15 Jan Music & Sound Retailer – 5 Minutes with Lee Oskar
The Music & Sound Retailer’s feature interview:
Lee Oskar has the rare distinction of being a big name in both the music and music instrument industries.
In the music industry, Oskar will be forever known as a founding member and lead harmonica player of the band War, which spawned the huge hits “Low Rider,” which peaked at number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number seven on its Pop Singles chart in 1975, as well as “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” which topped at number one on the Billboard R&B chart and number eight on its Pop Singles chart in the same year.
He is currently a member of the Lowrider Band, consisting of Lee and several of the original War artists, which can occasionally be seen on tour.
As for the MI industry, Lee Oskar founded Lee Oskar Harmonicas in 1983, which offers harmonicas in a variety of tunings, along with replacement reed plates, tool kits, instruction books and other related products. Keb Mo, Kellie Rucker, Brian Collins, David Rotundo and Michael Pickett are among Lee Oskar Harmonicas’ Featured Artists.
We aim to “make friends” with Lee Oskar in this month’s “Five Minutes With.”
The Music & Sound Retailer: Harmonicas were huge in Denmark where you grew up. Do you ever wonder what instrument you would have played and manufactured if you had grown up in the United States?
Lee Oskar: That’s interesting. I’ve never been asked that question. I’m not sure, but I may never have gotten into manufacturing. There are a lot of people who love music but can’t channel that toward physically playing an instrument. They have “huge” ears and hear music just as well as, if not better than, most of us musicians. On the other end, I know people who can play many instruments but have “tiny” ears. In my case, when I got my first harmonica and I put it into my mouth and breathed into it, it really sounded like music to me. I felt like I was creating symphonies—it was unbelievable! The harmonica is a perfect outlet for my creativity, since I love music. I hear music and I compose music in my head. But physically, I would not be able to play any other instrument.