Eric Burdon and the Animals at Harrah’s on Saturday |

Eric Burdon and the Animals at Harrah’s on Saturday

The playful Eric Burdon plays at Harrah's Lake Tahoe on Saturday.

The British Invasion’s Eric Burdon was an innocent bystander in another, much-less-publicized invasion during his Lake Tahoe concert in September 2006, when a handful of audience members jumped onto the stage.

Burdon has some advice for anybody who gets the notion to try it at Saturday’s show at Harrrah’s Lake Tahoe.

“As for (a) stage invasion, they should do it naked,” he said in an e-mail to Lake Tahoe Action. “Maybe we could get some national press out of it! Plus, the security men would have something to grab on to.”

Don’t let me be misunderstood ” the playful Burdon still is at the top of his game. Here’s a few of the things he’s been up to lately.

” A one-time reunion concert with WAR will be April 21 at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Burdon has not performed with the group in 37 years.

” His recent album, “Soul of a Man,” reaffirms the same commitment to the blues that inspired his role in the British Invasion.

” Burdon has written two autobiographies.

” A former art student, Burdon is a professional painter.

While the original Animals disbanded in 1965, the 66-year-old Burdon is a contemporary in every sense of the word. He even edits and his MySpace page.

But one change for the “long-haired leaping gnome,” who penned “Spill the Wine” with WAR in the early 1970s, has been more than subtle.

“Born a gnome, die a gnome,” he e-mailed. “My hair is short. It went white overnight due to some problems I incurred whilst in custody at the hands of the law in Germany. (Innocent, of course!) However, there are still a couple of leaps I’d like to attempt.”

After the Leap Year weekend show, Burdon won’t perform again until he leaps across the pond for two shows in late March in Stuttgart, Germany. Then he undoubtedly spend time rehearsing for his first concert with WAR in 37 years. WAR will feature the same members who played last month at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.

“The name WAR forced people to look at the political environment of that time and obviously it is just as powerful today,” Burdon told “I think people need to be challenged with a reality check, and this reunion is just the thing to help wake people up.”

The concert will be recorded for a DVD, and re-releases of Burdon and WAR’s two albums are due out this month, before the release of the 1976 compilation “Love Is All Around,” reported. Rhino Records will follow those with the reissue of “The Best of Eric Burdon and WAR” and “The WAR Anthology.”

Unlike WAR, the first version of the Animals was not interracial. Nonetheless, the Ku Klux Klan pelted the band with ice during its first trip to Mississippi,” Burdon told Lake Tahoe Action because the band played black music.

Burdon, who set his most famous song, “House of the Rising Sun,” in New Orleans, remains passionate about the plight of the South. He dedicated “Soul of a Man” to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and he is angry about the region’s lack of recovery.

“It’s disgusting,” he told Lake Tahoe Action. “The world looks on in shock and awe. As for people living down there, the spirit is strong. And the crime and insanity continues. We should all hang our heads in shame.”

On a more upbeat note, Burdon enthusiastically and voluminously listed his musical influences from America: “James Brown, Ray Charles, Jimmy Witherspoon, Joe Turner, Ike and Tina Turner, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee, Big Bill Bronzy, Louis Armstrong, Louis Jordan, John Cash, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Sam Cooke, JB Lenoir, Sonny Boy Williamson and Elvis Presley.” 

Burdon wrote about his latest album on his Web site: “This life has molded me. I went through too much when I was younger. And that’s exactly what my music is about. This music has its own philosophy. For me I’d go even further and credit blues with a healing effect, if you study it deeply enough.”

Twelve of the 14 tunes are new takes on relatively obscure blues classics, including songs by Mississippi Fred McDowell and Howlin’ Wolf.

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