By Brandon Judeh (Music Reporter)
When Bowling Green, Kentucky natives Cage the Elephant exploded onto the music scene and their debut record hit American shelves in early 2009, most could detect something particulrly special surrounding this band.
Though the album was released a full year prior in the UK, it begun to slowly build momentum in the US thanks in large part to the surprise success of “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” and “Back Against the Wall.”
Now, the rockers have three albums and countless hits under their belt and are embarking on a tour opening up for their friends, and Akron natives, the Black Keys.
Guitarist Brad Shultz recently spoke to The Raw Alternative and said the band has grown close with Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach since doing several shows with the band a few years ago.
“We have great memories with those guys as well as the other bands we have toured with and grown close with. We have developed great relationships with various musicians and it’s been a crazy ride and I’m blessed to be a part of it,” Shultz said.
One could see why it’s been a wild ride for Cage the Elephant, as members Matt Shultz (Vocals), Daniel Tichenor (Bass) and Jared Champion (Drums) have played alongside bands such as Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters and Stone Temple Pilots.
This would be a fantasy for most.
Dave Grohl even filled in on drums for the band for a couple of weeks in 2011 and is a self-proclaimed fan of Cage.
Currently the band is playing a lot of new material on the tour and mixing in old numbers throughout their set.
This is something Shultz said is a pretty neat experience.
“It’s good to get out there and play the new songs and even rework some of the older songs,” added Shultz. “It’s interesting to see how much we have progressed from the older stuff, to the stuff on Thank You, Happy Birthday! and now with the songs on Melophobia.
“What’s funny is, we will play like 17 songs and still get off stage in an hour because all of our songs are so short (Laughs).”
All joking aside, the band is now considered as one of Rock’s hardest working and most exciting bands, as they seem to tour non-stop.
“Playing shows is what we love to do, it’s a big part of our band and we put forth a strong effort to tour as much as possible to give fans more opportunities to see us,” Shultz said.
He also added that the crazier the crowd is, the crazier the show is. This is because the band feeds off of the crowd’s energy.
“That all kind of started when we use to play shows back in our home town at a place called Tidballs, it was this bar and fans would get so crazy in there and we would feed off of that.”
Playing big shows has also become a part of the band as they have now played Lollapalooza four times.
Shultz indicated that two of those shows are his all-time favorites and both sets were eerily similar.
“What a great feeling it is to play Lollapalooza, my two favorite shows we have ever played have been this year’s Lollapalooza and also 2011’s. Both times, ironically when we played, it was raining so hard and at points it was a downpour, it was awesome,” Shultz added.
Things were a little different this year at Lollapalooza for Cage the Elephant as long time guitarist Lincoln Parish was not onstage with his former band mates.
Parish decided to leave the band in late 2013 to pursue other interests.
Unlike most departures, this one ended on good terms as Parish, who joined the band when he was just 15-years-old, decided he wanted to focus on producing records.
“He joined the band at such a young age so he never really got to experience life,” Shultz said. “I think that now he is ready for some normalcy in his life, like wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee and read the newspaper. He also has taken an interest in producing some records so as long as Lincoln is happy then we are happy for him and wish him the best.”
Replacing Parish is Nick Bockrath, who has also played alongside fellow Bowling Green natives Morning Teleportation, and Shultz says the transition has been a smooth one.
“Nick is an amazing guitar player, he is classically trained in jazz and fits in well with our band. We also added Matthan Minister on keys,” said the rhythm guitarist.
Though Cage the Elephant continues to enjoy the success that Melophobia has brought them with singles “Come a little Closer” and “Take it or Leave it” it will soon be time to make new music.
So far in the bands young career, each album has sounded different from one another, when asked what the new material may sound like, in typical Shultz brother humor (Matt is his younger brother), he gave this response.
“The next album is going to sound like Psychedelic Cowboy music, kind of like if John Wayne ate some shrooms and made a record.”