The influential, often-sampled band arrived on the music scene in 1969 with a hard-to-define blend of funk, jazz, soul, Latin and rock, plus a multiethnic lineup that transcended racial and cultural barriers. What's more, its songs -- including "The Cisco Kid," "
"When I turn on the radio, I'm always hearing our songs," said Jordan, the group's sole remaining founding member. "And I realize, 'Wow, (our music) is sounding better and better.' It sounds like today."
War performs Friday with comedy duo Cheech and Chong -- aka
What united War from the start, Jordan said, was the band members' shared background.
"We all had the same dream, growing up in the same (area). We all saw the same things," said the
What filtered through those tinny speakers was a mishmash of musical influences. Jordan remembers listening to a "mixed salad bowl" of sounds -- ranging from country-and-western stars
It was that multifaceted sound -- Jordan calls it "universal street music" -- that attracted ex-Animals singer
They released their first two albums as War in 1970: "Eric Burdon Declares 'War,' " followed by "The Black-Man's Burdon."
"We didn't even think ... any of our music would ever make it on the radio because it was so different," Jordan recalled. "Next thing we knew people started liking it because it was different."
Although War's sociopolitical stance was assuredly part of its appeal, Jordan said, "We weren't trying to be political."
"We were inspired by our own experiences from the streets, so that's all we knew to write about," he said.
"I pretty much blame our fans for our music," he added with a chuckle. "They inspire us to pick up a pen and go into the studio and create a soundtrack (for life)."
That's true of "Evolutionary," War's first new studio album in 20 years. Released
With 1972's "The World Is a Ghetto," "We were able to let people know 'It's not just your world, it's not just your backyard (where) you're living in poverty. We can tell you from our travels that the world is a ghetto,' " Jordan explained. "Now I want people to take notice of their surroundings (again) ... and take advantage of the sunshine while it's still out."
"Why go negative?" he asked. "Let's do something happy. Let's make the majority of the album 'up.' "
"Evolutionary," which was written and produced by Goldstein and Jordan, features a mix of familiar favorites and new tracks such as "Mamacita" and "That L.A. Sunshine" -- as well as collaborations with the likes of Eagles guitarist
Cheech and Chong also make an appearance.
"It's like a reunion," Jordan said, noting that the 1978 Cheech and Chong movie "Up In Smoke" marked the first time moviegoers heard War's music. "They actually launched 'Low Rider' even more into the public's ears."
Decades later, War continues to tour regularly despite multiple lineup changes.
Burdon left the band in 1971, while Dickerson parted ways with War in 1979.
Dickerson later teamed up with core group members Brown,
"We had a good marriage at one time and we had beautiful babies -- which was our music -- but we had a bad divorce," Jordan explained.
Personally, he has no plans to quit War.
"I'm really loyal to our fans. I'm as loyal to them as they are to me," he said.
War, with Cheech and Chong
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