Isley playing down at BB's
of the longest running acts in Rock and Roll history, The Isley
Brothers have been around, in one form or another, for about a
half century. A surprise guest at the recent Guitar Masters, Ernie
has been playing around town, and STLBlues caught his act at BB's.
Ernie spent a few minutes with STLBlues recently, here's his story!
STLBlues: Where are you from?
Ernie: I was born in Lincoln Heights (Cincinatti, Ohio)
in 1952 into a musical family, the 5th of 6 boys
STLBlues: When did you begin performing?
Ernie: My first performances were in church
STLBlues: Tell us a little about your musical history
Ernie: My father died one week before release of "Shout",
one of our of our first hits, but he was watching from a cloud.
Jimi Hendix - we bought him his 1st Stratocaster, and he did his
first recording with the Isley Bros, "Testify 1 & 2".
He was with the band from 1963-1965, and lived at our house, before
the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival. I bought my 1st guitar in 1968.
On the 1969 Issue of Fame, I played bass. On the 3 by 3 album
"Whos that lady", our 1972 hit. Stevie Wonder recorded
by day, and the Isleys recorded by night. When Paul McCartney
was interviewed for his latest tour, he said "the Isley Bros
are the musical connoisseurs"!
STLBLues: What are some memorable music moments you've
Ernie: One that stands out was in 1992, when the Isley Bros.
were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Little Richard
made our intro speech! Yahn Warner - Editor of Rolling Stone magazine
- was one of the speakers, and said 'The Isley Brothers have enjoyed
a long and successful career, with Shout in 1959, and Twist &
Shout in 1962, more than enough to get them into the Rock &
Roll Hall of Fame! No Billboard Artist has been on the charts
more since the 50's".
When we were going to visit the Rock and Roll museum, I called
ahead and said "we have a show in town tonight, and we'd
like to come by and see the museum. I spoke to a woman, Sharon,
and she excitedly said "when will you by"? I said "in
10 mins". Sharon said "can you give me 15"? When
we arrived, she gave us a personally guided tour, it was great!
'Twist & Shout'
down at BB's
STLBlues: We were witness to your performance at the 2002
Guitar Masters concert, a St. Louis Blues Society event (see
top picture). Will you be playing around town often?
Ernie: I love the playing, without the confines of a format
- John May of the Blues Society has lined me up to play a bit
around town, at BB's & Fazios.
STLBlues: What are your plans for the future?
Ernie: We have a CD coming out in March, I'll be out touring
behind the CD. Our music is the most sampled by the hiphop/MTV
generation, Notorious Mr. Big, and more.
STLBlues: We noticed your guitar seems very unique. Tells
us a little bit about it!
Zeal is my custom stratocastor, and has seven hand-carved roses
on the body, and two white doves at the 12th fret, with a hummingbird
in abalone. Matter of fact, Zeal is Miss January in the Fender
custom guitar calender. I'm hoping for a possible signature series
STLBlues: Ernie, thanks for taking a few minutes to talk
to us, and we wish you continued success!
Ernie: You're welcome!
Kevin Johnson's STLToday article "Ernie
Isley's doing the Town!"
great evening of music at BB's