You Say It's Your Birthday: Better Than Ezra's Tom Drummond

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

"Desperately Wanting."

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.