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Showing posts from April, 2010

Interview: April 2010

Many thanks to Ernie for taking the time to answer these questions. Please feel free to leave comments!

First of all, how did you get started in music?
My two brothers and I, and my sister, grew up with it. I remember my mom and dad doing their gigs up and down State Street in Santa Barbara, California. We were about six or seven years old. Eventually, when our sis was born, my parents gave up the live gigs and got behind our musical dream 100 percent...

Cool It...Helios

"A consistent follow-up by a late sixties soul-drenched sunny popsike (sic) crew... Except for the 1st narrated 'soundtrack' intro, the songs definitely sound chart-friendly and obviously bear strong hit-potential; some tracks should have been, some might have been, but most simply weren't, which is a shame because they're all compact and cleverly composed. The main themes emphasise won and lost love, and the obvious sikedelik (sic) escapism from it all. A big plus goes to the vocals which are crystalline clear, powerfully strong, and lavishly arranged. A professionally produced and remarkably fresh sounding album." (By Kula Shaker, My Generation)...

An All American Emperor

"Ernie Joseph and his first group, The Emperors, recorded these songs, but unfortunately, they were never released until recently. Akarma Records makes a reference to garage in their explanation of the group's sound on their website; I am afraid I must heartily disagree. I heard nothing that sounded even remotely like garage in this music. What I did hear was a singer that sounded something like Gary Puckett. This was pure pop pleasantry. The cover can be misleading as Joseph looks like the consummate rocker. It couldn't be farther from the truth. Later on in his career he may have had a harder edge on his music, but not when he recorded these songs with his group. It sounds no different than the kind of music that was popular at the time...

South East Tour

"A mix of blistering fuzzed rave-ups and bluesy melodic tracks. Ernie's lead guitar and soaring vocals are exemplary through out." (Malesch Records)

"The title and packaging certainly give you the impression this is a live set, but that's not really the story here. Half of the ten tracks are pulled from Joseph's earlier band, The Giant Crab. The other five selections are billed as previously unreleased efforts, but tracks such as Keeping the Faith and How Many Times don't sound like concert recordings to our ears. In terms of quality, the new stuff varies from ponderous boogie (Satisfied Woman) to mildly entertaining (Truthfulness).  To be honest, the Giant Crab tracks such as the fuzz guitar propelled Hotline Conversation and the blue-eyed soul-ish Save Me provide the highlights." (BadCat Records)

Reviews: Confusion

CONFUSION - Big Brother Featuring Ernie Joseph
"Influenced by the guitar sounds of Hendrix, Cream and Jeff Beck, The Bill Holmes produced "Confusion" is an incendiary classic of British blues style guitar rock. The band (not to be confused with the similarly named and of course more popular Big Brother and the Holding Company) made a name for themselves as a great live performance, often encouraging audience participation. Their on stage energy comes across well on the record, resulting in a loose charismatic album that only slows down long enough to sing a serenade on Wake Me In The Morning. The rest blisters through with searing guitar virtuosity from Ernie Joseph and an organ sound that shows no signs of prog's impending overindulgence. A rock record from start to finish."
(By Venenos Do Rock)...

The Night Ernie and I Met Jimi Hendrix

February 10th, 1968. Robertson Gym, U.C. Santa Barbara.

My friend Debi lived in Goleta, just a mile from the UCSB student village, Isla Vista. Despite the block-after-block layout of mid-century apartment buildings, the hippies hanging out at Peoples Park, the political activism, and the strip of coffeehouses, mod boutiques and head shops had earned "I.V." the unofficial title of "Haight-Ashbury South". It was a place that was cool enough that Edie Sedgwick spent the end of her young life there. Today it is best known for the riots of 1970 during which the Bank of America was burned to the ground. But before all that happened, Isla Vista was a great place to hang out, promenade in your hippie finery and frippery, enjoy a hot cider while listening to folk music at The Brazen Onager, or crash a party. I often spent weekends and school breaks at Debi's house, and we'd spend most of our time at I.V...

A Lifetime of Friendship and Music

When I met Ernie and the Emperors at the Dolphin Club in Solvang in 1965 I was only 14, but I'd already written a lot of songs and played a pretty damned good guitar. I may have looked like a little kid, but there was a whole lotta music inside of me.

The Dolphin Club was a members-only place that had a pool, dressing rooms, and a large dance hall that included a snack bar and tables. That year, the owners figured out they could make a little money by holding dances for the teens of Solvang, hiring bands from all over the tri-counties. Within the year it became a venue that a lot of bands vied for. There was nothing else for us to do in Solvang in those days; the closest entertainment of any sort was an hour's drive away and a lot of parents didn't like the idea of their kids driving the San Marcos Pass at night...