Ernie & The Automatics
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Ernie & The Automatics


Band Blues Rock


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Latest Single is "Back Around"
Full length LP is "Low Expectations".



You know you’re on to something when just your second gig is opening for B.B. King for a sold-out 2,600 fans – and you get a standing ovation. Say hello to Ernie & the Automatics, a dynamic new Boston band whose members have sold a collective 30 million records – but who hope to sell a lot more with their refreshing fusion of rock and blues, capped by a unique blend of mutual respect and democratic songwriting.
Ernie & the Automatics, a Boston all-star team that includes two members of the original multi-platinum band Boston (guitarist Barry Goudreau and drummer Sib Hashian), just released their first CD, the ironically titled “Low Expectations.’’ It debuted on Billboard’s blues chart at no. 7 – quite a feat for any new group. They plan to follow that success with a national tour soon.
“I’m awed at the relationships in this band,’’ says rhythm guitarist Ernie Boch Jr. “Now that it’s happening, my goal is that we win a Grammy.’’ That’s pretty high expectations, but not unreasonable when you hear the CD -- an inspired effort that also features singer Brian Maes (veteran of Orion the Hunter, RTZ and Peter Wolf’s House Party Five), bassist Tim Archibald (RTZ, New Man, Wolf’s House Party Five, and Jon Butcher Axis) and tenor saxophonist Michael “Tunes’’ Antunes, whose history would open anyone’s eyes. He has played with John Cafferty & Beaver Brown, starred in the movie and soundtrack of “Eddie & the Cruisers’’ (in which he played on a Top 5 hit, “On the Dark Side’’), recorded with New Kids on the Block, and once toured with Richard Nader’s Original Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, backing Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. He also heads a family that includes son Kevin, now the musical director for Madonna.
“If you’re all on the same page and everyone complements each other realistically and with integrity, then that’s what it’s like to be with these guys,’’ says Tunes, whose tenor sax solos fuel the joy.

“The best part of the band has been the camaraderie,’’ agrees Goudreau. “And Ernie is the glue. He’s got the energy and brings extra enthusiasm to it. It all feels brand new.’’


While some members have known each other for years, the Automatics came together as a happy accident. Barry and Sib had been in a reunited RTZ with Brad Delp (the former lead singer of Boston), but they also joined occasionally with Tunes to perform charity gigs with other players. Sib had gotten to know Ernie after being introduced by a mutual friend. Soon, Barry and Sib started jamming with Ernie and Tim in an instrumental quartet that played the Reel Blues Festival in Hyannis with blues star James Montgomery as guest singer. Realizing they needed their own singer to get anywhere, they then brought in Maes. And wanting to diversify the solos and give them a blues twist, they asked Tunes to complete the lineup.
That’s when things got serious. Prior to opening for B.B. King, their first full band gig was at Bill’s Bar in Boston. “Within the first few minutes I saw people’s faces and they realized, ‘Hey, this is the real deal,’’’ recalls Maes.
The real deal was only getting started. Ernie & the Automatics focused on blues and rock standards in those early days, but then Maes, sensing the potential, suggested they collaborate on writing new music. The band went into Long View Farm Studios in Central Mass. (where Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones have worked) and churned out the basics of the new album in just three days, a tribute to the group’s heightened motivation. The recordings were mixed by Grammy-winning Bob St. Jean and mastered by Bob Ludwig, perhaps best known for his work with Bruce Springsteen. The album was released on Open E Records, an imprint of Vagrant Records.
Capitalizing on their collective live experiences, the group has become a gig machine and opened for a wide cross-section of stars such as B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Los Lobos, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Godsmack and Extreme. The band also has worked up a medley of tunes by the band Boston, knowing that many fans come to see Goudreau (“the most underrated guitar player in rock ‘n’ roll,’’ Ernie says rightfully) and Hashian. Singer Maes, who was close friends with the late Brad Delp, puts a personal spin on them. “Brad was an alto. I’m a tenor, but the guys just said to make it your own,’’ he says of the medley. “This band is like a team. Everybody tries to get the best out of each other.’’
Or, to quote a verse on the new record, “The best is up ahead … C’mon boys, are you comin’ with me?’’ The answer is a resounding yes.