Better Than Ezra Kicks Off Legends of the Fall Tour — and Kevin Griffin Is Psyched: 'I'm Hungry'

The band is kicking off their Legends of the Fall tour on Thursday in Chicago

Better Than Ezra
Better Than Ezra. Photo: Robby Klein

It's a crisp fall morning in Nashville, and Better Than Ezra frontman Kevin Griffin sounds awfully content despite being mere days before the kickoff of the iconic band's Legends of the Fall 2022 Tour.

"All I wanted was to make music that in some way affected people and became part of their life," says Griffin, 54, to PEOPLE while sitting outside by the pool that he just might need to crank the heater on soon. "I didn't know it then, but I just wanted our music to take them to a place when they were in college or on a road trip or their first love or that last breakup, you know?"

Indeed, the success story of the band from New Orleans whose roots were planted firmly within the filthy basements of Louisiana State University is one that is certainly impressive. Founded by Griffin himself alongside Better Than Ezra bass player Tom Drummond, the band exploded onto the music scene in 1995 with their No. 1 hit "Good," and hasn't slowed down since.

"All the ups and downs and twists that we have gone through in terms of a career in music were all worth it," says Griffin of the continuing journey of the alternative rock band whose music catalog has garnered over 300 million streams to date. "I wouldn't trade the experience and where we've been able to go for anything. We set out to be in a band and get signed and tour the world and make music and be a part of pop culture in some way, and that's exactly what we did."

And now, as the band preps for a 13-city headlining run kicking off in Chicago on Thursday, Griffin says the much-anticipated shows will offer up as much old stuff as it will new.

"We've worked up some new songs but have also gone back into our catalog and reworked a lot of our old songs we haven't played that the fans honestly have asked for," says Griffin, who married Erica Krusen earlier this year. "It's easy to get into a rut where you're just playing the songs that you're familiar with, so just getting ready for this tour has been a great shot in the arm for all of us to rediscover old songs."

The tendency to look back is certainly understandable, especially as Better than Ezra celebrates nearly three decades spent as a touring band.

"In 1995, we signed our first deal, and we had a No. 1 song and I was just on cloud nine," Griffin, who was 26 years old at the time, recalls with a laugh. "I was a baby, but I was also old enough to appreciate how hard we had worked for it."

Indeed, Better Than Ezra had spent seven years beforehand cranking it out, paying their dues and receiving their fair of rejections in an industry that was somewhat brutal at the time.

"It was different back then," Griffin says before directing the conversation toward the often-sudden stardom granted to TikTok breakouts. "I don't begrudge anyone. How ever you can get your music out and get noticed is all good. The problem is these people don't have any live show. They have no stage presence because they haven't had to learn it and build it and hone it."

Griffin sighs.

"To make any noise to where the industry was going hear you and you were going to get a fan base, you had to get out and grind it out in a van pulling a trailer," says Griffin, who joined forces with artists such as Justin Timberlake to co-found the Pilgrimage Music &Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee back in 2015.

Make no mistake — Griffin says he isn't one who likes to dwell on the past too long. Instead, the Better Than Ezra frontman seems to enjoy looking at the road ahead of him and the band more — and it might just include a brand-new album sometime next year.

"I think it's one of our best albums," he remarks. "It feels there's a lot of new influences in it. What keeps me going is that endless quest for your best work. I still feel like it's out there. When I see writers and musicians and bands put out their best work later in their career, that just lights my fire. I'm as hungry and have the same amount of drive as I always did."

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