Multi-instrumentalist from Asbury Park, New Jersey, who earned his nickname when police mistook his loud drumming for gunshots. Friends were quick to attach the moniker to him.
Early in his career, he did a tour of the American south with Carla and Rufus Thomas. In 1971, he became fast friends with David Sancious and they started their own band, Cinnamon.
When David Sancious and Garry Tallent were gobbled up by Bruce Springsteen for his debut album, Ernest relocated to Atlanta and went on the road with Little Royal and the Swing Masters.
The Boss fired Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez in 1974 and David Sancious suggested Ernest take his place. Ernest was brought on board in time to go on tour with the band in support of their second album, The Wild, The Innocent, and The E Street Shuffle. He also appeared on their third album, Born to Run, and played drums on the title track. His last performance with the E Street Band was on 14th August 1974 at Red Bank, New Jersey’s Carlton Theater.
Ernest and David had other ideas about the musical direction they wanted to go in, namely jazz fusion. Along with bassist Gerald Carboy, they formed their own group, simply entitled Tone. In 1975, they released their first album, Forest of Feelings. They followed this up with Transformation: Speed of Love in 1976. It would have been succeeded by an album called Dance of the Age of Enlightenment, but complications between Arista and Epic delayed its release by almost three decades. Eventually, and at long last, it was issued in CD form in 2004. A fourth album, True Stories, was released punctually in 1978 but the band split.
Ernest went on tour with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and they even made an appearance on the German television program, Rockpalast. Other artists and groups he worked with included Steve Forbert, Southside Johnny & The Asbury Jukes, and Billy Squier. In 1980, Ernest appeared on Billy’s Tale of the Tape and the compilation, The Sounds of Asbury Park. He hooked up with Billy Hector & The Fairlanes and performed on their 1986 album, Hit the Road. Afterwards, he did just that, moving to San Francisco, California. Artists he worked with in the bay area included Clarence Clemons, John Lee Hooker, Harvey Mandel, and Pete Sears.
He went on to join The Lord Gunner Group, a power-pop rock band led by Ricky DeSarno and Lance Larson.
At the turn of the millennium, Ernest released his most ambitious project to date, a truly solo album entitled Temple of Boom, for which he wrote all the songs and played all the instruments.
Other CDs on which he appears include Pete Sears’ Long Haul, The Essential Bruce Springsteen, and Howard Tate: Live.
Here he is drumming with Marc Ribler & Friends on their version of “Born to Run”…..