Better Than Ezra

From Academic Kids

Better Than Ezra are an alternative rock trio based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The band was formed in 1987 by Kevin Griffin while he and the other original members were attending college at Louisiana State University. By 1988 Better Than Ezra had released a demo cassette tape, Chime Street Studio Demo Tape. In 1989 the band released a cassette-only album, Surprise. They released their first nationally-distributed album Deluxe in 1994. It was released on 2 different labels, the independent Swell Records first, and later national label Elektra Records. That same year, "Good" became a major pop hit, reaching the #1 position on the Billboard chart. Subsequent album releases include Friction, Baby (Elektra, 1996), How Does Your Garden Grow? (Elektra, 1998), and Closer, (Beyond Records, 2001). The band also released the B-Sides and rarities collection artifakt on its own "Ezra Dry Goods/Fudge" label in 2000. late 2004 saw the band simultaneously releasing an official live concert DVD, as well as an official live album, both entitled Live at the House of Blues - New Orleans (Sanctuary Records). Recent releases include a Greatest Hits collection (Warner Brothers, March 15th, 2005), and a new album entitled Before the Robots (Artemis Records, May 31st, 2005.)

Like many bands in the then-burgeoning alt-rock movement of the mid-'90s, Better Than Ezra enjoyed their period of greatest chart success in the time following their debut major-label release (Deluxe), which spawned their highest-charting hits. At least commercially (and in terms of mainstream radio play), the band has experienced slightly diminishing returns with each successive release. But unlike the majority of their contemporaries, Better Than Ezra has managed to avoid dropping off of the musical map or throwing in the towel. Part of the reason why is that the band has an extremely loyal fan base (who refer to themselves as Ezralites) that have never cared whether radio plays the band or not. Many of their fans follow the band religiously and attend scores of their performances. It is in large part due to this relentless touring schedule and the fan base it engenders that Better Than Ezra has managed to continue to produce new music, and remain extremely viable well past what many critics projected to be their shelf life. Better Than Ezra's independence and survival in a business that has chewed up and spat out many bands they used to jockey for chart position with seems to indicate that the band will be around to satisfy their fans' rapacious appetite for their music for many years to come.

In addition to vocalist and guitarist Kevin Griffin, the current members of Better Than Ezra are bass guitar player Tom Drummond and drummer Travis McNabb. Original drummer, Cary Bonnecaze, left the band after the release of Deluxe. Original lead guitarist, Joel Rundell, committed suicide in 1990. Multi-Instrumentalist James Arthur Payne tours with the band, fills in vocal, keyboard, guitar, and harmonica parts, and is a fan favorite.


Year Title Label Other information
1988 Chime Street Studio Demo Tape Swell Records Released on cassette only
1989 Surprise Swell Records Released on cassette only
1994 Deluxe Swell Records (1994)
Elektra Records (1995)
Debut album
1996 Friction, Baby Elektra Records  
1998 How Does Your Garden Grow? Elektra Records  
2000 artifakt Fudge Records Collection of previously unreleased rarities
2001 Closer Beyond Music  
2004 Live in New Orleans at the House of Blues - Audio CD Sanctuary Records Live album
2004 Live in New Orleans at the House of Blues - DVD Sanctuary Records Live album
2005 Greatest Hits Rhino Records First compilation album
2005 Before the Robots Artemis Records Long awaited follow-up to Closer

Hit singles

External links

sv:Better Than Ezra


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