WAR to The Lowrider Band

By Dr. Alan Carlos Hernandez on March 11, 2019

 

The band War is still on the road playing shows all over the country, the only original member of the band War is Lonnie Jordan. The Lowrider Band has four of the original members of War, but contractually cannot use the name or advertise the War hits. Many lifelong War fans believe that the Lowrider Band with former War members as Lee Oscar and Harold Brown, can the War band off stage, doing all the original hits. (I propose an old fashioned Battles of the bands, winner take all gig)

Herold Brown sets the record straight.

HOLLYWOOD (Herald de Paris) —  Harold Ray Brown is a founding member of The Lowrider band and of the band War. Harold has had several roles over the years, acting as drummer, percussion, vocalist, and bandleader.

Beginning with the congas, Brown progressed to violin while in elementary school, and took up drums in junior high. He turned down a full scholarship to Valparaiso University in 1964 in order to pursue music.

Brown was rooted in the very beginnings of War. In 1962, he met Howard E. Scott at the Cozy Lounge in Long Beach, California. They were fifteen years old at the time and were hired to play in a band for a casual gig.

Brown started a band called the Creators in 1963 in Long Beach while going to Long Beach Polytechnic High School, to play for high school sock hops and car shows. Then in 1967, toward the end of the Vietnam war, he and Howard Scott restarted the band with a new name, Night Shift. Brown had been working as a machinist on the Night Shift.

In February 1969 while playing a show at the Rag Doll Night Club in North Hollywood, California Eric Burdon and Lee Oskar jammed with the Night Shift. The band changed its name to War.

Brown left the band to attend college in 1983, majoring in computer science, with a minor in music. He then moved to New Orleans in 1986. In 2001, Brown went back to school to pursue his lifelong hobby; he is now a historian in New Orleans, and has formed a band called the Lowrider Band with three of the other original members of War: Howard E. ScottMorris “BB” Dickerson, and Lee Oskar

In the first incarnation of the band War, Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller made a powerful statement musically at a time when peace was the slogan in an anti-Vietnam U.S.A. Our vision was to spread a message of brotherhood and harmony as we were the “SOLDIERS OF PEACE”.

He said, “Our voices and instruments were our weapons in hand and our songs were our ammo. We spoke out against gangs, crime, racism, hunger, turf wars, and violence of any kind whatsoever.

We teach peace and live peace to this very day. As Eric Burdon’s back band, we experimented and blended our influences and sound styles that carried with it a phenomenal number of gold, platinum & multi-platinum awards which included the triple platinum The World Is A Ghetto, double platinum Why Can’t We Be Friends? and Greatest Hits, platinum Deliver The Word, All Day Music, Galaxy and more”.

Eric Burdon, Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller began playing live shows and soon found themselves playing for sold-out audiences throughout California that dovetailed into the studio to record their debut album and Eric Burdon Declaring. “Spill the Wine” was an immediate worldwide hit.

Musicians on both sides of the pond were buzzing about Eric Burdon, Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller new band. Jimi Hendrix jammed with the group at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London England on the 16th of September 1970, the same night that Jimi Hendrix transitioned over.

A second Eric Burdon Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller album, a two-disc set, The Black Man’s Burdon, was released in 1970. Eric Burden parted ways and In late 1971 All Day Music was released. The album’s title track “Slippin’ Into Darkness” would be Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s first hit single, and their first hit single and first gold single with over 1_ million album sales.

In 1972 Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s sound evolved with the release of The World Is A Ghetto album. Its first single, “The Cisco Kid” shipped gold and brought Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s a following in the global Latin community that remains to this very day.

The #1” The World Is A Ghetto” was voted Billboard’s Album of the Year. Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s next album, Deliver The Word (1973) selling nearly two million copies, contained hits “Gypsy Man”, “Me And My Baby Brother”, and a re-recording of “All Day Music” It was 1975 when the Why Can’t We Be Friends? album was released. It contained the hit title track, “Low Rider”, and “Don’t Let No One Get You Down”.

This year saw Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s touring, record sales, and fame reach new all-time highs. They performed at the first Congressional Black Caucus and witnessed their hit “Friends…” played as a soundtrack to the first U.S.-Soviet space mission in which Astronauts and Cosmonauts linked up in the spirit of friendship. “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” stayed on the U.S. charts for thirty-one weeks and earned Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller yet another platinum-plus album.

Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar and B.B Dickerson are known around the world as “The Originals”. And while they may not be able to use the globally recognized brand name that they made famous, no one can take away their spirit drive and perseverance to do what they love. Peace on earth. Good will toward all. We Love You All. Harold Brown, Howard Scott, B.B.Dickerson, Lee Oskar and the Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller.

Herald de Paris Editor, Dr. Al Carlos Hernandez, was honored to have a deep and meaningful conversation with one of founding Fathers of the Band War, which complete with four original War members evolved into The Lowrider Band.

AC: You grew up in a family eldest of 6 kids, what kind of music did the family listen to, which songs really ignited your passion for music?

HB: Being born just after World War II in a Port City in Southern California called Long Beach and having the Honor of being named after the man “Harold Ray Jamison” who saved my father’s Life “Clyde R. Brown Sr.” on Gun Beach in Guam, the South Pacific, this was quite a challenge to Carry the Touch forward.

My Father Clyde R. Brown mother Transitioned when he was only 7 years old, being raised by his brothers and sister gave him a very strong work ethic(s). On the other hand, my Mother Icie (Icelo an Indian name because my grandmother was a mix of Black Foot and Cherokee Indian) Carter Brown was born in an upper middle-class family that were bless with nice home, cars and workers. Wow! How Blessed we were to have the mix of Two cultures.

My parents would have these Card-Parties and a lot of their friends would come over and see me in a corner with some paper being the DJ and ask me what I was doing? I would respond, “I am writing a Song!”

During the late 1940’s on into the late 1950’s music was “Race Music”, A lot of radio stations tried to keep the music separated. But I remember lying in bed listening to “Texas Tiny”, on “KFOX Radio” located at the corner of Orange Avenue & 7th Street in Long Beach CA up until the early 1960’s and “KFOX Radio played everything. It was a blend of everything un-like now. You would hear Country & Western along with Zydeco and Blues Music.

Some of the Artist: Nat King Cole, Bobby Blue Bland, Chuck Berry, BB King, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Harry Belafonte, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Miles Davis, Johnny Otis, James Brown and many more. I also got a chance to meet and spent time with Big Mama Thornton and We (Howard Scott, Morris BB Dickerson & myself) met Sam Cooke a few weeks before his untimely Death in South Los Angeles, CA.

So, one night I was laying on the top bunk bed in the boy’s room fantasizing that I was the drummer behind the music I was listening to, and so after an hour or two the Spirit Inside my Head said to me, “Why are you Fantasizing? If you would Just spend one to two hours a day You Can become that Drummer!”  From that night forward at the age of 7 years of age began my journey to this day.

AC: Why did you turn down a University scholarship to pursue music? Was it a hard decision, what was the pros and cons, and do you have any regrets? 

HB: NO!

My father Clyde Rufus Brown Sr. always said to me, “Harold whatever you decide to do in Life be the best at it. If you shine shoes, wash a car, cut the grass, cook or cleaning your bed-room do it the Best you know how!

I remember when we were kids, I would race the other kids around the block. They would take off one direction on their bikes and me in the other direction on a sprint to see who could get back to the corner first. Most of the time I would beat them back around the block. I was on our track team and co-varsity captain of our track team & cross-country team 3 years straight at Long Beach Poly in the 1961-1964, being one of the reasons why I received a Scholarship to Valparaiso University in 1964.

When I graduated High School June of 1964 my high school buddy (Henry B. McKine) and I decided instead we would go and join the United States Marine Corps. We both took the test at the Down-Town Post Office @ 300 Long Beach Boulevard in Long Beach. We both passed the test, but here’s where Fate took a different turn that affects me to this day as I relate this important story to you.

The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect” … When we both left the Post Office, He went one way and I went across the Street to where I had parked my car @ 333 East Broadway @ the corner of Long Beach Boulevard & Broadway, this is where an older classmate @ Long Beach Poly, Eugene Sylvie had started an Auto Detail and Body and Fender Shop business and he was about to lose his business. His lease was behind, and he owed his workers. So, I had an idea… My parents and I had been saving some money for me to go to college; I said Eugene, “What if I bring your lease up to date and payoff your workers, then lay them off and we do all the work ourselves!” Wow! That was the beginning of me becoming an “Entrepreneur”.

Well what does a young man at 18 years of age do Now. I got married to Doe aka Doretha Luckey. We were only 18 Years of age. We are very blessed with three children “Harold Ray Brown II, Darrel Lewis Brown and Janice E. Brown”.

So, here I/we are. I had met Howard E Scott in back in 1962 in some of the Southern California Night Clubs San Pedro, Long Beach, Compton and South Los Angeles. We formed us a band and we named it “The Creators, because we created our own grooves mixed into what we heard on the Radio and Juke Boxes”. Howard Scott: Guitar, Morris D Dickerson: Bass, George Brown: Sax, Bobby Nicholson: Trumpet, Leroy Lonnie Jordan: Piano and Myself Harold Ray Brown: Drums.

Around July 1964, I suggested we go, and Join Local 47 Musicians Union located on Vine Street in Hollywood California at the time. We went in dressed in our Band Uniforms, which were Blue Jackets and black pants. Upon entering the information personnel directed us to the Casuals Office, were we met Vince Devari and he took a liking to us due to us approaching this as a “Business”. We all joined the musician’s union and we started being booked on the Sunset Strip.

We were one of the first young Black Bands being book for Casual Dates, opening for Ike & Tina Turner, The Righteous Brothers, performing at the Whiskey Ago Go, Teen Palladium, Pandoras Box, Gazzarri’s, The Roxy and more.

One night we were on stage at The Basin Street West” playing our music, cover songs such as James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Booker T & The MG’s … folks were dancing their Tails Off and when we finished the set a Gentleman named “Old Man Fulbright” … You can read about in in a couple of old books; one being “The Devils Music” and his name pops up every so often. 

Mr. Fulbright proceeds in saying, “You young men are a great sounding band. I have a young up and coming Artist that could use a backup band such as yours, His Name is, “Otis Redding”. Well we felt like we we’re on our way to that big Break we were looking for.

We drove back to California that Summer of 1965 and we did not take the offer due to our Key Board Player “Leroy Lonnie Jordan” was to young and had not finished High School yet. Well, you know that was a Big disappointment to us, But There’s Master Plan at Hand!

The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!” So, we made our last run back to El Paso, Texas last part of the Summer of 1965. We had to call home for some funds to help get us back to California from El Paso.

On our way back we made one stop for gas and some BIG BOY HAMBURGERS. They were about the size of a Pan-Cake. When we divided the hamburgers up between us, we made a “Pledge”, that if we ever got a Hit Record, we would divide our songs up as we did those Big Boy Hamburgers, so that we all would Share in The Fruits of Our Labor.

This is why you see all of our names on our Music. We are not just a Band, we are a Brotherhood! Finally, when we made it back to Los Angeles, we pulled off the Harbor Freeway ramp at the Wilshire Exit and I remember this so well as if it happened just a few months ago …. I looked to my right and there was a $20.00 Bill hanging on the Chrome of the Vehicle next to us … Wow! So, after making sure everyone got home, I went back home in Gardena California, my first wife Doe and I were living with my parents. We were expecting our first child and we felt it would better be being near family. We’re Home!

Well, my mother Icie said she was going to make us a Home Cooked Meal. All I had to do was go to the local meat market

The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!” Remember my High School Buddy Henry McKine we took the test for the Marine Corp back in June of 1964. It was the middle of June 1965 The Creators Played for the Centennial High School Prom Henry McKine had escorted his girlfriend to the Prom. He was in his Full-dress Marine Uniform and I was in our Band uniform, I said to Henry you look great and Henry says to me, Harold you could have had one to.

Well, inside the meat market I noticed this new Newspaper in the Stand I seen a photo of Henry McKine and my first thought was Wow he got His Face in The Los Angeles Sentinel. So, I get home put all the groceries in the kitchen, I go back into the living room and I get a chance to read the paper and read that (I still get Chills & Tears in my Eyes) The Whole Platoon and everyone on the plane Crashed and Killed Everyone June 25, 1965 including my High School Buddy. I have tears in my eyes now when I re-late this Time in my Life. Knew Then that God had another Plan for Me … The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!”  Who knows if I had been there maybe everything would have turned out Differently?

Also, that Summer of August 11, 1965 we had just left Bob Eubanks “Club Cinnamon Cinder” in North Hollywood, for a rehearsal/sound check. Heading back to Compton/Gardena CA we headed South on the Harbor Freeway (710) exiting on Imperial Highway heading East towards Avalon and found ourselves in the Middle of the Watts Riots. We had been opening at night for famous R&B Acts like The Drifters, The Coasters and Ike & Tina Turner. That was one Hot Summer of Action!

Again, The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!” Remember Old Man Fulbright, he wanted us the Creators to be Otis Redding’s Back Up Band … Otis Redding’s Plane Crashed December 10, 1967 Lake Monona, Madison, WI … God Has a Master Plan!

AC: Tell us a little about your first band the Creators, who were the players and what did they bring to the musical table?

HB: As I had mentioned, there were various members at times, but there are few People I/we would like Give Respect to: Johnny Hamilton Vocalist and Showmen he was like a Big Brother to us. Johnny had about 7 Years on us and knew the streets & entertainers of South Los Angeles. Mosses Wheelock, he was our Conga Player and Vocalist as well. Moses had that Afro Cuban Groove. Milton James Myric You will see Milton’s name on a lot of our songs to this day. He also helped with vocals and lyrics at times. He’s great person to work with when it comes to lyrics & ideas.

The Vietnam War had been heating up. We the Creators were offered a Dream of a life Time, to be booked at the Thunderbird Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. We were going to be paid $500.00 each a week; Back in those days 1965-67 for some young musicians out of Compton, San Pedro & Long Beach that was Nice Money. Well, we were getting ourselves ready and then Howard Scott: Vocals & Guitar, along with Bobby Nicolson: Trumpet & Vocals got Drafted into the Army … in December of 1965 Ouch!

So, for me, Harold Brown my business that I had started after High School was not doing as well as it had done when I started. I had made the mistake of letting others run/ruined it, so I went an Joined the Machinist Union got a job as a Class “C” Machinist and during the Vietnam War in just a few years I wound up being a Class “A” Machinist doing special Prototype jobs. I made great money. I was able to buy a home for our young family.

Then its evolution into Night Shift,

I was working the“Night Shift”, because they paid “Time & Half”, at a Steel Yard located on the Edge of Compton … At the corner of Avalon Boulevard & East Compton Boulevard. It was December of 1967 I got a call from Howard Scott. He was being discharged from the army. He had completed his Military Duties with full honors. That was great news to me. My longtime Musical Brother was coming Home … Show Time!

Howard Scott and I started all over again putting the pieces together. Howard was back on School Street in Compton, I was living in Pomona California, about 47-50 miles between us. In fact, I met Sylvester Papa Dee Allen (The Original Percussion Player for WAR) playing his Conga & Bongos at a gas station in Pomona California. I/we were still in contact with Leroy Lonnie Jordan: Piano. Morris BB Dickerson had moved to Hawaii, George Brown our Sax player from the Creators had moved on to doing his thing. Bobby Nicolson the Creators Trumpet Player was still in the Army.

Well, as Fate would have it, you never know who or what event will be that connection to that “Big Break”that you have been in Search Of! I and Howard had decided to name the Group “Night Shift” since I was working the “Night Shift” in the “Steel Yard”. I had to decided that I was going to re-tire from my job as a Machinist at American Hoist in Irwindale California. I decided to take a Gamble on My/Our Dream. I knew it would take at least a year for them to foreclose on our home in Pomona CA. I sold all my Machinist Tools so if and when things got tough & tight I couldn’t Punk Out and go back to the Machine Shop. I order a set of Drums from Spiegel’s Catalog, it was a set of “Pearl Drums”, they cost me $199.00, Yes $199.00 … That was one of the best investments I made in myself (When you hear “Spill the Wine” that’s the drums https://youtu.be/NXavy54NiDw ) So, I started going back into the Hollywood area and started trying to make contact with some of our Old Contacts we had made as The Creators … The Whisky Ago Go, Crush Velvet, Musician Union. The gigs we would come up with were casuals, a gig here and there.

After about a year, things were getting very tight, the house was going into foreclosure, I needed to maybe abandon the idea of being a Rock & Roll Star and find a Job. I had read this newspaper that a drug Store Chain (Thrifty) was looking for young people to train as store managers; I thought maybe this could be something I could be good at. So, I decided I would go to North Hollywood/Thousand Oaks area and apply for the training. I was down to about $7.00 to my name.

Well, it was a Day I will never forget. When I got to the Thrifty Drug Store in North Hollywood the manager looked at me (Before Affirmative Action Took Place) due to the color of my skin and told me I was at the wrong store, I needed to go to the one over in the Crenshaw are of Los Angeles predominately Black & Asian part of the City. Well, The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect” was in Action Again! While driving back down the Hollywood Freeway I needed to take a PP, Yes, a PP. So, I got off on Sunset Boulevard headed west towards Liberty Records that sat across the street from Hollywood High School, here I am with less than $7.00 to my name, kids and wife at home and about to be foreclosed. I started thinking about Marshall Leib.

He was a producer and him and I were tight. When I had my auto detail business in 1964, I was one of the only people he would let wash his Ferraris. At times I would do some recording with him laying down drums tracks in the studios in Hollywood.

Marshall Leib sees Me an Says, “Harold I been thinking about You. Sonny this is Harold Brown, Harold This is Sonny Bono! Can you wait for? I want to talk to you, said Yes!” So, I went out to the small lobby an took a set looking at all the Gold Records & inquiring… Marshall had married Frankie Laine’s daughter.

After a very short time Marshall Leib and Sonny Bono came out from there meeting and bid good-bye, then Marshall ask me to come down to the Original Sound Studio with him that was located 7120 West Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles CA … Original Sound was founded on January 30, 1959 by Deejay Art Laboe.

So, we got to the studio and Marshall was doing some mixing at the board … Then the phone rang … Ring Ring, Marshall picks up the phone and answered, Hello! Yes Timi, you need a drummer, I got one of the best setting here in the studio right now, I’ll send on over. So, I jumped my Hooptie and made a “B Line” on over. The address was located on North Kings Drive in Beverly Hills California. I was down about $4.00 in my pocket, about to be foreclosed on and having to find some place for my wife Doe and Our Three Children (Ray, Darrel & Janice) and pulling up to this Big Mansion on a Hill made me feel My/Our Luck was changing.

Well, upon entering, there were other musicians setting around complaining that they needed amps, strings, drum-sticks and transportation. This Lady they were complaining to turned out to be Timi Yuro a re-nouned Soul & R&B Singer during the 1960’s, Number #I’m Hurt…

I said to myself, “I am not leaving our group “The Night Shift” to join this group of musicians. I will just wait go back down to the Studio and tell Marshal Leib to give Timi Yuro a call and tell her to let those guys go, He/We have a group ready to go called “The Night Shift!”

Well, The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect” was in Action Again! As I returned to the Original Sound Studio, I was about to go back upstairs to the Control Room where Marshall Leib was mixing and I came upon this Young Man setting on the stepping with his head in the palm of his hands saying, “They always do this to me, they always do this to me!” I said to him, “What’s wrong?” He replied to me, “That he had some dates planned and They/Timi took his Band from him.”  I replied to him, “You got dates, I got a band!”

Then One Beautiful Day I can remember Like it just happened a few years ago while Pulling up in the rear Parking lot of SIR Studio Instrument Rentals “The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!” Mr. Charles W. Miller! He had been recording and had some success in pursuing his musical career with a few hits under Senor Soul his band. He had attended Long Beach Poly Class of 1958 and I also Class of 1964

Charles had been in the Marching band and he understood How the Horn section had to work together. This was an important key for us, being we had a horn section and Charles knowing what and How a Horn section had to function together …  it really came in Handy When Mr. Lee Oskar became part of the “Formula!”  So, We, Howard Scott and I spoke to Charles W. Miller knew He would be a very important part of helping us get the Horn Section together … “Show Time!”

So, we knew R. B. Greaves was going to sing a few songs doing the show, But Here comes the Shocker! Deacon Jones had just released a 45 Single titled “Lovin and a Pro”, Yes “Lovin & a Pro”, He wanted to be part of the Review too!

We also had 3 backup singers, who later Recorded with Doctor John on “Night Tripper” in 1969-1970 along with (2) two percussionist Mosses Wheelock and Sylvester Papa Dee Allen. So, all total we had approximately 13 Artist including the backup singers on stage plus R.B. Greaves and Deacon Jones for a total of 15 that was part of the review.

AC: Tell us about the first time you met Eric Burton, what did you think of him? What did he think of you guys, whose Idea was it to back him up? How did the music take shape?

HB: Remember our Bass player at the time, Peter Rosen (*Always telling Us he knew Eric Burdon and one day he was going to come to show and us out!) Well, it turned out Peter had a connection with Eric Burdon from the Animals through Steve Gold & Jerry Goldstein who owned for a Poster Company he was working for that specialized in making Posters for Various Artist called “The Visual Thing”. Well that last weekend performance Peter keep on telling us that Eric Burdon was coming to hear us perform. That last night as I remember Deacon Jones was off in Palm Springs California playing Golf. To this day I don’t think he had the heart to tell us that was our last week-end at the Rag Doll Night Club. I remember going out-side and seeing this fancy Jaguar park out in front of the Rag Doll, going back into the club I could hear whispers going around in the audience that someone of Notoriety was in the Audience.

It was our Last Night and our Last set at the Rag Doll. So, we knew We Had to Leave A Lasting Memory of That Set. Remember We were the Creators/A Jam Band. We played music from Booker T & The MGs, Shuffles, Blues Tunes, Latin Tunes. Then finally A Young man came towards the Stage. Me, I wasn’t sure if it was Eric Burdon or Not, But He had an Afro Bigger than Mine (Lee Oskar) and He Said, “Can I Play My Harmonica with You?” and I heard Charles W Miller Say, “What Key?” “C” and the Show Was ON! We started off with a slow Blues, Into a Shuffle, a 6/8 and a Boogaloo! When we Finished the Folks in the Club was All up in a Roar Beating on Tables, Shouting and Clapping! We Left the Rag Doll Burning, On Fire! You Could Feel the Building Vibrating.

So, as Brothers Do! We went back in the Dressing Room Giving each Other the “High 5” our Adrenaline at its Peak. After a about 5 maybe 10 minutes a Long-Haired Hippie came into the Dressing Room very calmly introducing himself “Jerry Goldstein” and saying you guys were Great! We would like to arrange a meeting with you and talk. Jerry Goldstein, invited us to come the follow day for Lunch/Bruch Sunday afternoon. He/they lived in Laurel Canyon, which is above Hollywood in the Hollywood Hills.

Sunday after-noon came quickly. We made our way to the address located along on of the many hillsides in Laurel Canyon. When we arrived and knocked on the door, I will never forget this very Attractive Lady (Lois) dress in a Black Bikini Bathing Suit and wearing Ray-Ban Shades Looking Very Hollywood, answered the door, we entered. It was laid-out along with food on the kitchen counter, along with various beverages for consumption. The people there were very Cordial, the one that I gravitated most towards was “Steve Gold”; he had a very distinguish Voice (That’s the Voice you hear laughing at the end of our “Why Can’t We Be Friends Video” on YouTube). Steve Gold was Funny and a Genius. He was a Veteran of WWII, also he was wounded a few times, one in his right leg, which gave him a distinctive walk. Steve had also had a Hit or two records under his belt. One being with “Ritchie Valens” (La Bamba & Donna)

*Very important lesson here Steve thought Me. You need two hits. The first hit song gets You noticed, and the second hit gets you Paid.)

So, I moseyed out by the swimming pool there was this young man Posing alongside the swimming pool wearing a black swim suit and he was also wearing a pair of Black Ray-Bans. It was “Eric Burdon!” Looking very Hollywood, our cultures started merging together that Sunday (Food & Music). This was my first-time eating Locks & Bagels with cream cheese. I remember Asking for some hot sauce to put on my locks and bagels. I was fine with the slice meats, cheese, bread and Water Melon. The music was great, they were listening to a lot of the same music we were listening to that was being played over the various radio station doing those days in 1969.  I must admit one of my favorite dishes from Great Britain is “Steak and Kidney Pie” Yummy!

After everyone shared Stories, Memories and Jokes we had a quick meeting and decided that we would all meet that following Monday afternoon on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. Steve Gold and Jerry Goldstein had an office just off Canon Drive. They were designing and promoting various Artist. So, that night I gave my car keys to Lonnie Jordan so they could make their run back towards South Los Angeles and Compton. I spent the night with Steve and Jerry sleeping on the couch. The following morning, I remember Steve Gold saying to me, “You Spent the Night to see How Whitey Lived” Ha-ha! I grow up with all nationalities. When I was very young in Long Beach the closes Black family that lived near our family was a half a block away, The Scott Family.

We made our way on over to Canon Drive in Beverly Hills for this meeting. At the meeting were, (Eric Burdon, Lee Oskar, Howard Scott, Charles W Miller, Sylvester Papa Dee Allen, Lonnie Jordan, Peter Rosen, Steve Gold, Jerry Goldstein and me Harold Ray Brown). All of a sudden Steve Gold started Laughing (The Laugh you hear on the “Why Can’t We Be Friends” Video! Because we dress like the Hoods we came from, Not all Hollywood, but like the Hood. Steve Gold says, “You Guys look just like liked you just came in from a WAR! That’s what we need to call you WAR! … He was laughing so HARD He was turning Red in the face and Tears in his Eyes.

So, then We all started talking and coming up with a plan. Using Eric Burdon name recognition to Launch a new Act/Artist/Band.

Using Eric Burdon as the Rocket to Launch us as a Sputnik Satellite to Orbit the Globe.

Thus, we came up with “Eric Burdon & War”.I/we Love Eric, so much for believing in us and giving us that BIG BREAK! That so many of us Artist be in Search of. Here’s one of the things I always remember about Eric Burdon, before we even went into a full blown out Rehearsals Eric had us come to his home up in Laurel Canyon to just listen to various artist of all types, Blues, Rock, World Music and sometimes Music we had never heard before. After a couple of weeks, we finally got into rehearsals, playing a few covers and jamming, because that was what turned Eric and Lee Oskar on. Ever since we were “The Creators Band”

We have always been “A JAM BAND”. We were at our best playing Out-Side the Box. At some point we needed to replace Peter Rosen the Bass Player, due to our style of playing out-side the box. Howard Scott our -Band Leader & Lead guitarist, felt we needed to get Morris D Dickerson AKA “BB” The Original Bass Player & Vocalist in “The Creators” back into the Rhythm Section. Because a lot of times we would be back stage and Eric would just walk out on to the stage playing on a Cow-Bell, or He may say to us go out and just start playing something in any key. Then He would come out and just start Ad Libbing, right off his head and we would build our performance around what was coming out of his Head.

AC: Tell us about your first show with Eric?

HB: Our very first show we did as “Eric Burdon & War” was at the “Mother Lizards” June 6 & 7, 1969 in San Bernardino California.

I can remember having jams in a Condo in the back of the Chateau Marmont located on Sunset Strip after playing at the “Whiskey A Go Go” on the Strip and “Jimi Hendrix” came by the condo with a couple of friends and Lonnie Jordan would be on the Piano, Howard on an acoustic guitar, Charles W Miller on a flute, Lee Oskar on his harmonica, Papa Dee and I would go get us a Pot & Pan and the Jam would be on.

AC: Tell us about your first trip to England and the time Jimi Hendrix jammed with you, tell us some things most folks down know about you and Jimi.

HB: Finally, after playing the Hollywood Circuit, Rock Festivals all around the USA keeping our Eye’s on “The Green Book!” There were times we were on the Road for 9 months straight before returning to our hometowns in Southern California. We learned a lot from “Terry McVaye” Our very First, Tour Manger/Road Manager/Stage Manager/Roadie/Driver/Sound Man and More! He had been in the Queens Navy. So, it came time to do our very first tour out-side of the United States to England part of the United Kingdom.

AC:  How was Great Britain?

HB: Upon arriving to Great Britain, passing security, hearing the accents, meeting the various people. I remember ounce walking down the street and some workers called down to us asking, “American where’s your Gun?” This was in 1970 … Ouch!

Our very first UK Concert was in “Hyde Park”. I will never forget all the people there going Ballistic! There was a review of the show in a very Famous Magazine called “New Musical Express” the Headline read, “Burdon and War. Best Live Band We’ve Ever Seen!

for me being there in London was a very new experience for us. Being Born and Raised in Southern California for the most part we knew of the Beatles & The Rolling Stones, but as for all the other various Artist there were American Jazz Artist, Rahsaan Roland KirkHugh Masekela from South Africa and Ravi Shankar a musician from India.

AC: Tell us about Jimi Hendrix?

HB: So, I/we Learned, “The Music & Food of Each Culture has its Own Flavor!” This brings up one of my “Last Experience’s” with Jimi Hendrix on a personal level. It was the day before our last show at Ronnie Scott’s, located @ 47 Firth St., in the Soho District of London. I was hanging with Jimi the night before Hendrix’s Last Jam on Stage. Him and I were going down an Alley like area, which was loaded with shops and Indian food restaurants just around the corner from Ronnie Scott’s. Jimi was walking in front of me, leading the way. I ask,” Jimi where are you taking me?” I will always remember him looking back at me from over his left shoulder wearing his Black Velvet Hat and Black Velvet Jacket, Saying to Me, “Come on Brown I am Going to Show You How to Eat When You Come to Europe!”   Jimi Hendrix turned me on to “Tandoori Chicken” … along Cumin Rice, Green Chutney…Yummy to the Tummy! 

So, the next night came on around, which I believe was a Friday September 18, 1970. It was to be our last night at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club before making our way back to the USA. Some African Musicians were performing Up-Stairs. The group was “Osibisa” an Afrobeat Band.

The atmosphere at Ronnie Scott’s that night was very Special. We had made new Friends and Fans. Occasionally I/we do hear from some of them that were there that night at Jimi’s Last Jam. In-fact you can find it on You-Tube. We were in to our first set and I noticed that Jimi and a couple of other people when he had entered Ronnie Scott’s. Nothing unusual. He was given a nice seat & table. Me being a drummer in the middle of the band stand, I recall him seating off to the right (about 2:00) of the stage having a great view and access to the small dance floor about a row or two from the rear.

We finally got to our last song and “Eric Burdon” Invited “Jimi Hendrix” to come up on stage and Jam with us. it was “Tabaco Road” All the way Live https://youtu.be/6P0yvs7ppec 

AC: How special was that moment?

HB: One of My, most re-lived moments of being on stage with “Jimi Hendrix” Was, when we were playing a 4/4 Shuffle 90-100 BPM and Jimi was standing over my Left Shoulder talking into my Left Ear in a whisper saying, “Yes Brown Right There, Right There”. I still can see his Right Hand Over to my Right by my Floor Tom. I still get Chills on my arms and once and awhile I even get Tears in my Eyes, because that was the last time, we would Jam Together.

AC: Where were you and how did you feel the first time you heard “Spill the wine” on the radio?

HB: We finally released our very first single as Eric Burdon & War. Titled “Spill the Wine”. Hearing your music on the Local Radio Stations was like an Imaginary Dream and the High that you get when hearing your song coming from the Auto next to you or from someone’s home stereo was a Buzz I can’t quite explain. Here’s one for you, I remember going to Lee’s apartment when he lived on Fountain

Avenue in Hollywood. I was riding my bicycle and had a few of our First Single “Spill the Wine” on 45s, putting them on folks’ windshields of their Car Parked along the streets of Hollywood … For True!

AC: I understand was put on a $200 per week per diem which is like $1,200 dollars a week 2019 money, everybody quit their day gigs, how did that change you?

HB: We finally were able to dedicate ourselves to our life time dream of being professional Artist and being able to care for our families. Far-Out Music and Eric Burdon were able to put us on a $200.00 a week guaranteed Salary, which help with paying rent, gas and groceries. Some of the band members were very frugal/thrifty, but then you had to be very careful of getting caught up in the Hollywood Hustle, were people would want to spend most of their money Partying and would have to borrow money from a Thriftier Band Mate. I remember Steve Gold Telling me, “Learn to Live Below Your Means” to find the Lowest Comfort Zone Financially and Live at Comfort to not over extend yourself or Family, being Big Shot!

AC: Tell us about the band Eric Burden parted ways in late 1971, how did that go down?

HB: We were doing our second tour of Europe & Great Britain as Eric Burdon and War. The tour took through Newcastle (Meeting some Eric’s Family members). We had gotten somewhere in the middle of the tour Great Britain and Eric Burdon came to my (Harold Ray Brown) room and Him and I had a heart to Heart talk. Eric, you got to remember had been Touring for quite some time already as “Eric Burdon & The Animals”, Eric was Tired/Exhausted and just gotten a new home on a small quite ranch in California and just wanted to take a Long, well deserved Break from the Rigors of Being A “Rock N Roll Star!” Eric, had been touring since 1963 -1969 as “Eric Burdon & The Animals”. So, I told Eric, it’s OK! We can do the Rest of the tour just as “WAR!” Remember we were, “The Creators” The Original Jam Band. We had been writing and doing our own music for a lot of years, “So It was the Time for Us to Stand Up or Shut Up!”

We had been doing covers and writing our own Songs. That eventually came out on our Very First Solo album titled “WAR” Three Fingers and a Smile 😊 Howard Scott has always been one of the main writers along with Sylvester Allen AKA “Papa Dee, Lee Oskar, Charles W Miller, Lonnie Jordan, Morris D Dickerson AKA “BB” and Give the Drummer Some Harold Brown. Some of the songs we did when we had to Break Out On our own, were “Sun Oh Son, Lonely Feelin’. Also, we had help from others, Milton JamesHilton Valentine from the Animals and our Engineer Chris Huston. It we learned at a very early period of our careers it took a TEAM! All that said, the Inside Joke was our first album went “VINYL!” … Get It?

AC: It was said, “Our voices and instruments were our weapons in hand and our songs were our ammo” Do you guys were successful in changing the musical landscape over the years?

HB: I can remember we first did a concert in a non-English speaking country. Where you couldn’t understand what they were saying or trying to express to you, except using body language. It was when we did our first show in Japan. We were on stage and could see the people setting very reserved in their seats. When they heard our very first song and they Felt the Energy the very reserve attendees we had seen in the Seats Suddenly Broke Out of their Seats and were Standing in front of the Stage Wave their hands in the air, dancing and going Crazy. We learned that Music Can have Calming or A Radical Effect on your Fans. So, as we toured, we learned that If our Musical Fans are all put up and Negative energy is in the air, we may choose to end our set with a Song like All Day Music. If you have ever noticed the Music, they play at Sporting Events to get their Team or Fans Pumped they will use a lot of Majors, Staccatos Notes and a Lot Strong Beats with a lot of Cymbal Crashes adding a little Mega Forte’ along with Accelerando. So, we go with the Energy of our Fans.

AC: Who were the primary song writers for the War Catalog, who are ones responsible for the biggest hits?

HB: We discovered very early that we all had special gifts that made us Unique, just like each digit on each hand is very important.

Howard Scott has always had a talent for coming up with the Hook lines/Story line and a simple Guitar Riffs that were/are Inspiring. Such as “CISCO KID”, I remember going over to wear Howard was living at the time and he was out by the swimming pool setting on his guitar when he played it to me. Another Big Hit that Actually was our First Big Hit was “Slipping into Darkness!” Inspired mainly by Howard Scott, Lee Oskar & Charles W Miller horn Lines, Morris D Dickerson’s Bad Ass Bass lines, Lonnie Jordan Keyboards, Sylvester Papa Dee Allen Percussions along with the Drum Groove, that I was Laying Down gave us that “THANG = FUNK = WAR MUSIC!”  One day Sylvester Papa Dee Allen and I were driving back to Pomona California from Malibu California and “Papa Dee” came up with an idea for a song “The World is A Ghetto”, because we realized that even the Rich People had problems to. “Big Money, Big Problems, Little Money Little Problems, No Money Problems, Problems!” But what made “The World is A Ghetto” so touching was Morris D Dickerson Unique Vocals and the Intro of Howard’s Wawa Guitar Part. Once again, the Horn Lines and all the Textures. Now Here We Go! “LOW RIDER” Inspired and Sung by Mr. CHARLES W MILLER! We were all gathered together in the studio doing like we did, jamming when all of a sudden Charles starting singing about a “Low Rider”, “BB” started laying down That Funky Bass Line, Me on Drums I found myself playing on the Up Beat instead of on the Down Beat, but I didn’t Panic, I just Stayed in The Groove.

One of Our Biggest Hit’s 😊 “WHY CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS?” This Song has been “Timeless” It’s Just as Important Today the Day We Wrote It and Sung It. It was the First Song Beamed into Outer Space, When The Russians & Americans Made the “Soyuz-Apollo” Hook-Up Conducted In July of 1975. Songs like” City Country City”, was Inspired by Mr. Lee Oskar’s Melody. All the music we created took a Team, Our Producer Mr. Jerry Goldstein Kept the tape Running along with our Engineer Chris Huston … “A Team” made the Hit’s!

“We were not just a Band, but a Brotherhood!”

AC: You, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, B.B Dickerson, Lonnie Jordan and The Late Papa Dee Allen and Charles Miller’s had a string of hit singles and Gold Records, what were some of the most memorable gig during that time?

HB: “Shea Stadium”, …Wait A Minute! it just came to me. When we went to Lee Oskar’s Home Country,” DENMARK!”  When we Landed Guest What Happened? We heard so much about Denmark from our Brother Lee Oskar. The Journey he made to get to American in search of his dream. How he had sleep on Bus stops, couch Surfing any place he could rest his head in New York, finally hitchhiking to get to Hollywood CA. Well, finally He/We got the chance to go to Lee’s home Country Denmark in 1971 where he had been raised. Where he first discovered his First Love a “Harmonica”. We had never been to Copenhagen, the Capitol of Denmark. Well, the opportunity came for us to go to Copenhagen to do a Concert and a TV Show there, we were very excited to go, and Lee was very excited to be able to go making a Full Circle and getting to perform and see some of his child hood friends as well.

While traveling, we had bought some unusual Items. Howard had purchased a Bullet Belt that he across his Chest and I had bought an Old Flint Lock Rifle. We took the long flight to get to Copenhagen with our Antiques, Howard’s Bullet Belt and my Flint Lock Rifle They Surrounded us and took our passports when we got off the plane thinking we were some of “President Fulgencio Batista y Zaldiva” Revolutionary Army out of Cuba.

Not realizing we were a band called “WAR!” Lee tried to explain to them we were a band not an Army from Cuba, the more he spoke in his native language the more they became suspicious. Finally, they understood we were just a Band Called “WAR” Not a Revolutionary Army out of South America. We made our way on into the Beautiful Country of Denmark and I finally understood what Lee Oskar was able to relate to our way of Food and Culture. I remember when we made our first road trip and a few of us were setting in a restaurant back Philadelphia eating and Lee came up to the window and look in at what we were eating and ran into the Café and ask what you are eating, we responded “SOUL FOOD!” Soul Food! That’s what we eat in Denmark, well it was on from There! We not only had a common tread in Music, but we Had a common tread in “SOUL FOOD!

AC: When did you realize that you were famous, and the band had really made it?

HB: One day I was Cruising down “SUNSET BOULEVARD” heading away from Beverly Hills heading East. I had made that run since 1966-1969 and just as I came into the curve there was a Giant Billboard not with the Beatles Faces or The Rolling Stones, but with our Faces promoting Us “WAR” that’s when I/we had realized that we were famous!

AC: What you think the pinnacle of success was for the original band?

HB: I/we knew we were at the top of our Careers, when we could live our Dreams, we were buying dream Homes, Cars, the latest clothing Fashions. Me I felt great that I/we could send our Children to great Schools. Also, being able to take those dream Vacation, like to Kona Hawaii. I remember going to Hawaii and taking Sailing Lessons and Sailing around Diamond Head. All the kids learning to Scuba Dive and getting them Golf and Music Lessons. In-fact I have had 2 Hole in Ones! After my second Hole in One, I stopped playing Golf, I felt I could go back to school and use those 4-5 hours learning new skills … I’m just saying!

AC: What are some of your favorite songs and why? Same question about favorite albums.

HB: One of my favorite songs that we wrote and performed is “SLIPPING INTO DARKNESS” When Howard came up with that song and concept, I had been working on a groove that I heard a good buddy of mine “Ron Hammond” a drummer as well was doing. So, I decided I would try to come up with something that was very similar to what I interpret him doing and I came up with a slight variance of that lick that you hear me playing on slipping Into Darkness. I was written up in the magazine “DOWN BEAT” for using that groove. One day I called my son Darrell Lewis Brown, he’s a drummer to (He’s a better drummer than me) Darrell lives in Japan.

There was a young man got on the phone and went on to say, “Mr. Brown I never thought I was going to tell you this story, I am/was the Bass Player for Tupac Shakur. We were in the studio recording in New York and he Loved that groove you do on Slipping into Darkness. We had one of the top session drummers come to lay down the drum tracks, the first played, it was good, but it was not that Thang you do, he sent him home. He had another session drummer come in, he still didn’t quite hit that Groove. So, he had a programmer come into try and program it, but it still didn’t have that Thang (Groove). So, packed up and just sent everybody Home. I had always wondered why, when we were doing a tour back East and day on our tour bus Tupac Shakur came on our Tour Bus, walked pass all the crew and band members and came back and shook my hand and gave me a Hug. When we go into the Studio to Record or even on Stage to this day, I always tell myself, “Harold Keep It Simple!” As for my Favorite Album(s)” All Day Music & The World Is A Ghetto”.

AC: If you were not a founding member of War, what band do you wish you could have been in?

HB: If I had not been a founding member of the band “WAR” MOST LIKELY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN IN A BAND. I would have more than likely went back to school and study things I like doing. Like Computers, Writing Music, But I have to say back in 1983 after I came out of in the mid-1986-87 I moved to New Orleans and got a New Lease on Life. I had a rehearsal studio in an Old Fire House. We called it Fire-House Studios. Some of our clients were, Flavor Flav, Cyndi Lauper, Aaron Neville and Tom Croce (Jim Croce) as some of our Artist-Clients

I was able to relate to the Culture, Food and Music. I study History, Architecture, and music there. I became a Licensed Tour Guide. I study all the Plantations, Cemeteries and Water Ways. I did however come across an Artist that I really enjoyed performing with and developing, “BRUCE “SUNPIE” BARNES!” Him and I are still very well connected. We did a few Albums together and have some unreleased track with the Famous “CLARENCE GATEMOUTH BROWN!”

AC: How did success change you, and the members of the band, many bands succumbed to substance abuse?

HB: Success effect people in different ways. Some will go and buy Ferraris, Mercedes Benz and others will buy a Ford or Volkswagen. Some would move to Up-Scaled Neighborhoods and some would stay in their Hometown Neighborhoods. The Biggest thing I noticed was a lot of Groupies would inundate Us.

There’s a difference between Fans and GroupiesFans were there because they Loved your music and personalitiesGroupies were a group of Females and Males that wanted to be seen with you hanging Out, Party Mode and some would encourage Drug Use. I myself came to a point realizing that there were a lot of “Opportunists!” Some with good intentions and there were those who wanted to get close, make like your friends supplying various Drugs and Bringing in Negative and sometimes Positive Energy trying to figure out how to fit in to your Band, Road Crew and Business Structure.

AC: What happened to disembowel the original band? Did everyone just quit and walk away?

HB: I, Harold Brown gave up a full Scholarship to Valparaiso University in 1964 to be a Musician/Artist. So, I had been reading and studying the Music Business. I noticed that a lot of our Band were more prone to” Short Term Creed” rather than “Long Term Creed”.” Short Term Creed” is How Much Can I get Now (The Gob) opposed to” Long Term Creed” Spreading the Money over a longer period for a Better arrangement. I found that a lot of the band-members were not thinking of the future. Lee Oskar did, He kept his name & developed his Trademark and Name. Well, that was a turn off for me!

Then 1978-79” Morris BB Dickerson” Was no Longer Touring due to the Pressures of the traveling needing to take a Break from the Hustle & Bustle of Show Business. Not Long after “BB” taking a Sabbatical Leave.

Not long after Charles W Miller felt that the Group “WAR” was no Long the Same without “Morris D Dickerson” touring with the Band… “WAR!” Big Brother Charles W Miller was Right!

The remaining Original 5 members Hired non-contractual side-men, Pat Rizzo on Sax, Luther Rabb on Bass and Luther’s Long Time Band mate Ron Hammond on Drums. I thought it would be great to have Ron along and go with using two Drummers. We also had brought in a Female Vocalist Tweed Smith. We were in the middle of doing our 13th album when all these changes came and Disco was just the new Crave “The In-Thing”, at Time 1980-81.

Remember we had been playing together as the “Creators, Night Shift & WAR” for many years prior and we had that Connection … That “Thang!” The new members were great musicians, in-fact they were Studio Quality Musicians … That was the Problem and the difference. All our Music Came from the “Soul” not what was on the Radio at The Time. Disco 120 BPM … Play it to the Click Track, “Click, Click, Click & Click! Click This 😉We had fallen into the Trap of being Followers not Innovators!

It was the beginning of the Summer When I/we Heard that Our Big Brother “Charles W Miller” had been Murdered over the Week-end of June 14th, 1980. We all were Shocked, in a Stage of Disbelief. All the stuff that we had been through. I could remember when Charles and I were running the Streets of Long Beach California.

I remember one evening Charles and I were cruising along Hill Street & Lewis Avenue taking a short cut through the alley and came upon a Car Burning in a parking stall under some apartments and Him and I went Banging and throwing Trash cans on doors to get folks out of those apartments. I had always hoped that He and “BB” be back in the Band “WAR” At some point for a new album and a Reunion Tour. Life with It’s Twist and Turns … “The Chaos Theory, “Butterfly Effect!” 

Well, we were changing fast. The Band was no longer the Band that it was and the” Magic Was Gone!” The music business Was A Changing. Fun for me was not running up and down the Road as it were a Big Party. Drugs, Woman and Rock-N-Roll was not Me. I was Blessed … Yes, I did some Acid, Yes, I did some Cocaine, Yes, I dabble in a lot of the Party and Drugs, but “I Had Lost A Taste for that Lifestyle!

I had given up on a College Education. Being in the Music Business for me Was a Business not a Hobby! I would try to explain to the remaining members about how we needed to prepare Our Lives for when we wouldn’t be wanting to Tour up and Down the Road to earn a Living. I would talk about our Publishing, Writers Royalties, Performance Royalties.

I had heard so many stories about Artist & Musicians winding Up with no Money$ I would try to explain what I had read, Senior member Papa Dee and He said to Me, “Aw Shucks! That’s the Way the White Man Do Business” 

Finally, that day November-December 1983 came That I “HAROLD RAY BROWN” decided I had had enough of the Bull-Shit and Rock-N-Roll and I Left the “WAR” Band Leaving Ron Hammond as the Drummer for “WAR!” At this point the only remaining Original Members were “HOWARD SCOTT, LEE OSKAR, LONNIE JORDAN & SYLVESTER PAPA DEE ALLEN

It was not easy leaving the Band and having to start all over. The lack of touring was rough financially, my Homies that I would want to hang out with did not have the cash as I did for a while. So, going golfing, fishing or just Hanging Out was not a good option.

I started going to school started learning computer programing, music theory, electronic music and then history and so forth! I am Glad I did … Amen, Amen! I had found a new life and was not depend on Touring, So I got out of School I moved to New Orleans and Work as a Stage Hand at the Sanger Theatre located @ 1111 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA a lot of folks didn’t know who I was until some of the Red-Hot Chili Peppers, Gladys Knight, Mc Hammer busted Me.

I came up with a Slogan “All Bands Would Be Garage Bands If It Wasn’t for The Stage Hands!

AC: Why is it that the Band that “The Originals” created known as “War” has only one original member Lonnie Jordan, and your band, The Lowrider band has 4 original members – this makes no sense.

HB: We lost the Rights to using the Name “WAR” By signing a bad contract back in 1987. I was no longer in the Band. I was going to school and get this call that there was a meeting taking place at an Attorney in Westwood at the meeting were (Howard Scott, Lonnie Jordan, Sylvester Allen, Myself and I think Lee Oskar was there also.

I was told that I was wanted at the meeting, because upon signing this agreement I would be coming back in to the Band “WAR”, I felt something was not Right about this situation and the surviving Originals felt that I was a Traitor by going back to work with Far-Out Productions/Far-Out Management.

I could come back in the group on one condition that I sigh that May 22,1987 Agreement, which stated that Far-Out Production own the Trade Mark “WAR” … I had noticed the Attorney (Jack Spiegelman, Esq.) that was supposed to be representing the Group Member was Cow Cowing, like this was not right and he was trying to send me/Us a signal not to sign.

After a few changes I went on and signed the agreement and, in that agreement, we were signing an agreement that acknowledges that Far-Out Production Owned the Trade Mark “WAR”.

Not Long After Signing that 1987 Agreement “Sylvester Papa Dee Allen” While performing on stage collapsed and never recovered. He “Transitioned” on August 30, 1988

Now here’s the last Nail in the coffin … So, in 1993 Far-Out Production wanted to do a Brand New So Called “WAR” Album entitled “PEACE SIGN”, I got this Old Hollywood Shuffle Call that I was wanted to be on the Peace Sign Album, but I would have to sign the 1993 Agreement with Far-Out Music.

Well I didn’t and nor did Lee Oskar. In-fact Lee Did not record perform or wrote anything for the Peace Sign Album. The only 2 Surviving Members of the Original Group that signed the 1993 Agreement with Far-Out Production/Music where Lonnie Jordan & Howard Scott.

When we went in to the Ninth District Federal Courts to show that Far-Out had defrauded us out of the name, it didn’t matter because in Signing the 1993 agreement it stated once again that in signing this agreement you agree that Far-Out Owns that Name “WAR! … OUCH! Well, when we went for an Appeal and the Courts said that since Two of the Originals Band Members signed it that was the nail in the Coffin so to Speak.

AC: Why the name Lowrider band?

HB: Steve Gold was the Genius behind all the early WAR Marketing concepts, and he had told me to Pick something that was very easy to remember, didn’t have a lot of words so it could fit on the Marquees/Billboards. At First, we tried going with the “THE SOB BAND” = SAME OLD BAND”, I/We tried using W-1-18, All the Young Folks thought it was Brilliant, but the Courts Blocked Us.

One day I was thinking of what would be a great name? and a name they could associate us with, Duh!  What’s one of our Biggest Hits that we Wrote and Performed? “LOWRIDER BAND!

If anyone ask us what songs you are famous for, we can start off with “Low Rider, Cisco Kid, Why Can’t We Be Friends, All Day Music, Slipping into Darkness, Me and Baby Brother and More!” When we were the Band Called WAR, a Lot of People would say Oh Yea “War What Is It Good For?” No, that not us that’s Edwin Star. We Wrote   Low Rider, Cisco Kid, Why Can’t We Be Friends, All Day Music, Slipping into Darkness, Me and Baby Brother … Oh I know those Songs, You Wrote Those? Yes!

AC: I understand that there is a court ruling that says The Lowrider band cannot even use the name ‘War’ in any of its advertisements? Isn’t this a case of whoever has the most expensive Lawyers can manipulate justice?

HB: I/We learned the Hard lesson. There are Various Types of Lawyers and Our mistake was We used the wrong type of Lawyers. You can’t use an Attorney That Specializes in Real Estate or Accident Attorney to Work in the Music Industry. We had a lot of Attorney’s that wanted to help us, but they didn’t have the Expertise or Connections Necessary for The Music Industry.

I/we are happy to say that we do have them working with us one being “Kenneth D. Freundlich” and a very special Forensic CPA” Fred Wolinsky!” Where the Money At? 

Keep in Mind you must have all your Contracts and Source Documents in Order. It took me a year to get it all together. I drew a time-line from Day one of Journey. Between Lee Oskar and I we had collected as much as possible. Then gave it to our CPA and Fred went Through it, piece by piece and was able find ill regularities in the Royalty Statements. This Gave our attorney Ken something to work with.

AC: I know many music industry people in my capacity as a global magazine editor, the fans say that The Lowrider Band puts on a better show than the “War” brand band, particularly because of Lee Oscar, what are your thoughts?

HB: Yes! The “LOWRIDER BAND” Puts on a better show. Ok, you Coke Cola in this Class that’s 5/7th full and you finish feeling it up with Water, and then in the other Class you have 1/7th of the class filed with Coke Cola and you top it off with Water … Which One is going to taste More like Coke Cola? You Got Albert Einstein … Ha, ha 😊

When you got Howard Scott as Stage Leader and Lee Oskar an Innovator and the Drummer Kicking the Original Grooves … You Fill in the Rest! “SHOW TIME!  I/we are not Knocking the Gentlemen that are on stage with our Dear Brother “Lonnie Jordan” they are great Studio & Stage Musicians.

In-Fact I wish they would make “WAR” Another Hit Record, So, we can make more Money, but it Takes That “THANG=FUNK!” And in Living that Life That We Lived! No One Gave it To Us, We Had to Earn It the “OLD SCHOOL WAY!”  As Big Brother ERIC BURDON Once Sung, “You Can’t Take Away Our Music”, But You Took Away Our Name “WAR!” Now what you Gonna Do with It is the Question?

AC: Tell me about Lonnie Jordan who was an Original, have you spoken to him, what is his take on this whole Lowrider Band vs. War situation?  Doesn’t he want to rekindle the magic with his former brothers in arms despite the trapping of legalism?

HB: First off, I Love Mr. Leroy” Lonnie” Jordan. I remember when Howard and I were just 15 Years old back in 1962 on School Street in Compton and Lonnie Lived around the corner from Howard.

I remember telling Lonnie’s Mother “OWENA” If you get Lonnie that Key Board (Fafisa Mini Keyboard) He would become a famous Musician someday. Well, He Is! I/we believed in him.

Lonnie is living up to the 1993 Agreement that he signed. Lonnie is doing what he knows best and that’s being an Entertainer. I do also believe Lonnie Leroy Jordan has a lot of Blockers around him.

What do I mean by that? He has a lot of Users and Losers surrounding him. If He were to come back to his Fellow Brothers, they would no Longer to be able to Be “BIG SHOTS!” Once I went to go see our Brother “MORRIS D DICKERSON” At the Rehabilitation Home, I came across Lonnie “Leroy” Jordan, His wife and a friend of theirs that was accompanying them.

I gave Lonnie my phone number, of which I had had the same number for going 30 years now, I watched as he was walking down the hall way to go see our brother “MORRIS D DICKERSON” and His wife reached into his pocket and took the note with my phone number on it and toss it in to the Trash Can … For True!

Another story reaching out to Lonnie. I was on my way to Ike Turners funeral in South Los Angeles when I had heard over the Radio that his mother Owena Keihle had died in a Fire at their home in Compton from Smoke Inhalation.

I was the only Band Member to go to the Celebration Life Thursday, January 10, 2008 @ 10:00 AM, “Jerry Goldstein” was there. I do have to admit that His Wife Teresa is Mad at me for Throwing that Cream pie at Him on Stage … Like I told my mother the Devil Ain’t made me do Nothing, I throw that Pie at Lonnie Leroy Jordan for disrespecting me and the rest of the Original Band Members.

I had hacked into the” Rock N Roll Hall of Fame” and type in, “War Should not Be in the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame till the Rightful Owners receive their Name Back” and then they blocked me! When War was nominated for the “Rock N Roll Hall of Fame” first time I received a phone call from the President of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. He said Hello I Mr. Steward I am the President of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame and we are Nominating “WAR” for the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, but the Original Members! I received another call within 45 minutes repeating the same thing.

The same phone number I have had nearly 30 Years, my New Orleans number … %)$!

AC: Why should fans come out and see The Lowrider Band, what can they experience, what is your musical vision?

HB: True Fans of Our Music need to come Hear How we perform the Songs That we wrote and Recorded. In-Fact we Never Play the Songs exactly the same Way Every Time. We are Not a Cover Band! … We are A Jam Band playing the Songs we Created and made Famous. Our Music is never Boring. We leave out our Comfort Zone and each time we play them we get a new experience. We also have new music that Howard, BB, Lee and I have been Creating.

AC: What are some of things you like to do in addition to music?

HB: Besides playing Music all the time, I do a lot of walking through our hometown for me (Long Beach California) running into Childhood friends at the Grocery Store, in fact one of the security guards came out singing Cisco Kid was a Friend of Mine, while I was talking with some other young people. I also like to take time to go talk to some of the Homeless, also Mentoring Young People.

One of the most touching things I enjoy is teaching some young person how to play drums or playing scales on a piano and then you may run into them walking with their Parents or Friends and they turn around and Wave at You. It is Written, “It is Far Greater to Have Your Name on written on Peoples Hearts Than to Have It Written in Stone “.

AC: What are some things still on your bucket list?

HB: I/We, have a lot of 16mm, 3/4 inch video in Howard Hughes Film Vault in Hollywood that I/We have been storing since the 1970’s of which I/we want to do a documentary about Our Journey. I have more music that I have been composing. I wrote music for an American Civil War Play and I am composing more music for a New Album for “WAR!” You got that Right! I don’t give up and I Have Whole Lot of FaithGod has a Master Plan and We are In It to Win It!

AC: Still love touring? What Does the Lowrider Band touring schedule look like, what is the fan reaction?

HB: It is Written, A Subaqueous Warrior Knows When to Use His Energy and When to Conserve His Energy. Grasshopper!

March 15th Howard Scott makes his 73rd Birthday. I Harold Brown makes my 73rd Birthday March 17th (I am a Chocolate Irishmen Ha, ha) and March 24th Lee Oskar makes his 70th Birthday. So, I/we only like to do Meaningful Events.

We are conserving ourselves for a New “WAR” Album having Jerry Goldstein as the Producer, along with Chris Huston Recording Engineer and One Big Tour with all of the Serving Originals Members of “WAR!” We just played a show out on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. It’s Kind of Funny, when we start Playing Folks Look Puzzled and the Realize We are Those Guys “WAR” For Real! But Only we Really Sound Like That Band Called “WAR

AC: How about an old fashion LA battle of the bands between The Lowrider band and the Band known as War, how do you think that would go down? 

HB: REALLY, REALLY BIG! SHOW TIME … So, We took off in search of our dream Howard, Lee, BB  and I  Still Chasing our Destiny.

AC: How can people find out more about you?

www.LowriderBand.com  www.Facebook.com/Lowriderband

www.UncleHB.com



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