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Better Than Ezra at The Strand, 5 Things To Know
When your big hit is called âGood,â how bad can life ever be?
Things are, in fact, good for Better Than Ezra. The New Orleans-formed group is not exactly at its mid-90s commercial peak now, but the four group members still play shows with regularity and record with relative regularity -- and value the fact that the groupâs till going as it approaches its 30th anniversary next year...
â˘ Better Than Ezraâs latest album, âAll Together Now,â came out nearly three years ago, but frontman Kevin Griffin says the set still has life in it for the band members. âWe keep discovering songs on the record,â he explains by phone. âWeâve always come out of the gate doing, like, three songs and we donât play the other ones âcause we havenât rehearsed them. But throughout this three=year process weâre like, âOh, letâs start doing âOne Heart Beatingâ and âThe Great Unknownââ or some of the other songs and weâre like, âWow, these are great! Why havenât we been playing them?â I think thatâs a testament that the album is one of our strongest records.â
â˘ Griffin, 48, acknowledges that itâs time for BTE to be thinking about a new album -- and is, in fact, âkind of like halfway throughâ the process now. âItâsâ kind of a return for us,â Griffin reports. âAmericana is the wrong word, but you can tell Iâm such a fan of Ryan Adams and the Avett Brothers, and them maybe bands like the Head and the Heart. I really love that whole feel of music; Itâs a real natural sounding style, but done in a fresh way with some fresh production techniques.â
â˘ Griffin is also working on a solo album, saying that âwhichever one gets one first is what Iâll put out. Iâve never done (a solo album) and Iâm 48, pushing 49, so itâs about time. I just have a group of songs that donâtâ feel like Better Than Ezra songs. Youâre always in search of different things and different challenges, and a solo record has been something Iâve never done.â
Working on two albums has been both exciting and challenging, according to Griffin. âItâs all really just a bunch of new songs, however they come out,â he says. âThe solo album is exciting; Itâs your name out there, and you canât hide behind the band. But does this album have to be the most amazing, greatest thing ever?â Nah. Iâm just going to make a record and put it out. Same with the Better Than Ezra album.â
â˘ 2018 will bring BTEâs 30th anniversary as a band and 25th anniversary of breakthrough sophomore album, âDeluxe.â âI think what weâre doing to do is combine the two, the 25th anniversary of âDeluxeâ and the 30th anniversary of the band -- which is crazy, just nuts,â Griffin says. âI canât believe Iâm still doing it. Thereâll be a new record, and weâve thought about re-recording âDeluxeâ but doing it acoustic or something like that, and maybe bundling it with the new record or a new EP. Weâll see. It should be a big year.â
â˘ Outside of BTE, Griffin has sculpted successful career writing for, and with others -- including Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Barenaked Ladies, James Blunt and others. Upcoming he has a new single for Phillip Phillips and songs that have been recorded by Moon Taxi, the Struts and Madison Ward & Mama Bear. The outside writing, Griffin adds, also makes him a better band member. âI think being able to write and have that other income stream of songwriting royalties has allowed me to have breathing room where I donât have to be on the road all the time,â Griffin explains. âSo now when I tour I just love it. I love to be on the road, but itâs not the thing that makes me. Itâs really about, âMan, I love playing,â and I love playing with my guys in Better Than Ezra. Weâre such good friends and we have fun, and that was the original joy, just getting together with your friends and jamming and playing music. Thatâs what Better Than Ezra is.â
If You Go
â˘ Better Than Ezra and Shawn Hook
â˘ 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.
â˘ Flagstar Strand Theatre, 12 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac.
â˘ Tickets are $34.50-$54.50.
â˘ Call 248-309-6445 or visit flagstarstrandtheatrepontiac.com.
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