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About The Ernies

The Ernies, who hail from Richmond, Virginia, started their musical journey as a straight-ahead ska band in January, 1994 when guitarist/lead vocalist Will Hummel and drummer Matt Goves decided they were tired of playing covers and began trying to do something a little more creative. They were soon joined by baritone sax player Hayes Smith and bassist David Warren. The band played together for a year before issuing their self-titled debut album on Bob Records. Their debut would be the only ska album that they would ever make, and even it showed the beginnings of the cross-style noodling that the band would be known for later. Two more members expanded the Ernies' lineup; in 1996: Mike Hughes switched from playing the guitar to bass to join the band and in 1997, turntablist Chris Bondi (a childhood friend of Smith's) hooked up with the band and helped radically change their sound. 1997's Dropping Science, also issued on Bob Records, shows evidence of this evolution. The album is a mish-mash of styles, mixing their old ska roots with hip-hop and metal elements. The band still appealed to the skate and snowboard crowd, however, and supported their album with a tour of Colorado ski resorts in the winter of 1997. While they were in Colorado, they were invited to play in a band showcase at the Opium Den in Hollywood. Despite the distance, the band decided to journey to California, which proved fortunate -- they were sighted at the show by a representative of Mojo Records and were later offered a contract with the label. Their first major-label debut, Meson Ray, which was released in 1999, was the first fruit of that contract. Recorded by Howard Benson in Los Angeles, the album harnessed the Ernies' craziness on a collection of widely divergent songs. ~ Stacia Proefrock

Richmond, VA

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