Today is the birthday of Tom Drummond, who plays bass with the
Lousiana-based Better than Ezra. Distinguished by Kevin Griffin's reedy
vocals and the band's knack for catchy pop sounds, Better than Ezra has
scored success with singles such as "Good" and "Desperately Wanting." After
high school Griffin moved to Baton Rouge to attend Louisiana State
University, where he met Cary Bonnecaze and an early bassist. Together they
formed a band, split up for a while, then reunited in 1988, this time with
Drummond -- who answered a "Bass Player Wanted" ad in the local paper.
Although the band refuses to reveal the source of their name, it may have
been taken from Hemingway's A Moveable Feast in which he wrote,
"Anything was better than Ezra learning to play the bassoon."
In 1988, BTE fled Louisiana for Boston with a demo in hand, playing clubs
and recording material for their independent debut, Surprise. Soon
enough they returned to the south and sold their debut from Georgia to Texas
-- it went surprisingly quickly. In 1990, the band's original rhythm
guitarist, Joel Rundell, passed away and the rest of the group went on
hiatus, returning to college.
In 1990, fans cajoled the band into reuniting, and they began writing the
songs that would comprise Deluxe. BTE recorded the album in the
summer of 1993 on their own Swell label, followed by smash performances at
South By SouthWest and CMJ, after which they inked a deal with Elektra. The
single "Good," along with its video, immediately went into heavy rotation
across the country. Although the album sold better than ever, BTE appeared
to be an MTV confection. The group continued to tour, gaining a strong
following. And in the spring of 1996 they released their major label debut,
Friction, Baby, which has sold well on the success of singles such as
Other birthdays: The late Florence Ballard (Supremes), Glenn Sherrock (The
Little River Band), Andy Scott (Sweet), Stanley Clarke, Adrian Wright (Human
League) and Kate Bush.