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Better Than Ezra


Better Than Ezra was formed in 1988 by its four original members – vocalist and guitarist, Kevin Griffin; lead guitarist, Joel Rundell; bassist, Tom Drummond; and drummer, Cary Bonnecaze. All four members were attending Louisiana State University at the time of Better Than Ezra's formation. Better Than Ezra's first public performance was at Murphy's in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, also in 1988. Though many theories abound, the band refuses to disclose the origin of its name. One theory is that it comes from a line in Ernest Hemingway's memoir A Moveable Feast, in which Hemingway describes a particularly annoying sound as "...no worse than other noises, certainly better than Ezra learning to play the bassoon." However, the first track of their 1990 release Surprise is entitled Ezra Pound. Fans of the group often refer to themselves as Ezralites.

Better Than Ezra circulated a demo cassette tape later in 1988, the Chimes Street Demo. While not an official release, this demo is sought-after by the band's fans, and traded by collectors. In 1990 the band released a cassette-only album, Surprise.

Joel Rundell, the band's lead guitarist, committed suicide on August 8, 1990. The remaining three members of the band took some time off to reassess its future following Rundell's death. However, Griffin, Drummond and Bonnecaze reunited Better Than Ezra as a trio by the end of 1990. The trio continued playing house parties and fraternity shows across southern United States during the early 1990s.

The band released its first nationally-distributed album Deluxe in 1993 on its own indie label, Swell Records, which caught the attention of major record labels and radio. Better Than Ezra signed with Elektra Records in 1995. Elektra Records rereleased Deluxe in 1995 and the single, "Good", reached the No. 1 position on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart which helped push the album to platinum record status by the end of 1995.

Success came quickly to Better Than Ezra. Tom Drummond commented later in a 1998 interview with CNN, "It took us seven years to get signed, and then seven weeks to get to No. 1." when describing the overnight success of Deluxe and its single "Good."

Better Than Ezra is an American 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.
In 1989 the band released a cassette-only album, Surprise. Shortly thereafter, original lead guitarist Joel Rundell passed away of an apparent suicide. After taking some time off to re-assess its future, Better Than Ezra re-grouped as a trio, playing house parties and frat shows all over the south.
The band released its first nationally-distributed album Deluxe in 1993. It was released on 2 different labels, the independent Swell Records first, in 1993, and later national label Elektra Records, in 1995. That same year, "Good" became a major pop hit, reaching the #1 position on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart which helped push the album to platinum status by the end of 1995.
Though many theories abound, the band refuses to disclose the origin of its name.
In 2005, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry used the band's song "Juicy" as the background music for the second season of the show's promotional advertisement. The song "Juicy" has also been heard in the background in commercials for Applebee's restaurants.

 

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