To say the past 20 years have been ‘Good’ for New Orleans-based rock band Better Than Ezra would be an understatement. The band had been selling out venues across the country since forming at Louisiana State University in 1988 where the band started touring on the Southern college circuit.
After self-releasing their first album Deluxe in 1993, major record labels expressed an interest in the band. But it wasn’t until after two years of touring and creating an intense loyal fan base that dubbed themselves the “Ezralites,” that Better Than Ezra signed with Elektra Records. Elektra rereleased Deluxe and its single ‘Good’ which reached the #1 position on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart driving the album sales to platinum status.
When discussing the overnight success of Deluxe, lead singer/songwriter and founding member Kevin Griffin said, “The timing of things is always so interesting because it took us seven years to get signed and then seven weeks to get to No. 1 on the charts.”
The band quickly became a staple in the ‘90s pop/rock scene immediately releasing two new albums within three years of being signed. Friction, Baby, released in 1996, and How Does Your Garden Grow? in 1998 produced hits ‘Desperately Wanting,’ ‘King of New Orleans, ’ and ‘At the Stars.’
In 2001, Better Than Ezra released the critically acclaimed Closer, followed by Before the Robots in 2005. The latter featured the hit ‘Juicy,’ licensed by several commercials and brands, was also featured in the promotional advertisements for the popular ABC television series Desperate Housewives.
The band came to a cross-roads in early 2009 when longtime drummer Travis McNabb made the difficult decision to leave Better Than Ezra and become a full time member of the hit country supergroup Sugarland. “Travis is like family and this was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up. We couldn’t be happier for him,” says founding member Tom Drummond of McNabb’s departure.
McNabb was replaced by drummer Michael Jerome as the band announced their seventh studio album Paper Empire which was released in May 2009. This album reached the Top 10 albums on iTunes, with hits like ‘Absolutely Still’ and ‘Just One Day.’
While the band has found success nationally, they never forgot their beloved home of New Orleans. Wanting to find a way to leave a lasting impression on the city that first embraced them, the band created the BTEFoundation. With the annual Ezra Open, which they established 10 years ago, the foundation is committed to funding renewal efforts to support the structural and cultural heritage of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana. Throughout the years, the entertainment community has joined Better Than Ezra in their cause and has raised over $850,000 for various causes in and around New Orleans.
Looking for new and creative ways to connect with their fans, in 2011 BTE debuted their inaugural Krewe of Rocckus Mardi Gras Extravaganza in March of 2011, which was hailed by visitors and locals alike as the “the best way” to experience Mardi Gras. Designed as a fan-based vacation event, the band gave patrons the ultimate insider experience to the nation’s biggest party.
In addition to the BTEFoundation and Krewe of Rocckus, the band is currently in the studio for their long-awaited eighth album produced by Tony Hoffer (Fitz and the Tantrums, M83, Beck, Silversun Pickups) and slated for release in 2014.