HomeMusicBand Profile: Big Baby Ernie

Band Profile: Big Baby Ernie

bill bodkin profiles a Jersey Shore rock ‘n’ roll fixture …

Ever wonder what happened to great, original Jersey Shore music? You know — the kind that made The Stone Pony the stuff of legend, that made Asbury Park the cultural center of the state and the stuff that made radio stations like 106.3 FM one of the hottest stops on the radio dial?

Well, I’ve found it, and it’s in a band named Big Baby Ernie.

There are a up-and-coming groups in the Shore scene that have a great future, but none of them can touch BBE, in my opinion.

The band, formed in the late 1990s, performs the type of rhythm & blues, funk, soul and rock that can get a crowd moving — reminiscent of the sound of the E-Street Band and the Asbury Jukes.

Originally, Big Baby Ernie was Boone’s Farm, an ’80s cover band that could be found playing the boardwalk bars of Seaside Heights and the dive bars of Toms River. Comprised of lead singer Ernie DeLuise, drummer Bryan Broesen, bassist Scott Bennert and keyboardist Vince Berrgamo, the band specialized in covering hits like “The Safety Dance.” But the musical tastes of all four members started creeping into the band’s set, and soon Boone’s would be retired and in its place was Big Baby Ernie, a cover band (who had an amazing array of originals) that specialized in funk, classic rock and R&B. (They added two new members: guitarist Connor McCarthy and saxophonist Christian Parkess.)

For the past five years, I’ve been following Big Baby Ernie throughout the Jersey Shore cover and original music scene. I have seen them seen them go from playing every bar on Route 9 South to being a band that has become in-demand all over the state, including the big shore bars, Atlantic City and has even toured the United Kingdom the past three years.

What makes them so popular? Well, as lead singer Ernie DeLuise has stated on a number of occasions, “it’s not their bodybuilder physiques” (like other cover bands) — it’s their music.

Recently, I caught BBE at The Saint in Asbury Park performing for the weekly Thursday band showcase run by the fantastic group Phanphest. (If you’re starved for original music, then you should really check out this show put on by Phanphest. They bring in a ton of great, unique bands).

For BBE, this was one of their first original showcases at the Shore in quite sometime. Performing once a month at The Red Lion in New York, BBE has exposed themselves to the NYC crowd used to original music, but down home, especially coming off a cover-heavy summer schedule, lead singer DeLuise was concerned about the band’s original set was going to be very rusty.

Luckily for those in attendance, the set was like a well-oil machine. BBE was on absolute fire for the entire night. Featuring new keyboardist (for original shows) Tony Nardini, Big Baby Ernie unleashed a set high energy funk, heartbreaking soul and intoxicating jam sessions.

The entire outfit was pitch perfect for the crisp October evening in Asbury Park. The bass of Bennert and the drums of Broesen provided such a solid, toe-tapping groove. Connor McCarthy’s guitar work was top notch all night and kicking out some major solos that would make any ’80s metal fan (read: me) very happy. On the brass, Christian Parkess held it down like nobody’s business and is one of the major reasons I compare BBE to E-Street and the Jukes.

On vocals, as always, DeLuise absolutely killed it. With a voice that sounds like Nat King Cole, Stevie Wonder and Gregg Allman wrapped up into a 6-foot-tall shaggy white dude from Seaside. Nardini, the newest addition to BBE, provided a tremendous complement to DeLuise’s voice — these two can really sing some soulful-ass tunes. His keyboard work is also to be commended — it really brought a ’70s Stevie Wonder vibe to the show.

I may seem to gushing about this band, but I really do believe in them. Their amazing combination of funk, blues and soul is out of this world’ and I think that if you’re looking for a new band to get behind, this is one of them.

To paraphrase writer Jon Landau who once said, “I have seen the future of rock & roll, and his name is Bruce Springsteen,” I say to you: “I have seen your new favorite band, and its name is Big Baby Ernie.”

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


  1. We gotta shoot him some new fan vids. These just don’t do the band justice.

    Saw him open for Johnny Winter 4 years ago, bought the first CD on the spot and have recently purchased the new CD. Just a killin’ band!

    I tell everyone I know about them.

Comments are closed.

Most Recent

Stay Connected