Ervin began playing the alto sax in his junior high marching band and later was a member of his high school stage band. After high school, Ervin focused all his musical attention on learning the tenor sax and the guitar instead of pursuing other instruments such as the drums, which he has always loved.
While growing up in Kansas City, he lived only one block from the Historical Musician’s Union Local 627 at the corner of 19th and Highland in KCMO. All of the older great Kansas City musicians of the Historical Musician’s Foundation would practice and jam on a daily and nightly basis. They lovingly gave him the infamous nickname “Bug” and for good reason—whenever they saw him coming inside the foundation, they knew he was going to “bug” them, asking as many questions about their music as he could. The Foundation is still alive and well today in Kansas City, however most of the older greats have passed on.
In his early twenties, Ervin got a pleasant surprise one evening when performing at a local nightclub—the attention of famous Jazz guitarist and songwriter, George Benson. Mr. Benson was on tour in Ervin’s hometown of Kansas City and had sat in with the group he was playing with at the time. Although Ervin didn’t have much experience on the guitar, Mr. Benson became his friend and took the time to share his concepts on the guitar. Ervin noted, “Man, how lucky was I to begin a friendship with Mr. Benson that still exists today.”
Later in his career, Ervin experienced great success and a strong feel for the blues as he had the privilege of playing on a nightly basis with another Jazz great, Mr. Lou Rawls.
Eventually he began touring and recording with the late Barry White, while playing the lead guitar. The experience and personal musical friendship with Barry White inspired Ervin to turn his attention and talent to becoming a songwriter—even playing the lead guitar and writing the cord changes to the recording “Love You, Ooh It’s True I Do” found on the Barry White Album “My Musical Bouquet”. Ervin also wrote the cord changes to the Barry White recording “September When I First Met You” found on Barry White’s album “THE MAN”.
These experiences helped fuel the fire of Ervin’s love of the drums, bass and piano which still burns today.