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...

All guitar icons are asked about their first instrument. How old were you when you got your first guitar?
I was nine years old. I got a Stella.

Do you still have it?
Yes, I do. I got it out of the attic a while back and polished it up. Now it means a lot to me.

How did you come to the realization that music was going to be your life’s work?
It was a blessing that our parents’ dream made us happy, and music was a big part of it. This kept us together, and we knew we were in it for the long run.

Who would you say was most influential in your life as a musician, and why?
My parents and Ray Estrada. Ray was with the Cordells and played Ventures music. He was also my best pal since 5th grade. We played football together and he got me to play music with him. He later joined the band, War, so that was cool. Just an all-around good guy, always looking out for people.

You’ve met and worked with so many musical icons in the Rock world. Who impressed you most both as an artist and as a person?
Wow, that’s a hard question for sure. Tim Bogert, Floyd Sneed, Cornelius Bumpus, Peter Rivera, Chuck Wild, Kenny Cetera, and Malia Mathis.

Who have you not worked with, but would like to?
SK Waller, Pat Benatar, Blondie, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

When you’re not working on music, what do you do?
I bike, play basketball, and work out.

What music do you listen to?
Mostly Classic Rock. I like energy music, but I'll put on some jazz once in a while.

Due to your experience and the scope of your work, you're known as a "Lifer" among other musicians. How important is it for musicians to adapt to change?
It is very important to keep up with all the tech stuff. It never ends.

How about musical trends?
Yeah, musical trends. Gotta keep up.

Is there anyone relatively new who excites you?
Right now I'm working in the studio with Brian Wise, and  a band called ICU. That's pretty exciting.

What would you say was the most exciting moment in your life as a musician?
This has to be the Love Valley, North Carolina Music Festival. 100,000 people, plus. We played with nine other acts, including Duane and his younger brother Gregg Allman, also my friends Wet Willie and Kalabash. Brian Faith turned twenty-one that night on July 19th.

What is your greatest disappointment?
People who waste their talent.

What are you most proud of?
Keeping our family tight and helping others to follow their dreams.

You’re extremely dedicated to family and friends. How have you managed to keep so many people in your life through the years?
I'm always trying to reach out.

What guitars do you have, and which is your favorite?
I have two Fender Strats, a Les Paul Kustom, and a Martin-28 dry box. One of the Strats has a Floyd Rose locking tremolo system. I can really do the whammy dive bombs on it and it stays in tune.

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?
It's hard to say... 10 years from now. As long as I'm healthy, that’s about I can ask for, as long as I'm following my dreams.

Any last thoughts that you care to share with us?
Life is very short, so let's all try to make a difference in making the world a better place. Always keep the Faith and enjoy the Good Times!


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