Since helping to redefine funk in the late ’60s and ’70s, WAR has been one of the most in-demand touring bands, with founding member Lonnie Jordan leading the group through elements of blues, funk, jazz, rock, reggae, gospel and R&B.
WAR’s songs were a staple on radio for more than three decades thanks to a collection of hits that included “Low Rider,” “Cisco Kid,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends?,” “The World is a Ghetto,” “Me and Baby Brother,” “Summer,” “Gypsy Man,” and “Spill the Wine.” These songs continue to be played on classic rock radio stations around the world.
On Wednesday, Aug. 23, War shares the stage with the Los Lonely Boys at Wolf Trap.
Jordan is the only charter member from WAR’s original lineup, but his bandmates today are doing the band’s legacy proud. Drummer Sal Rodriguez has been part of WAR since 1990, percussionist Marcus Reyes and guitarist Stuart Ziff are both longstanding members and blues harpist Stanley Behrens, bassist Rene Camacho and sax player Scott Martin are all veteran musicians.
Jordan took time out of his busy touring schedule to talk with me about the upcoming Wolf Trap show.
KL: What can those coming out to the show expect? Preview what they’ll see and hear.
LJ: You will hear the hits and you will see a lot of energy.
KL: You’ve been around a long time; what’s the secret to the band’s success?
LJ: The secret to our long-time success is the unique sound of our music from the ’70s, which is still unique today and remains the soundtrack of many people, along with the curiosity of the younger generation. And of course, the loyalty of our fans. We are still a street band with no glitters. I consider us to be a Universal Street Band.
KL: What do you enjoy about being on a tour like this? What is your favorite part of performing live on stage?
LJ: I enjoy seeing familiar faces and a lot of new faces, and my favorite part of performing live is watching people of all colors using that moment to show love for one another through the healing of music. That’s when I know that I’ve made a difference. And I also love reinventing my songs through jams.
KL: For those who know WAR from the early days, what can you tell them about what the band is today and how it’s transitioned?
LJ: The only transition are the new faces in the band, but the sound and the attitude of the band is still the same movement as it was in the ’70s.
KL: What message do you want to get out to your fans?
LJ: Thank you for being my rock n’ roll hall of “fans”,” and I will see you at Wolf Trap. If you would like to know more about War the band and myself through social media, “like” me on Facebook—the official Lonnie Jordan Facebook fan page, and @Lonniejordanwar on Instagram. You can also find info on the band at WARTHEBAND on facebook and @WARTHEBAND on Instagram.