An active yet not-widely-known figure in the development of the punk/new-wave movement of the mid 70s, most of Ernie Brooks' post-high school musical adventures were done in collaboration with future Talking Heads keyboardist Jerry Harrison. Brooks met Harrison while both were attending Harvard in the final years of the 1960s, at which time they became members of Albatross, a ensemble that alternated Jimi Hendrix and Steve Miller covers with a handful of original numbers. Albatross dissolved during the summer break of 1969, but a few months later the two musicians found themselves working together once again in Catfish Black. With this band a more serious attempt to turn professional was made, but their public appearances never extended far beyond the school dances and parties that had been the purlieu of Albatross. Brooks was ejected from the Catfish after a year (apparently due to an excessively relaxed attitude towards remembering his parts), and took Harrison with him to create the extremely short-lived unit The Eagles (not that one, of course).
A breakthrough for both musicial travelers (although not without its complications) finally arrived in 1971, when Brooks was invited to join The Modern Lovers by oddball performer Jonathan Richman. Harrison's membership followed a week later.