Leroy "Lonnie" Jordan (born November 21, 1948 in San Diego, California) is an American singer-songwriter. He is a founding member of WAR, an American funk band in the 1970s and 1980s. Jordan has a number of roles over the years, acting as vocalist and playing guitar, piano, synthesizer, and percussion. He is among the first three people to join the group after its inception, having joined before the group adopted the name "War" (it had previously been known as "the Creators" and "Nightshift").
At the age of ten, Stuart Ziff, started playing guitar. Then afterward he played with regional rock bands through-out the United State. Then in 1979, he moved to New York City to begin his career as a freelance-musician. As a professional sideman, he played guitar on Broadway for shows such as O’ Calcutta and The National Lampoon class of ’86. Also as a freelance artist, Stuart performed and acted as a session-artist for acts such as Martha Reeves and Mary Wells. In addition, in 1991, a Pizza Hut Delivery advertisment-campaigned choice him to be lead vocalist. In the same year, Stuart moved to Nashville to pursue his songwriting career and continue his studio work. In 1994, he co-wrote a composition called, Thinkin’ Problem, which went to number one on the country charts. He followed that with cuts by Anita Cochran, rock artist Gary Hoey Salsa Soup and the late Johnny Adams. He left Nashville and traveled to Los Angeles in 2000 to continue writing and preforming. As a songwriter, he is represented by EMG MUSIC. In 2002, he joined the legendary band WAR..
Marcus J. Reyes, born in Bakersfield, California to parents from Chihuahua, Mexico. He has been the percussionist for WAR since 1998. At the age of seventeen, Marcos was turned onto the music of WAR, Santana, El Chicano, MALO, Latin Jazz and Salsa. Practicing on his brother’s congas, he taught himself how to play the congas and other instruments. He continued his practice by studying with the National Folidoric group of Cuba and Los Angeles based percussionist Louis Conte. Over the past twenty five years, Marcos has fulfilled his dream by performing touring and recording with “rock legends". When WAR is not on tour, Marcos is an in-demand session musician, recording in studios for film and TV including working on music for Showtime, HBO and PBS. Outside of studio work, he teaches percussion privately, conducts percussion clinics for schools and music stores, leads his own band called, Salsiologoy and owns and operated a hair salon.
Scott Martin started his own band after more than fourteen years of playing with Pancho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He was an influential part of the Poncho Sanchez Band and has recorded with Ray Charles, Billy Preston, Sam Moore, Mongo Santamaria and many other jazz and soul greats.
While Scott Martin was traveling the world, performing, recording and composing and arranging with Poncho Sanchez, the band won a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance and was nominated 3 times. They also won 2 billboards Music Awards, and embarked on countless world and nationwide tours. Scott’s numerous compositions have been recorded on his solo release and also featured on Poncho’s recording, as well as on TV shows such as “Sex and the City”, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show”, “As The World Turns” and more.
Stanley "The Baron" Behrens was born and raised in the Bronx, N.Y. started playing harmonica at the age of five. He played music with a blue eyed soul band back in the mid 60's. Stanley was drafted into the US Army in May of 1967 and spent two years on active duty playing his harmonica during Vietnam era. Stationed at Fort Bragg North Carolina Stanley played in a blues rock band six nights a week. After 1969 Stanley worked gigs in NY and recorded a track with Alice Cooper on the "Muscle Of Love" album. Ruth Brown asked Stanley to join her band and then he relocated to Los Angeles 1975. Stanley then met the great Jimmy Smith a jazz organist. Stanley recorded on three Jimmy Smith albums and a solo project called Stanley Behrens "HARMONICA DELUXE" on the jazz label name Dobre Records. He played on many of the Mike Post's TV soundtracks (ROCKFORD FILES, RENEGADE, QUANTUM LEAP, etc,) also worked with many of the top notch film composers.(Christopher Young, Trever Rabin, Mark Isham, David Newman, etc....) 1987 Stanley joined up with the well known blues man Willie Dixon. Stanley's harmonica and saxophone is featured on Willie Dixon's "Ginger Ale Afternoon" album and also has a track on Chess Records "The Original Wang Dang Doodle" album by Willie Dixon. January of 2000 Stanley joined the famous WoodStock band "Canned Heat". He toured world wide as singer, harmonica, saxophone and flute player. Most recent movie he is on is "The Rum Diary" staring Johnny Depp. You can also still hear Stanley's harmonica on all the "MY NAME IS EARL" episodes. Stanley has had a life time of making music with some of the worlds greatest artists and is now adding the band "WAR" to his outstanding list of credits.
Rene Camacho is an acoustic and electric bassist living in Los Angeles.
Originally from Tucson, Arizona, Rene received a degree in Jazz Studies
and Composition from The University Of Arizona. While Trombone was his
first instrument he always had an affinity for the bass and in his college
years the switch was made. Since moving to Los Angeles in 1996 Rene has
had the opportunity to explore many musical ventures, both live and
recording. When Rene first arrived to Los Angeles he began working with
many Latin artists, most notably, a five-year stint with Celia Cruz and a brief
time with Tito Puente. From there Rene began branching out to different
genres such as Jazz, Soul, R&B, Country, as well as Rock. This has enabled
him to record and tour with a wide variety of artists from different musical
backgrounds, such artists as include Sergio Mendes, Ry Cooder, Oscar CastroNeves, Robben Ford, Angelique Kidjo, Linda Ronstadt, Draco Rosa, Raul Malo (The Mavericks), Rickie Lee Jones, Juan Gabriel, The Fifth
Dimension, The Pointer Sisters, Canadian Pianist Carol Welsman, Arnold
McCuller, Mongorama and Dean Brown. Rene continues to actively tour
with Kevin Eubanks, Poncho Sanchez as well as with WAR and record with
artists from all over the musical world.
Sal Rodrigues has toured with such greats as Duke Ellington, Tom Jones, Jose Feliciano, Tierra, El Chicano, TexMex Legend “Little Joe & La Familia” Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night and many others. Sal has shared the stage with Carlos Santana, Tony Bennett, The Doobbie Brothers, Tower of Power, Malo, Aretha Franklyn, Earth Wind & Fire, AWB, Alice Cooper, Los Lobos, and his all time favorite band Grand Funk. Sal has appeared in movies and on television including Conan O’Brian, Regis and Kelly, The Today Show and Motown Live, the movie Mars Attacks and TV Sitcoms Full House, American Family and George Lopez. When Sal is not touring with WAR he stays busy in L.A. working the local club scene, producing, recording and organizing fundraiser in the community. Sal’s a family man with daughter Sheila, son Little Sal (his best buddy) and his beautiful wife Madeline. Sal’s inspiration is to be a full-time comedian, play piano, sing his favorite Beatles songs and make people laugh.
The year was 1969, and these 'kids' had the nerve to carry the name WAR at a time when peace was the slogan in an anti-Vietnam America. "Our mission was tospread a message of brotherhood and harmony". Original Band Members included; Lonnie Jordan/singer/keyboardist, Howard Scott/guitars/ vocal, Lee Oskar/harmonica, B.B. Dickerson/bass vocals, Harold Brown/drums/ vocals, the late Thomas "Papa Dee" Allen/congas/timbales, and Charles Miller /saxophonist/flutist.
"Our instruments and voices became our weapons of choice and the songs our ammunition. We spoke out against racism, hunger, gangs, crimes, and turf wars, as we embraced all people with hope and the spirit of brotherhood. It's just as apropos today" WAR, the original street band, was brought together by veteran record producer Jerry Goldstein ("My Boyfriend's Back", "Hang On Sloopy", "I Want Candy") and rock legend Eric Burdon (ex-lead singer of the top British band The Animals). "I first saw some of the guys who would eventually become WAR playing at a topless beer bar in the San Fernando Valley, backing Deacon Jones, the pro football player, and knew immediately how potent these kids were," states Goldstein. "I was friends with Eric and he was ready to throw in the towel on the music scene and return to Newcastle. He was tired of the 'rock' thing and desperate for a fresh authentic sound. I called him the morning after I first saw the band and made him return to the club the next night with me. Eric was so blown away by what he had heard that he jumped on stage to jam with them. The guys weren't familiar with Eric or The Animals. I had them in the studio within a week, and the rest is history!"
WAR from the beginning was a concept & musical laboratory. As Burdon's back band, it was the vehicle for Goldstein (as producer/songwriter) and Burdon (as lead singer) to experiment with the blending of many musical styles and influences. "At the time, I didn't envision WAR as a separate entity. It was just a band to back Eric. I kind of thought it would change with his musical moods" says Goldstein. "It turned out to be that constantly evolving device, just without Eric Burdon."
Nevertheless, Goldstein's spontaneous impulse to scratch Burdon's musical itch would yield a mother lode of chart gold and platinum. WAR would wind-up being honored with 17 gold, platinum or multi-platinum awards which include the triple platinum The World Is A Ghetto, double platinum Why Can't We Be Friends? and Greatest Hits, platinum Deliver The Word, WAR Live, All Day Music, Best Of WAR and...more and Platinum Jazz, and gold Eric Burdon Declares WAR, Galaxy, and The Music Band.
Eric Burdon and WAR began playing live shows and immediately found themselves in front of sold-out audiences throughout Southern California before entering into the studio to record their debut album Eric Burdon Declares WAR. The album's key track, the erotic Latin flavored "Spill The Wine" was an immediate worldwide hit and launched the band's career.
Burdon and WAR toured extensively across Europe and the States, garnering rave reviews from mainstream and music press alike. England's New Music Express called WAR "the best live band I ever saw" after their first UK gig in London's Hyde Park. Musicians on both sides of the ocean were buzzing about this new band. Jimi Hendrix jammed with WAR at Ronnie Scott's Club the night on which Hendrix died. The Black Man's Burdon, a 2nd Burden & WAR album was released in 1970. Exhausted and volatile, Burdon bailed out on WAR in the middle of a European tour. Already starting to assert themselves, WAR finished the tour without him and returned to record an album without Burdon. When Eric Burdon and WAR's success outlasted the mercurial Burdon's attention span, Goldstein was faced with trying to make WAR stand on its own. The result was WAR's 1971 self-entitled debut album. While this album met with only modest success, it laid the groundwork for things to come. "They loved playing live and toured constantly. The experience of making the first album was enlightening to all of us, especially me. I really felt I got an understanding how to make this work and rushed them back into the studio to cut the second album" says Goldstein.
In late 1971 WAR released All Day Music, the title track would be the group's first hit single, and their first gold single "Slippin' Into Darkness" followed propelling the album to over 1 million sales and a winning streak that would continue for years. In 1972 the band's sound was refined and deepened with the release of The World Is A Ghetto; a celebratory, reflective, and gritty album which was recorded in just 29 days with Goldstein and legendary British recording engineer Chris Huston behind the recording console. Its first single, "The Cisco Kid" shipped gold and brought the band a following in the Hispanic community that has remained loyal to the group to this day. The thought provoking title song "The World Is A Ghetto" fueled the album to the Number One chart spot in Billboard and was voted Billboard's Album of the Year.
The next album, Deliver The Word (1973), contained the hits "Gypsy Man", "Me And My Baby Brother", and a re-recording of "All Day Music". This album proved a real challenge for the band since the pressure of their previous hits and too much focus on enjoying the fruits of their success made concentration difficult. Despite these conditions, the album went on to sell nearly two million copies. 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 WAR's touring, record sales, and notoriety reach new heights. 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. "Friends..." stayed on the U.S. charts for thirty-one weeks and earned the band yet another platinum-plus album. Exhausted from a non-stop schedule, the band took a year long hiatus from recording, but did release a Greatest Hits LP, which contained one new song, "Summer". War became the first group to ever include a new cut on a Greatest Hits package. With its easy flowing style the single went gold.
Another compilation followed in 1977 with the release of Platinum Jazz, which gathered WAR's extended jams and instrumental pieces and was released on the Blue Note jazz label. It became Blue Note's first Platinum album. 1977 found WAR the funky band in a "funky" place. Disco, with its programmed beats, slick production and shallow lyrics, was dominating the music scene and the un-constructed and free form street music that defined WAR was clearly not in vogue. Still, the group managed to attain success with the album Galaxy and its sleek, dance-grooved, spacey lyric title single. "Galaxy was inspired by Star Wars and just fit into vibe of the time." Goldstein remembers. While Galaxy inspired by a film, ironically WAR's next project would be a soundtrack album for the movie "Youngblood." in 1978. The story of a Los Angeles street kid starring Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, of the popular 70s television series Welcome Back Kotter, would be a flop and the WAR soundtrack would fly under the radar. Although, WAR would never rekindle the level of prosperity that was reached in the mid-seventies, it continued to record releasing the albums: The Music Band (1979), The Music Band 2 (1980), and Outlaw (1982). The singles "Outlaw", "You Got The Power", and "Cinco De Mayo" were warmly embraced by WAR fans. In 1979, B.B. Dickerson departed during recording sessions for WAR’s next album. Replaced by Luther Rabb, base guitarist who helped WAR complete the album, WAR considered a name change that didn’t happen. WAR made a series of albums titled ‘The Music Band’. The series consisted of two studio albums (The Music Band, The Music Band 2, both in 1979) and a live album (The Music Band Live, 1980). WAR left MCA in 1981 and had already made records for other labels, MCA expanded the series with a compilation (The Best of the Music Band, 1982) and a third original album of left-over material (The Music Band – Jazz, 1983). WAR lost Charles Miller in 1980 (saxophone) whom was murdered. Miller however had already been replaced by Pat Rizzo (ex Sly and the Family Stone) in 1979. Quiet familiar with change, WAR was evolving as new band members joined up with the likes of; Alice Tweed Smith (credited as "Tweed Smith" and "Alice Tweed Smyth" on various albums) on percussion and vocals (giving the band its first female vocalist), and Ronnie Hammon as a third drummer.
In 1981 after WAR made the one-off single "Cinco de Mayo" for LA Records (Jerry Goldstein's own label, which also reissued Eric Burdon Declares "War" under the title Spill the Wine the same year), War signed with RCA Victor Records and recorded singles "Just Because", “Outlaw” (1982) and "You Got the Power". Followed by “Life” (is So Strange) (1983). WAR did not record another full album until a decade later. The "Best of WAR" compiled in 1987 included two new tracks, "Livin in the Red', and "Whose Cadillac is That?", and a remixed version of "Low Rider" in addition of to the original "Low Rider" version. Papa Dee Allen died of a heart attack that struck him on stage in 1988.
The band's popularity has grown steadily ever since, as a result of the commitment to being road WARriors combined with great increases television appearances, record sales, use of their music in film, television and commercials, samples and covers by other recording artists. A big shot in the arm to WAR's presence on the touring scene was the release of 1994's Peace Sign, an album well received by critics and fans. WAR now tours over 150 dates a year to audiences ranging from tens of thousands to intimate clubs.
WAR's global popularity is a tribute to the timelessness of its music and message. Perhaps, nothing epitomizes this truth greater than the fact that WAR has twice been honored by its hometown of Los Angeles, over twenty years apart, for its music making positive contributions to the betterment of the community. "The world is still a ghetto", says Lonnie Jordan, echoing the title of the early album and song. "There will always be a reason to play our songs. When you come back to reality, you pull down WAR, because WAR is reality. We have a lot of second-generation fans and they're seeing the same things their parents saw. They're hearing the same messages. We're like Levi's," says Jordan, "and there's nothing nostalgic about Levi's. In fact, they're not really good and funky until they've been worn awhile."
The evolution of WAR began in 1969...and WAR has been evolving ever since.