Better than Ezra Interview

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from indiehouston

Better Than Ezra has a long history of playing in Houston. What is it about the city that keeps you coming back?

Houston is one of the very first large cities that was into BTE.  We would play there about once a month when the band was first branching out from Louisiana, before we had any sort or record deal or agent.  Houston has always been one of our top markets for selling albums, and I believe was even number one for a while, so the people are definitely what keep us coming back.

 
You’ve been in the music industry for over 20 years. What’s changed the most from when you first started out?

Quite a lot has changed in the music biz over the last 20 years, but certainly I think the most significant change is digital music.  There are positives and negatives to that and I think you can make a valid argument either way as to whether it’s helped or hurt the music business. But one thing I do know is that people still want to go to a show and be entertained.  Having a fun live show is most definitely a key ingredient to having a long career.

You are changing it up this year with a Casino Night Benefit BEFORE the actual show. Tell us about that.

We are indeed.  We have had so much success with our efforts in New Orleans through our foundation, that is just seems logical to try something like this where the venues and partnerships make sense.  Both the Houston and Dallas House of Blues venues have been favorites to our fans and the band alike, so it just made it easy to try and expand the good things we are doing in South Louisiana to our close Texas neighbors.  We’ll be hosting a Casino night with real blackjack, roulette, craps and poker dealers and tables with “play money.” Proceeds not only benefit the Better Than Ezra Foundation but also a local charity in each city. All food and drinks are included in the price, and you will get a special power acoustic performance from the band before the real show in the Main room.

What is the latest Better Than Ezra Foundation project you are working on? What will the proceeds go towards?

We’ve donated to various causes in the past (full list at www.BTEFoundation.org) but our latest project have been with Bethune Elementary School in New Orleans.  We are currently building an Audio Visual system for their assembly room, and this fall we will start a much needed after school program.  We are learning all about “Red Tape” and what we have to do get things done, but are really excited about our efforts.

It’s cool that you are not only benefitting the Better Than Ezra Foundation but also a local Houston charity. What made you decide to expand to Houston?

We’ve seen the impact we have had on the New Orleans community so it was natural to test out the Houston market where we have not only incredible fans but supporters of the foundation. When researching non-profits in Houston, friends kept telling us about His Grace Foundation which provides physical, emotional, and financial support for the patients and families on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit (BMTU) of Texas Children’s Hospital. After our experience helping children at Bethune Elementary and seeing how we helped make a difference, teaming up with His Grace Foundation was a natural next step as this would allow us to continue to help children but through another avenue.

 
Where can people purchase tickets to the Casino Night event?
If you already have tickets to the main HOB show, you can upgrade your ticket to include the Casino Night Benefit here –

http://tinyurl.com/ly2gr6v

If you would like to do a bundle package of the Casino Night Benefit + 1 GA ticket to the main show, you can purchase them here —
http://tinyurl.com/m8vb46m

For those who can not make it to the event, is there another way they can get involved?
We’ve set up a Pay Pal page for those who want to contribute but aren’t able to make the show.
I know there are a lot of Houston fans anxious for a new album. Can we expect another BTE album in the near future?

I’d say we are about half way done with a new album right now.  It’s being produced by Tony Hoffer (Phoenix, Beck, Fitz and the Tantrums)  are very excited about it is coming out and can’t wait for people to hear.  Should be out early next year.

Photo Credit: Rick Olivier
From L to R: Tom Drummond, Kevin Griffin and Michael Jerome
 
 

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