By Tara Bennett
Prepare to be entertained as local favorite Better Than Ezra is heading back to Baton Rouge for a show at L’Auberge Casino-Hotel on Friday, Oct. 16. Founded on LSU’s campus in 1988, Better Than Ezra returns home to Louisiana, ready to rock out and interact with their fans
In an exclusive interview with DIG, bass player and founding member, Tom Drummond, elaborated on the band’s favorite aspects of performing back home.
“We’ve been playing [in Baton Rouge] for a very long time, we get to see old friends, get to play older songs because they grew up listening to some of the first albums,” said Drummond. “So it’s a chance for us to maybe revisit some songs that we don’t usually get to do on a normal tour and maybe give more to the Baton Rouge people, so it’s always good like that.”
The band, composed of members Kevin Griffin, Michael Jerome and Drummond never fails to entertain, especially when in Baton Rouge. Throughout their career, Better Than Ezra shows have been labeled for their high, non-stop energy, which is also their philosophy.
“The show is always fun, its high energy,” said Drummond. “I’m 46, but we act like we’re 26…We like to have fun; we like to get the crowd involved. We want to support our team too, so we like to build the energy going into a Saturday night football game.”
Recently, the band was part of Sugar Ray’s Under the Sun tour along with Uncle Kracker and Eve 6, which was a lot of fun for the band.
“It was great,” said Drummond. “It was an opportunity for us to play really nice venues, larger than we’re used to playing on our own. All of the bands on tour were really on their A-game, so we had to have our stuff together. It’s always good when you can play that many shows in a row, you get really tight as a band. It’s fun, and that’s what it should be.”
The New Orleans-based band first unveiled their debut album Deluxe independently in 1993 and then again via Elektra Records in 1995. Since then, Better Than Ezra has been a mainstay of 90’s rock and have showed no signs of stopping since they first played the Southern club circuit.
“I’ll be honest, we always had a very long-term vision, even before we had our first record deal,” said Drummond. “We knew what we wanted to achieve. It took us almost a year to negotiate our first record deal with Elektra because we just weren’t willing to take some of their points they would normally give to another band they signed. We were like ‘Nope, we’re doing this on our own, if you want to come along for the ride, then sign us, but we want these things in place.’ Ever since day one we’ve been sort of in that mood, that’s been our attitude. I think we can expect to be around for another 20 years.”
A career for over 20 years is nothing to sneeze at, and the band has proved it can adapt while also remaining faithful to its roots. According to Drummond, from the very beginning the band has been consistent with strong songwriting and also with providing fun, entertaining live performances.
“If you can handle all of those things, and keep writing good songs, you’ve got a very long career,” said Drummond.
Over the last 20 years, the band has produced a wide variety of albums that still resonate with their original sound. While they will be playing a lot of their old hits, the band’s current tour is to promote their most recent album, All Together Now. The album, featuring the hit single, “Crazy Lucky,” came from a different production approach.
“We actually got together and rehearsed,” laughs Drummond. “We had a long pre-production period, and we really credit this new sound to Tony Hoffer, who produced the album. He’s kept us inspired.”
Drummond believes the album is their “best one yet.” The band’s natural creativity mixed with a new perspective from Hoffer gives the album a sharp melodic sense.
As hardworking musicians, Better Than Ezra has shown they are also hardworking philanthropists with the Better Than Ezra Foundation. The foundation was created in response to Hurricane Katrina, and allows the band to give back to their native New Orleans with charity ventures benefitting everything from coastal restoration to after school programs for underprivileged kids.
“It’s been very rewarding,” said Drummond. “Also a great sense of responsibility goes with it because now we’ve got all these kids we’re supporting, and we can’t take that away. We do it because it needs to be done, and we have the ability to do it…We feel like we’re doing the right thing, and we want to keep on doing that.”
For more information about the band, visit betterthanezra.com and be sure to hit the slot machines at L’Auberge after the concert.
To purchase tickets visit lbatonrouge.com.
Better Than Ezra
Friday, October 16
Doors open at 6 p.m.
$25 general admission
Nawas: 7 p.m.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation: 8 p.m.
Better Than Ezra: 9:15 p.m.