Leader: Howard Scott, Driver: Chuck Barber, Shot Gun: Keith Vinet, Peace Sign: Lance Ellis, Standin: B/G Lee Oskar, White Hat: Harold Brown, Hat: BB Dickerson
Lowrider Band Stands the Test of Time
By Brandon I. Brooks
Sentinel Entertainment Editor
Former members of multiplatinum selling group WAR are ready to battle with new band
Are you familiar with the silky smooth sounds of the Lowrider Band? Many people are not familiar with the band’s name but recognize the band’s silky smooth sound.
See many of us don’t know or as I like to say, haven’t connected the dots but the Lowrider band is actually made up of four of the five surviving original core members of the band WAR.
Members include Howard E. Scott, B.B. Dickerson, Lee Osker and Harold Brown (Charles Miller was murdered in 1980 and Papa Dee Allen died of a heart attack in 1988).
Original keyboardist Lonnie Jordan continues to use the group’s name WAR and runs the group with entirely new members.
In the mid 1990’s after a brutal legal battle, WAR was legally taken away from its original group members and creators. The Lowrider band members lost the right in federal court to use the name WAR, which is registered, trademarked and owned by Far Out Productions and Jerry Goldstein.
So when fans hear some of WAR’s musical classics being performed on stage with the Lowrider Band they are left to scratch their head and wonder, “what’s the deal” because the Lowrider band sound’s exactly like the group WAR if not better.
I caught up with Howard Scott guitarist for the Lowrider band as they recently made an appearance at the Hollywood Park Casino in Inglewood. I asked Scott about the controversy surrounding the band and the constant struggle to reinvent the group’s identity. Scott replied, “They could play WAR music but they can’t be WAR because how could they be WAR? I would say Lonnie’s band is a good band but it would be like going to take the band from the Tonight Show or the David Letterman show band and put them out there behind Lonnie and say this is WAR. You know people take a look at that and say, well that doesn’t look like WAR. They might have a sound that sounds a little bit like War but that’s not War”.
The Lowrider band is pretty much the entire original rhythm section of WAR except for Lonnie Jordan (keyboardist). It really hit home when Scott expressed the situation because no matter what the group’s name may be, Scott reminds us that it was he and his comrades that originally wrote and composed WAR’s multiplatinum hits (“The Cisco Kid”, “The World is a Ghetto”, “Slippin’ into Darkness”, “Low Rider” and the anthem “Why Can’t We Be Friends” ) . So no matter what the group’s name may be at the moment or what people may refer to them as, it doesn’t change the fact that Scott and crew will always play their music.
Originating from South Central Los Angeles, the Lowrider band sound encompasses the heart of the city.
I asked Scott how much influence does he feel being a native of Los Angeles had on the Lowrider band’s musical sound? Scott replied that, “Every single note we play represents going to Compton High School, driving out to the Pacific Ocean (PCH), going over to Playa Del Rey area and going to the Mountains. Just the whole vibe of being in Los Angles and the culture we grew up in. That’s the kind of music we grew up with and I would say that’s the W.A.R. music, southern California music”.
The Lowrider bands bio which appears on their website (www.lowriderband.com) summarizes the band best reading, “Like a mirror held up to the light, the Lowrider band refracted the sensual and joyful lopes of the Latin diasporas, the earthy blues of the Black Experience, the rootsy fruit of the Afro-Cuban contingent and (via their Danish soul mate on harmonica) the enchanting melodies of a not-so-distant promised land, the group is bound by brotherhood and sense of purpose, these men hand-crafted a conscience-scalding musical melting pot, churning out worldwide”.
What up next for the Lowrider band? Howard Scott shared that the band is planning on touching the hearts of the people that grew up on their music. They want to reconnect with the fans and critics who might be saying, “I wonder what happened to the guys in WAR”?
Howard Scott understands that the battle still continues for respect and name recognition. The bands former record label has tried to make them invisible to the world as if they never existed. The label has tried to make it appear as if the original members broke up and are some type of second tier. But Scott wants to reassure fans that the guys (Lowrider Band) are outstandingly healthy, good looking and the Lowrider band is the band to see because they rock. “Nobody can beat us playing that War music, we wrote it”.