It has been 25 years since Baton Rouge, Louisiana alternative rock outfit, Better Than Ezra released its debut album, Surprise, on cassette only through Swell Records. In honor of the band's loyal fans, the long out-of-print Surprise has been remastered for its 25th Anniversary.
Better Than Ezra was founded in 1988 by vocalist and guitarist Kevin Griffin, lead guitarist Joel Rundell, bassist Tom Drummond, and drummer Cary Bonnecaze. The quartet released Surprise in 1989, shortly before the tragic death of Rundell. Surprise marks the band's only official release with Rundell, making it all the more special for fans.
On August 19, Liaison Records will release the 25th Anniversary Edition of Surprise, which has been commercially unavailable and highly sought after by "Ezralites" for over two decades. You can check out the lyric video for the first single, "Circle Of Friends" above and it is also available for download on iTunes and Amazon.
Griffin and Bonnecaze founded Better Than Ezra while attending LSU in Baton Rouge. With the addition of Rundell and Drummond, they moved into a house together and began focusing on writing their own songs which they would perform live and ultimately release on their debut studio album.
We recorded Surprise in a garage studio (literally) during the evenings and after classes, in the course of 5 days. Once we had the cassettes made, we approached a local record store off the LSU campus to sell the album and within days it became their biggest selling album. We played bars and frat shows throughout the Southeast and sold Surprise wherever we could. Things seemed to be going well. Little did we know that within that year our world would change forever.
On August 8, 1990, after playing a show at Murphy's Bar in Baton Rouge, Joel unexpectedly passed away. There is nothing like losing someone who you genuinely love and care for. It wasn't ‘like’ losing a brother, we did lose a brother. This 25th Anniversary release is dedicated to Joel.
Continuing as a trio, Better Than Ezra released their second album, Deluxe, in 1993 also on Swell Records. In 1995, Elektra Records re-released Deluxe and the single, "Good,” which helped push the album to platinum status by the end of 1995.
As Surprise celebrates its 25th anniversary, Better Than Ezra has gone on to scan nearly two million albums in the United States.