Music All Day

Father & Son

Music has been a significant part of my life since childhood, largely due to my father's influence. He is a founding member and original drummer of a successful 1970s band that originated from Compton and Long Beach and achieved global recognition. The band became multi-platinum artists, standing alongside other music legends of the 70s such as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Burdon to name a few.Even Snoop Dogg, also from Long Beach, recognizes dad’s band as the OG’s of the Southern California music scene.(images & links are clickable)

Snoop Dogg
"Spill the Wine"WARDrums
"Why Can't We Be Friends?"WARDrums
"Low Rider"WARDrums
"Gypsy Man"WARDrums
"The World Is a Ghetto"WARDrums
"Slippin' into Darkness"WARDrums
"Heartbeat"WARDrums, Vocals
"Cisco Kid"WARDrums
"Corns & Callouses"WARDrums, Vocals

Harold Brown: A Rhythmic Journey Through the Heartbeat of WARIntroduction
Harold Brown, the legendary drummer and founder of the band WAR, has had a profound impact on the world of music. His rhythmic innovations and soulful grooves have captivated audiences for decades. In an exclusive interview, Harold Brown shared his journey, his influences, and the essence of his unique drumming style.
Early Beginnings
Harold Brown's musical journey began in Long Beach, California, in the 1950s. Growing up as the first black family in the First Lutheran Church in Long Beach, Harold was introduced to drumming when he eagerly volunteered to learn the snare drum. He recalls vividly the moment Kenneth Hahn Sr. taught him how to hold drumsticks and play a quarter note. This foundational experience set the stage for his illustrious career.
Diverse Musical Influences
Harold's exposure to a variety of musical genres during his formative years played a crucial role in shaping his distinctive drumming style. He listened to artists ranging from Johnny Otis and Big Mama Thornton to Johnny Cash and Fats Domino. His fascination with different rhythms led him to sneak into blues clubs in Tijuana, where he absorbed Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms that later became integral to his playing.
The Essence of Groove
Unlike the aggressive, machine-gun-like double bass drumming prevalent in modern music, Harold's drumming is characterized by a dance on the cymbals. His grooves are deeply rooted in the rhythms he heard growing up in South Los Angeles and Long Beach. From church gospel rhythms to Latin cowbell patterns, Harold's drumming is a testament to the cultural melting pot he grew up in.
Community and Music
Harold emphasizes the importance of community in the creation and propagation of music. In his neighborhood, music flowed from churches and local beer bars, creating an environment rich with diverse sounds. This community-centric approach to music fostered a sense of belonging and cultural exchange, elements that are often missing in today's suburbanized, isolated neighborhoods.
Encounters with Legends
Throughout his career, Harold had the privilege of meeting and playing with numerous musical legends. He recounts stories of meeting Big Mama Thornton, who had a profound influence on him, and Sam Cooke, who introduced himself to Harold and his band. These encounters enriched Harold's musical journey and provided invaluable experiences.
The Spiritual Language of Drumming
Harold's understanding of the spiritual language of the drum traces back to the early African traditions. He describes the eternal circle, a dance where people shuffled their feet and chanted, creating rhythms that were deeply spiritual. These rhythms, brought over by African slaves, influenced the development of American music, including jazz, blues, and gospel.
The Journey with WAR
Harold's journey with WAR began with the band "The Creators," which eventually evolved into WAR. His collaborations with fellow musicians like Howard Scott, Lonnie Jordan, B.B. Dickerson, Lee Oskar, Papa Dee Allen, and Charles Miller resulted in a unique blend of sounds that transcended genres. Harold's drumming, characterized by its intricate patterns and dynamic grooves, became a defining element of WAR's music.
Innovations and Legacy
Harold's approach to drumming involved a deep understanding of rhythm and a willingness to experiment. He often incorporated unconventional instruments like claves, cowbells, and djembes into his drumming, creating rich, textured rhythms. His ability to play "inside the music"—not just keeping time but enhancing the overall musicality—set him apart from other drummers.
Teaching the Next Generation
Today, Harold continues to inspire and educate young musicians through his nonprofit program, "Five Minutes." He focuses on teaching discipline, good citizenship, and the art of drumming. His innovative approach involves introducing students to a variety of percussion instruments and rhythms, encouraging them to develop their own unique musical voice.
Harold Brown's journey is a testament to the power of rhythm and community in shaping music. His contributions to WAR and the broader musical landscape have left an indelible mark. Through his teaching and continued passion for music, Harold ensures that the heartbeat of his drumming legacy will continue to inspire future generations.

Harold Brown
Harold Brown

To Whom It May Concern,My name is Harold Ray Brown II, commonly known as Ray Brown, and I am writing to propose a documentary project that is both deeply personal and historically significant. As the son of Harold Brown, the founding member and drummer of the renowned musical group War, I have unique access to an extensive collection of footage controlled by my father. This footage chronicles the band’s journey during the 70s, capturing their experiences at the height of their success. My father, a dedicated filmmaker, meticulously documented their experiences, creating a treasure trove of historical and cultural value that remains largely unseen.War has left an indelible mark on the music industry with multi-platinum records and hits such as "Spill the Wine" and "Low Rider." Despite the band’s success, their full story, encompassing their challenges, triumphs, and the socio-political backdrop of their era, has yet to be told in its entirety. This documentary aims to fill that gap, providing an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the band’s evolution and the cultural landscape that shaped their music.I am uniquely positioned to spearhead this project due to my personal history and professional experience. Growing up, I witnessed War’s rehearsals at various locations, including Far Out's sound stage at 7417 Sunset Blvd in Hollywood and in the basement of my father’s mansion in Monrovia. As a child, I appeared on their Galaxy album and in the iconic music video for "Why Can't We Be Friends," where I was featured with two other kids walking towards the late Papa Dee Allen. My little brother also appeared in that video. These personal experiences and my involvement in the band’s studio sessions and performances provide me with a deep, authentic connection to the band's history.The footage, currently stored in a private vault in Los Angeles, comprises hours of 16mm film that needs to be transferred to digital format for preservation and editing. This project not only aims to showcase the band’s music and legacy but also to preserve the stories of its surviving members: Harold Brown, Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, and Lonnie Jordan. We will also honor the memories of those who have passed, such as Charles Miller, B.B. Dickerson, and Papa Dee Allen, through archival content and interviews with their families and colleagues.Another significant aspect of the documentary will be the band's international experiences. When Eric Burdon was helping to establish the band in Europe, he leveraged his fame as the lead singer of The Animals. This included a memorable jam session at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London, where Jimi Hendrix joined War on stage. My father and Jimi Hendrix, along with Jimi's girlfriend, spent time together after the performance, marking one of the last known public appearances of Hendrix before his untimely death. This event, among other stories, adds a rich layer of context and significance to the band's history that needs to be brought to the forefront.Given the historical and cultural significance of this project, I am seeking funding to cover the costs of film transfer, restoration, production, and distribution. The goal is to create a high-quality documentary suitable for theatrical release or a major streaming platform such as Netflix. This documentary will serve not only as a tribute to War but also as a historical document that captures the essence of a transformative era in music and American history.I am passionate about this project and believe it has the potential to resonate with a wide audience, offering both entertainment and education. By being personally involved in the footage and the band’s history, I can ensure the documentary remains true and authentic to the band's legacy.I would be grateful for the opportunity to discuss this project further and explore potential funding options.Thank you for considering this proposal. I look forward to your response.Sincerely,Harold Ray Brown II (Ray Brown)