Better Than Ezra’s Tom Drummond talks football and memories of the Capital City

How does it feel to come back to play in Baton Rouge where it all started? (The band played most recently in October.)
It’s always a pleasure. We can play deeper material because we’ve been playing there for so long. Over the last few years, it’s become a meeting ground for all the friends we went to school with. It’s always a great time.

With your latest album All Together Now, you said that you wanted to make music on your own terms. Do you feel you were able to do that?
I do. That’s sort of been the band’s motto from the beginning. We held out for a long time in the early days before we ever signed a record contract … because we just weren’t willing to deal with their terms. They were going to deal with ours. [laughs]

You guys have known each other for almost 30 years now. Is the creative process second nature for the band by now?
Most of the songs really do reflect what’s going on in our lives and what experiences we’ve all had, so it is natural for us. Our songs really are about us when you look back at it, and just the changes in life, you know? You go through life and things change and you deal with it. That’s one of the reasons the band’s been around so long—we’ve been able to adapt.

What song from your catalog do Baton Rouge crowds seem to love the most?
Well, when it’s football season, people want to hear “This Time of Year,” which is basically about football season when we first started to play. Ole Miss—Oxford, Mississippi—and Baton Rouge were really our two biggest markets. We had our Dodge Ram custom van that we would drive around the South. And this was a song about being in college, so when we played Baton Rouge, there’s a large element of that … it’s almost like an LSU tradition.

Better Than Ezra is definitely part of the fabric of Baton Rouge. How do you think the city has changed in the past 10 years?
Wow, it’s really grown. For a while there, I was on tour, and I wasn’t really paying attention because I was gone. It’s like when you’re gone from somewhere for a while and suddenly everything’s changed. All those apartments and condos over there on Nicholson? Those weren’t there. Murphy’s isn’t there anymore. That’s a shopping center now. Raising Cane’s wasn’t there [when I was at LSU]; now it is. It’s cool. It’s cool to see the change. That’s what’s cool about playing shows in Baton Rouge—we see the changes that go on. We see the people we know, but we see new people too. It’s fun to come back.

For more info, visit betterthanezra.com.