Etchings of War: War Come to Jazz Alley

The Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine
The Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine
He drink whiskey, Poncho drink the wine

Something from nothing. How few lines needed for an etching? Comparison, contrast. Two figures and a tale-teller.

We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
We met down on the fort of Rio Grande
Eat the salted peanuts out the can
Eat the salted peanuts out the can

A command. Past/present tenses once again laid together. Some (more) simple facts: Of the fort, of the salted peanuts, eating. No explanations. We’re expected to know. Or, expected to know it doesn’t make much difference. Just the etching.

War, in the simplicity of their name (I tend to disallow the time spent and billed with Eric Burdon), manifest simplicity in their lyrics, but the music keeps up satisfying shifts: intimation and invitation to listen, to move, to privately innovate, to evince private ritual or even go dancing in the street. They bring it (and them) to Jazz Alley February 3-6. Singer Lonnie Jordan, last of the original sorcerers, was kind enough to take some email questions.


Seattle Star: What are your favorite memories of playing Seattle, and of Seattle generally?

Lonnie Jordan: Seattle is a very beautiful place. I love the nature as well as downtown. I always make it a point to walk around so I can admire the surroundings.

Seattle Star: You were born in San Diego. What memories from home mean the most to you, emotionally, musically, etc.?

Lonnie Jordan: While I was born in San Diego, I don’t have too many memories of it. My earliest memory was when I was five and it was the train ride from San Diego to Compton, which is where I grew up. I was also fortunate in Compton to be surrounded by music which may have had an influence on me.

Seattle Star: What music made you want to make music–which artists, shows, albums, singles, etc.?

Lonnie Jordan: Well, James Brown and Ray Charles of course! Can’t forget Jimmy Smith and Elvis Presley! That’s it! Except for Sam Cooke. I really am influenced by all genres and I loved listening to AM radio when I was growing up.

Seattle Star: What are your best, worst, and oddest stories of circling the world with War?

Lonnie Jordan: Well the worst thing was in the 70s there were some places in the South where people had issues with mixed bands, which War was, and that was a no-no in those places. The good part though, was that once we got through all that nonsense, the shows were great. They were filled with enthusiastic fans and you could really feel them live despite what we went through to get there.

Seattle Star: You’re the only founder member left in the War lineup. Does it feel lonely at times?

Lonnie Jordan: I can’t say I feel lonely, when I have all these fans who have supported me and the music through all the years and still do. I also have my music and my wife to keep me company.

Seattle Star: “Nappy Head” was supposed to be the theme for a film called Ghetto Man, but I can’t find any evidence the movie ever got released. What happened there?

Lonnie Jordan: The movie never did get released. It started as a book by Papa Dee, which he then decided to make a movie. Unfortunately he passed away before it could get developed so he took it to the grave with him.

Seattle Star: What’s in the future for War, after this tour? Any new recordings to look forward to?

Lonnie Jordan: We are currently listening to some old unreleased music that is sitting in the vault. After we get an idea of all of that, we will decide on what the next move is.

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