Cage The Elephant
Cage the Elephant is an American rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, that formed in 2006 and relocated to London, England in 2008 before their first album was released. The band currently consists of vocalist Matthew Shultz, rhythm guitarist Brad Shultz, drummer Jared Champion and bassist Daniel Tichenor, as well as touring keyboardist/guitarist Matthan Minster and touring lead guitarist Nick Bockrath. Lincoln Parish served as the band's lead guitarist from their formation in 2006 until December 2013, when he left on good terms to pursue a career in producing. The band's first album, Cage the Elephant, was released in 2008 to much success, spawning several successful radio singles and gained the band a large following in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
Cage the Elephant are known for energetic live performances and for possessing an eclectic sound. The band's first album is influenced by classic rock, funk, and blues music. However, the band's second album, Thank You, Happy Birthday, displayed heavy influence by punk rock and bands such as the Pixies and Nirvana, while Melophobia was a concerted effort by the band to find its own distinct musical identity, and earned them a Grammy Award nomination in 2015 for Best Alternative Music Album. Cage the Elephant's fourth album, Tell Me I'm Pretty, produced by Dan Auerbach, was released on December 18, 2015. The album won the award for Best Rock Album at the 59th Grammy Awards.
Before Cage the Elephant, Matt worked in construction as a plumber. In an interview with the "Rock It Out!" blog for Consequence of Sound, he said he felt like if he did not quit that job, he would be stuck there for the rest of his life. He left to work at a sandwich bar with Brad, who had previously worked in telemarketing. Daniel Tichenor held a job at Lowe's and Jared worked in a pet store.
Nick Bockrath is part of the band Nicos Gun and previously played bass with Morning Teleportation. Cage got to know him through their friendship with that band. Matthan Minster formed a band called YOURS in 2010.
Members of Cage the Elephant had previously been involved in the band Perfect Confusion when they were in high school. Matt was also in an experimental punk band in middle school called Left Nostril.
The band's name, according to lead singer Matthew Shultz, came from an incident in 2006 where a mentally disturbed man approached the band after a show. He hugged Shultz and kept repeating the sentence "You have to cage the elephant" over and over.
The band signed with Relentless Records after showcasing at the 2007 South by Southwest music festival. Their first tour was as a support act for Queens of the Stone Age in Canada. They then moved to London, England, to the Leyton area on the outskirts of the city in order to avoid trouble. At the time, Lincoln was only 16 years old, so in order to be able to move, his parents had to sign over parental guardianship to the band. In 2008, they appeared on the British show Later... with Jools Holland with Coldplay, Sia, Glen Campbell, John Mellencamp, and Amy Levere (all of whom served as audience to the band). They released their eponymous debut album, Cage the Elephant, on June 23, 2008 in the United Kingdom and April 21, 2009 in the United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada, to mostly favorable reviews. Their single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" reached number 32 on the UK Singles Chart and was featured in the Gearbox Software video game Borderlands, as well as in the 2010 movie The Bounty Hunter. It was also featured as ITunes' free single of the week for the week of April 12, 2009.
Cage the Elephant appeared as a support act on tour with The Pigeon Detectives in early 2008, and for Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra in 2009. They appeared on Everybody Loves Lil' Chris in October 2008. The group made a national TV appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" in July 2009. In August 2009, Cage the Elephant played for the first time at Lollapalooza in Chicago, as well as San Francisco's Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival on August 30, 2009. Prior to their return to Lollapalooza, the band also performed twice at Bonnaroo, once in June 2007 and in 2009. They released the single "Back Against the Wall" on November 10, 2009.
The band's second album, Thank You, Happy Birthday, was released in January 2011. The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week in the U.S., debuting at Number 2 on the Billboard 200, losing to the band Cake's Showroom of Compassion. The album received a generally positive reception from critics.
Throughout the year, Cage the Elephant supported the album by playing live. The group landed multiple late night shows, such as the Late Show with David Letterman and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Cage the Elephant also landed the bill for music festivals such as Coachella and the Glastonbury Festival. On August 6, 2011, Cage the Elephant performed at the Kansas Speedway for the first annual Kanrocksas music festival. In the later half of the year, the band supported the Foo Fighters, who were on tour supporting their new album Wasting Light. In October, drummer Jared Champion's appendix suddenly burst, requiring immediate medical attention. Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters' frontman and former drummer of Nirvana, temporarily filled in for Champion while he was recuperating.
The band's hit song "Shake Me Down" was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in September 2011.
The group's audience expanded exponentially throughout 2011. Although they were formed in the 2000s, the band earned the top spot in Rolling Stone's "Reader's Poll: The Best New Artist of 2011". The band Sleeper Agent, another Bowling Green music group and close friends with Cage the Elephant, came in second place. The magazine also named Thank You, Happy Birthday as the 15th best album of the year. That year, Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra embarked on a co-headlining tour with Sleeper Agent as the opening band.
In January 2012, the band released the album Live from The Vic in Chicago, recorded during their 2011 tour, and also toured with the Big Day Out music festival.
Cage the Elephant regrouped in the studio to record their third album Melophobia (meaning "fear of music"). The album's lead single "Come a Little Closer" was teased via their YouTube channel on August 1, 2013, and premiered in full on August 8, 2013. It was released on iTunes for purchase on August 13. In an interview with iHeartRadio during Lollapalooza 2013, Matt Shultz revealed the title of the upcoming album. Melophobia was released on October 8, 2013, to largely positive reviews. Shultz mentions in an interview with Billboard that Melophobia is not a fear of music, rather, "It's a fear of creating music under false pretenses, catering to cool, or writing to project some sort of image that's based upon social standards... trying to sound artistic, poetic or intellectual, rather than just trying to communicate an honest thought or feeling or story.""Take It or Leave It" and "Cigarette Daydreams" were released on March 24, 2014 and August 26, 2014, respectively. The band toured with Muse as an opening act in the fall of 2013. On August 24, 2013, the band performed Melophobia in its entirety live at Soundcheck Nashville in front of an intimate audience of friends and family. The band also performed the songs "Spiderhead" and "Come A Little Closer" live on Los Angeles radio station KROQ. Lincoln Parish left the band early in December 2013 to focus on his production company, TalkBoxRodeo. In an interview, Parrish said that he "wanted to be a producer before anything else. And then obviously took off and did more than what any of us could have expected." Guitarist Nick Bockrath filled in as lead guitarist on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on December 9 and, on subsequent shows. The Melophobia tour continued into 2014, including a stop at the Lollapalooza music festival on August 3. The band also toured with The Black Keys on their Turn Blue tour, and then with Foals on their 2014 UK and US tours.
In August 2013, Brad Shultz and his wife Lindsay had a child named Etta Grace, and on November 12, 2014, Jared Champion and his partner Alicia had a child named Rosalyn. Kyle Davis filled in for Champion during the December 2014 tour, while he spent time with his family.
Cage the Elephant released their fourth album, Tell Me I'm Pretty, on December 18, 2015, with Dan Auerbach, a member of The Black Keys, as the producer. Music critics claim that this album is said to be different from their previous ones in terms of tone and mood, as the album has a more punked-up, garage band, and enthusiastic flavor. The album's first single, Mess Around was first performed by the band on Thursday, October 29, 2015. The band posted on Twitter stating that the song was inspired by the band Outkast, while also being influenced by another top band in the alternative music industry, The Black Keys. The band then released their second single and fan favorite, Trouble. As a last chance to advertise themselves, Too Late To Say Goodbye was put out to the public before the band released their entire 10-track album. The album was mostly admired by fans and critics for its all-too-real messages and emotional evoking lyrics; many music critics have come to praise the deeper insight to each song. For instance, music analysts claim that Punchin' Bag, is not just about the typical "village hottie" with a bad reputation. It has been analyzed to be about a deeply tortured girl who, stated in the lyrics, "carries a knife." Music critics and analysts have come to believe that lead singer, Matt Shultz, dug a little deeper with the album and purposely made sure all of the lyrics were both more meaningful and more thought provokingly honest than ever before.
As the music itself on the album was meant to be pure and honest, this can also be reflected within the album's cover. Critics and fans everywhere have been wondering the significance and admiring the beauty of the rather unique cover chosen by the band. The team has said to have went on a hunt just to find the right girl to perfectly personify the band's theme. The strawberry blonde, blue eyed cover woman is model Rachel Sykes. In an interview, lead singer Matt Shlutz said "When I looked at her, she was immediately beautiful to the eye but also there was some sense that she'd lived some real life in a way that I could relate to..." He then continued to say that she looked as if she had been "touched" and he was delighted to see how she acted in real life, when she was not being photographed or on camera. Some critics believe her coming out of the water is symbolic of a rebirth of the band, and that her eyes are bright blue as if to represent a new world and a bright new future for the members.
Jina S. (July 2015). "Cage the Elephant : The Future of Garage Rock". Aboon Magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
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