Cage the Elephant

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Cage the Elephant
Cage the Elephant performing at the Webster Hall in New York City in late 2013
Background information
Origin Bowling Green, Kentucky, United States
Genres Alternative rock, garage rock, punk blues, indie rock, psychedelic rock
Years active 2006–present
Labels Relentless (2007–present), RED Ink (2008–2009), Jive (2008–2011), RCA (2011–present)
Members Matthew Shultz
Brad Shultz
Jared Champion
Daniel Tichenor
Nick Bockrath
Past members Lincoln Parish

Cage the Elephant is an American rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, that formed in 2006. The group 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.


Previous careers[edit]

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 stated that he felt 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 getting to know him through their friendship with that band. Matthan Minster formed a band called YOURS in 2010.

Formation and name[edit]

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.

Various stories have been given for the name of the band. One is that it came from a connect the dots puzzle on a packet of cereal, which formed a cage around an elephant. Other stories are that it came from a dream Matt had, or from a conversation he had had with someone about life.

Early years and self-titled album (2007–2010)[edit]

Matt Shultz performing at the Barfly in London, England in 2008
Brad Shultz at the Barfly in 2008

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,[1] 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 UK and April 21, 2009 in the US, 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4]

Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011–2012)[edit]

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.[5] 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[6] and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[7] Cage the Elephant also landed the bill for the 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.[8]

The band's hit song "Shake Me Down" was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in September 2011.[9]

The group's audience expanded exponentially throughout 2011. Although they were formed in the late 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.

Melophobia (2013–2015)[edit]

Former touring musician Kyle Davis in Columbus, Ohio in December 2014

Cage the Elephant regrouped in the studio to record their third album Melophobia (meaning "fear of music").[10][11][12][13] 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.[14][dated info] "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.[15] In an interview, Parrish said that he "wanted to be a producer before anything else. And then [Cage the Elephant] obviously took off and did more than what any of us could have expected."[16] 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.[17] 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.

Tell Me I'm Pretty (2015–present)[edit]

Cage the Elephant released their fourth album, Tell Me I'm Pretty, on December 18, 2015, with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys as producer. The first single "Mess Around" was released on October 29, 2015.



Studio albums


  1. ^ "Cage the Elephant Clears Up Hippie Commune Rumors". BlackBook Magazine. April 30, 2009. Archived from the original on July 20, 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  2. ^ "Top 100 Singles Chart". The Official Charts Company. June 22, 2008. Archived from the original on June 22, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-23. 
  3. ^ "Lollapalooza interview". August 2009. Retrieved August 25, 2009. 
  4. ^ Back Against the Wall – Single by Cage the ElephANT
  5. ^ "Cake Scores Lowest-Selling No. 1 Album in SoundScan History". January 19, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Cage the Elephant celebrates 'Happy Birthday' on Letterman". January 2011. 
  7. ^ "The Tonight Show Episode Guide". Retrieved 2011-08-17. 
  8. ^ Dave Grohl drums for Cage The Elephant after sticksman Jared Champion falls ill – video | News | NME.COM
  9. ^ "Cage the Elephant's VMA Nod 'A Total Surprise'". July 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ "Twitter / CageTheElephant: working on album". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  11. ^ "Twitter / CageTheElephant: 12 songs ready, 5 more to". 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  12. ^ "Twitter / CageTheElephant: Back in the studio today!". 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  13. ^ "Timeline Photos - Cage The Elephant". Facebook. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  14. ^ "iHeartRadio @ Lollapalooza 2013: Matt Shultz of Cage The Elephant". YouTube. 2013-08-03. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  15. ^ "Twitter / LincolnParish: Cats out of the bag... All". 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  16. ^ Gold, Adam (2013-12-12). "Lincoln Parish on His Decision to Leave Cage the Elephant | Nashville Cream". Nashville Scene. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  17. ^ "Cage The Elephant | Lollapalooza 2014 | August 1-3, 2014 : Grant Park : Chicago, IL". Retrieved 2014-07-12. 

Further reading[edit]

Jina S. (July 2015). "Cage the Elephant : The Future of Garage Rock". Aboon Magazine. Retrieved 18 July 2015. 

External links[edit]