Posted February 25, 2009 in

War were one of the greatest American bands of the 1970’s, selling millions of copies of their classic funk-soul jams and contributing some of the most extraordinary songs of the era. “Low Rider,” “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” “Cisco Kid,” all of which remain staples on oldies radio playlists. The band represented a signal triumph, rising from the depth of Los Angeles’ ghettoes to the pinnacle of international success, an achievement due solely to the unswerving dedication and familial bond shared by its members, a close-knit group of soul brothers who sweated it out for years before ascending to platinum toned glory. Problem is—War no longer exists. The band appearing here tonight is a Grade A Phony, with one original member of War, keyboardist Leroy “Lonnie” Jordan, leading a mostly white and Latino pick-up band, going through the motions in their best effort to fool the poor suckers who’re shelling out their hard earned dough for a show that’s tantamount to an anonymous tribute band. Worse still, Jordan and longtime War manager Jerry Goldstein are dead set on making sure that the remaining founders—drummer Harold Brown, guitarist Howard Scott, bassist BB Dickerson and harmonica wizard Lee Oskar—not only never receive any royalty money, they are attempting, with a trademark infringement suit, to prevent the musicians from even reminding anyone of who they actually are. Of course, those four, who comprise the Lowrider Band, a genius and genuine War alternative, have also filed their own multi-million dollar beef in the courts—it’s a sad, ugly story, but also a familiar one, and something to bear in mind when you consider laying down $55 for a ticket to this sham. (Jonny Whiteside)


War at the California Theatre of Performing Arts, 562 W. 4th St., San Bernardino, (909) 885-5152, Fri., Feb. 27, 8PM. Tickets $35-$55


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