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The Ernies
Our weekly online concert series continues with an exclusive show by The Ernies.
Wednesday December 22, 1999

Ernies Concert Video

Ernies Concert (Audio Only) (better quality sound than video - Listen while you work!)
Free RealPlayer required. Click here to download.

Video production by Carrie Morris and Walker Allen

Photo by Danny Clinch
How do you label a band that blends the thrashing guitar of rock, the antics of punk, the turntable scratches and rhymes of hip-hop and the danceability of pop? You don't -- and The Ernies are an excellent example.

This hybrid ensemble of Richmond rockers mutated from a cover band in 1994, when singer/guitarist Will Hummel and drummer Matt Goves had enough of playing other people's hits. They hooked up with saxophonist Hayes Smith, and Mike Hughes, bassist, who joined the band in 1996. A year later, turntabalist Chris Bondi linked with the guys, completing the five-man outfit.

Priding themselves on eclecticism, The Ernies' sound is a veritable gumbo of noise; you'll hear hip-hop, reggae, ska, hardcore rock, electronica and funk. But that ain't all. Negating the stereotype of the sex-crazed, drugged-up, brainless rockers, the musicians' work makes allusions to Buddhism, scientific thought and classic literature. "I had to put my degree to some kind of use," says the English major Hummel. The end result of their intellectual and musical musings is a chunky, danceable stew.

They get around too. The Ernies, like many budding mega-acts, started playing colleges, clubs and all-ages shows on the East Coast. In 1997, they headed West, stopping to play Colorado ski towns en route to Los Angeles. There, at a show in Hollywood's Opium Den, a record exec caught the show and signed them to their label, MOJO, just a few months later. The Ernies returned to Los Angeles to produce their current album, Meson Ray, which is getting airplay at home (especially on Richmond's alternative Y101.1) and throughout the country. The Ernies are even getting airplay in the video game market. The Playstation game Tony Hawk Pro Skater features 10 bands, including The Ernies, so players can grind and ollie while Richmond's own thrashes in the background.

"We wanted to do something that was original but danceable and that was great live," says Hummel. Well, judge for yourself. Here they are, The Ernies, tearing it up at Mulligan's Sports Grille in the West End.

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