Better Than Ezra runs like 1999.
Formed in Baton Rouge when its members were students at LSU, the nationally acclaimed rock band kicked off their Fall 2022 tour last month in Chicago. The trek includes Boston, New York, Washington, DC and Atlanta. Friday’s show at L’Auberge Casino in Baton Rouge precedes the tour’s final dates in Dallas and Houston.
“We’re playing,” singer, songwriter and guitarist Kevin Griffin said Monday before a show at The National, a historic theater in downtown Richmond, Va. “It’s a three-week bus tour. We haven’t done our own headlining tour in a while.
Better Than Ezra co-founder Griffin and bassist Tom Drummond, drummer Michael Jerome and keyboardist and guitarist Jim Payne are loving their return to touring.
“It’s fun to get back to that routine, that grind,” Griffin said. “It’s the meat and potatoes of what a band is. It’s good.”
Speaking of good, Better Than Ezra’s song “Good” became the band’s career hit in 1995. A track on “Deluxe” from 1993, the band’s second album, “Good” topped at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s modern rock chart. , No. 3 on the mainstream rock chart and No. 30 on the Billboard Hot 100 all genres.
Having launched their career in 1988, during the early years of CDs, Better Than Ezra remains a force in the streaming age, garnering over 300 million streams. Next year, the band will release album number 10, their first full-length project since 2014’s “All Together Now.”
“It’s over,” Griffin said of the upcoming album. “Lots of songs, and some of our best songs. And we love the way the album sounds. Sounds like us, but in 2023.”
It’s also possible that Better Than Ezra will bundle the new album with an acoustic version of “Deluxe.” Meanwhile, two songs from the new album – “Mystified” and “Fuzzy” – are on the band’s current set list.
“They’re getting a great response,” Griffin said. “Especially ‘Mystified’, which is an Ezra classic.”
Better Than Ezra titled their fall tour “Legends of the Fall,” a nod to the band’s history of fall season accomplishments, fall-related songs, and affection for the 1994 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.
“First of all, ‘Legends of the Fall’ sounds great,” Griffin explained. “And so many of our big albums came out in the fall. So it just seems to fit. And this little tour was so successful that maybe we’ll do a fall tour that ends around Halloween every year.
Since 2010, Griffin has lived in Franklin, Tennessee, about 20 miles south of Nashville. Former Better Than Ezra drummer Travis McNabb also lives in Franklin, while Drummond and Payne reside in New Orleans and Jerome resides in Los Angeles.
Griffin moved to Franklin after living in Los Angeles, the city he moved to from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Outside of Better Than Ezra’s activities, he is a professional music maker and occasional producer whose songwriting credits include Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Dierks Bentley, Trombone Shorty, Train, Howie Day, Moon Taxi, the Struts, Meat Loaf and Blondie.
Better Than Ezra frontman Ezra’s other musical pursuits include the Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival. An annual two-day event held in Franklin, the 2022 festival has featured Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile, Jon Batiste, Better Than Ezra and dozens more.
“It’s a fun business,” Griffin said of the fall festival he co-founded in 2015. “What I’ve found is that in the music business, there’s many hats I can wear. I have different lives and careers.
Better than Ezra
8 p.m. Friday (door at 7 p.m.)
The Lawn, L’Auberge Casino, 777 L’Auberge Ave.
lbatonrouge.com and betterthanezra.com