“Influenced by some of the legendary names of pop and soul, such as the Beatles, Elton John, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder, Californian ERNIE HALTER first began to make waves for himself with the release of his 2005 collection, Lo-Fidelity. The singer and songwriter got his start playing a small — mostly covers — coffeehouse gig in 1992, and was able to maintain the difficult position of being a working musician (and closet songwriter) by simply paying his dues, working on songs in his spare time, and playing in coffeehouses and smaller gigs to keep active on the scene and to sharpen his skills. Eventually, word of mouth and the Internet community on websites such as MySpace and YouTube worked in Halter’s favor, and by 2007 — and his next release, Congress Hotel (on Rock Ridge Music) — he had built up quite a buzz, and the staunchly indie Halter could be seen touring throughout much of the United States.” (Chris True All Music Guide). He joined us for our 5GB series before his upcoming show at Eddie’s Attic.
What’s the first gig you ever attended?
First concert I ever went to was Men At Work. I was 7 or 8 and my older brothers took me to the outdoors Irvine Meadows Amphitheater. I was obsessed with the first record and knew every single word. It was raining that day, but it everyone was in such a good mood, and a bunch of people were making a muddy slip n slide on the lawn section — as the band sang “I Come From A Land Down Under” from a stage full of giant inflatable palm trees. It was like my own personal Woodstock.
What is the best gig that you ever played/performed?
Many years ago when I first started touring independently, my friend Tony Lucca and I played a show at New York City’s “Cutting Room”. The show was packed and had a great energy to it, but my favorite part was actually the performance after the show. A friend had invited us to a “hotel party”. He had just got a job at a midtown hotel that was having its grand opening that week. The employees threw a very rowdy get-together in the pristine, shiny new hotel. We got there and they had taken over the entire top floor. Every room had a party in it. There was one room though where they’d taken the pillows from the entire hotel and stacked them floor to ceiling. The end of the night found us there with a handful of friends and a couple of guitars, swimming in a puffy jacuzzi, up to our neck in the comfortable bath of down pillows. We played music into the pre-dawn hours. I’m not sure if anyone got busted over it, but it was certainly a night I’ll never forget.
What is the best gig you have ever seen?
I got to watch my hero, Bonnie Raitt play a private show for Fender execs at the LA NAMM show around 94. I’m sure an average gig for her, but she sang every note like her life depended on it. I also watched John Mayer play in 98 at a coffeeshop in Athen GA with about 5 people in the audience. He invited me up to sing a version of Ray Charles “Hard Times”.
What is the gig you would most like to play?
Skies the limit: I would love to play MSG, Red Rocks in Denver, or The Greek in LA.
What would be the lineup for your dream gig?
Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, Brad Paisley, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Elvis Costello, and too many others to keep naming.
Catch Ernie Halter Tuesday, Jan. 16th at 529