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Music / Better Than Ezra

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Better Than Ezra are an Alternative Rock band that formed at Louisiana State University in the late Eighties. The band formed as a quartet: lead singer Kevin Griffin, guitarist Joel Rundell, bassist Tom Drummond, and drummer Cary Bonnecaze. This lineup recorded one album (the indie release "Surprise") before Rundell committed suicide in 1991. The band split up briefly, but reunited as a trio.

In 1993, the band recorded their breakthrough album "Deluxe" featuring the Breakaway Pop Hit "Good" which got some respectable airplay two years later. The following year, internal strife led to Bonnecaze leaving the band and being replaced by Travis MacNabb. The band recorded and released the album "Friction, Baby" shortly afterward, although they insist the album title was a coincidence.

The band has continued to record albums, despite being dropped by Electra around the turn of the century. Afterwards, they've had the misfortune of signing with several record labels that released one of their albums before going bust. MacNabb left the band (more amicably than Bonnecaze) in 2009 and was replaced by Michael Jerome.

Although the band has never attained the attention of other alternative rock bands (including one of their influences, R.E.M.), they do have a dedicated fan base, the "Ezralites".


  • Surprise (1990) -Indie release. Only album to feature original guitarist Joel Rundell.
  • Deluxe (1993, re-released 1995)
  • Friction, Baby (1996)
  • How Does Your Garden Grow? (1998)
  • Closer (2001)
  • Artifakt (2001) -Compilation of rarities and B-sides.
  • Greatest Hits (2005) -Compilation of the band's singles.
  • Before The Robots (2005)
  • Paper Empire (2009)
  • All Together Now (2014)
  • Super Magick (2024)

Better Than Ezra provides examples of:

  • All Just a Dream: "Recognize" according to the final verse:
    Just before I hit the ground, I woke up in my bed.
    I was dazed and I was weary and my heart was full of dread.
    When I looked at my reflection, I was horrified to find,
    There were seven horsemen next to me, the angel close behind.
  • Alternative Rock
  • Colbert Bump: Norm Macdonald once made a joke about Better Than Ezra on SNL's Weekend Update ("in music news, number one on the college charts this summer was 'Better than Ezra' — and at number two: 'Ezra'") and the joke resulted in a massive profile boost for Better Than Ezra, whose sales increased significantly after being referenced by Norm.
  • Cover Version: "Conjunction Junction", done as part of a collaboration with Schoolhouse Rock for the album "Schoolhouse Rock Rocks!"
  • "Dear John" Letter: The singer finds one in "Good". We only hear one line from it: "It was good living with you."
  • Fake Band: The group performed a show in 1997 as Manwich to preview songs off of the then upcoming How Does Your Garden Grow? The audience wasn't fooled, but they went along with it anyway.
  • Hidden Track:
    • "Streetside Jesus" on "Deluxe".
    • "Mejor de Ezra" on "Friction, Baby". Interesting in that earlier releases of the album put the track in the negative space before "King Of New Orleans". Later pressings move it to the end.
  • I Have a Family: The last verse of "One More Murder".
    Pleading to his sympathy.
    Take the car, I've got a family.
    You hear a laugh.
    "That don't mean shit to me."
  • Murder Ballad: "Summerhouse" from Deluxe starts with the discovery of the body of a man who was not very well liked. The song ends before a culprit is identified.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "In The Blood", "Return of the Post Moderns".
  • No Title: The eighth track on Deluxe simply has a blank space in lieu of a title. It later acquired the title "Ether".
  • Ode to Sobriety: "Gonna Get Better" is a plea to a friend to seek help for his substance abuse problems.
  • Outlaw Couple: Kelly and Sarah from "A Southern Thing".
  • Precision F-Strike: Kevin keeps his language mostly clean when he sings. However, "One More Murder" gives us the line "That don't mean shit to me."
    • On the same album, "Pull" contains the line "Fuck me up, I'm begging you please."
    • The intro for Live at House of Blues, New Orleans contains the line "Prepare to get your asses rocked".
  • Shout-Out: Friction, Baby is named for a Keith Richards quote - when asked by an interviewer how he and Mick Jagger managed to keep their creative partnership going for so long, Keith gave the two word answer of the title.
  • Title Track: "Closer". Although...
    • Album Title Drop: The album "Closer" also has the song "Briefly" which features the line "Draw me closer in."
  • Unreplaced Departed: When guitarist Joel Rundell died by suicide, the band carried on as a trio and never permanently replaced him.
  • The Unreveal: As long as the band's existed, there's one thing about them they've never revealed: the source of their name.