Better Than Ezra has been making its way across the U.S. as part of the Under the Sun tour, a traveling bill of some of ‘90s’ biggest names, including Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker, and Eve 6. When I speak to frontman Kevin Griffin, he’s in Seattle between dates and has just enjoyed a nice, albeit stereotypically rainy, day off attending the city’s own Capitol Hill Block Party and seeing Father John Misty, a musician he adores. Next stop is Salt Lake City, where he’ll be flying to later that day, and he sounds excited to settle in back with his Better Than Ezra crew and the rest of the acts.
“Tour’s going really well,” he tells me. “Great turnouts, all the bands get along. There’s BBQs backstage and everything.” I mention that it sounds like an all-summer shindig, made even better by the solid company, and he seems to agree.
“A party for adults is what it is — no other profession would really allow for it,” Griffin admits with a laugh. A veteran in the business, he knows how to keep himself grounded while on the road for long periods of time, saying that he keeps a collapsible bike handy should an adventurous itch lead him to explore what’s beyond the concert grounds.
As we talk more about his fans and the current tour, our conversation steers toward his latest project, one that’s got a lot of people of talking. In late May, he, along with Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath and Uncle Kracker, released a song called “B.Y.H.B.” — which stands for, of all things, “Bring Your Hot Body.” The internet had a field day with the wild country-pop number; some praised its feel-good vibes, but plenty others panned it, seemingly because it was too feel-good to be… well, actually any good. Much of the hate, however, stemmed from the fact that the song came from these particular guys, as though Griffin, McGrath, and Uncle Kracker were in on some big ‘90s cash-grab/nostalgia train/#ThrowbackEveryday conspiracy. A number of listeners even knocked their collective band name Uncle Ezra Ray, saying it was too simplistic and lacked any creativity. (To be fair, Uproxx had some fun with the concept, too.)