Cage the Elephant is an American rock band from Bowling Green, Kentucky, that formed in 2006. The group currently consists of Matthew "Matt" Shultz (lead vocals), Brad "Dave" Shultz (rhythm guitar), Jared Champion (drums, percussion), Daniel "Tich" Tichenor (bass guitar, backing vocals), Matthan Minster (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), and Nick Bockrath (lead guitar). 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 electric 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 nomination in 2015 for Best Alternative Music Album
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 didn't quit that job, he would be stuck there for the rest of his life. He did quit and worked 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
Members of Cage the Elephant - Matt, Brad, and Jared - had previously been involved in the band Perfect Confusion when they were in high school. Matt was also in a band in middle school called Left Nostril. It was an experimental punk band.
They described their band in high school as more "hippie" than Cage the Elephant. Later another band formed with those 3. When their bass player left, Daniel Tichenor, who they had known for a while but was a few years older, arrived at their practice space with a bass he had learned to play overnight and asked to join. Lincoln, who was 15 at the time-10 years younger than Tichenor, 'hit them up on myspace' and asked to play with them. The band said that as soon as they saw him play, they knew he would fit in, despite Tich's initial dislike of being in a band with someone so young.
The name Cage the Elephant was off a game from a packet of cereal, where you joined up dots to form a cage around an elephant. Other versions that have been told of how it was thought up was from a dream Matt had or a conversation he had with someone about life.
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 Leighton area on the outskirts of the city so they wouldn't get into too much trouble. As Lincoln was only 16 years old at the time, move to England, his parents had to sign over parental guardianship to the band in order to be able to move. They appeared on the British show "Later with Jools Holland", in 2008 with Coldplay, Sia, Glen Campbell, John Melloncamp and Amy Levere all watching CTE perform 2 songs. 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. The album obtained 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.
Cage the Elephant appeared as a support act on tour with The Pigeon Detectives in early 2008 and with Silversun Pickups and Manchester Orchestra in 2009. The single "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" was the free single of the week on iTunes for the week of April 12, 2009. 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 played at the music festival Bonnaroo twice, in June 2007 and 2009. "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" was played in the 2010 movie The Bounty Hunter, as well as the 2009 game Borderlands. They released the single "Back Against the Wall" on November 10, 2009. They supported many bands like Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, and Stone Temple Pilots on tour.
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 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.
The band's hit song "Shake Me Down" was nominated for a MTV Video Music Award for Best Rock Video in September 2011, but lost to "Walk" by the Foo Fighters.
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. In 2011, 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, the term for the fear of music. The band teased a new single "Come a Little Closer" via their YouTube channel on August 1, 2013 and premiered the full single on August 8, 2013, and released it for purchase on iTunes on August 13. During an interview with Matt Shultz and iHeartRadio during Lollapalooza 2013 the title for their third studio album was revealed to be Melophobia. The album was released on October 8. The other singles from the album were "Take It or Leave It" and "Cigarette Daydreams". The band toured opening for Muse in the fall of 2013. On August 24, 2013 the band performed the entire new album live at Soundcheck Nashville in front of an intimate group of people such as friends and family members of the band. The band also performed live on Los Angeles radio station KROQ, playing the new songs, "Spiderhead" and "Come A Little Closer". Lincoln Parish quit the band early in December, 2014 to focus on his production company, TalkBoxRodeo. In an interview, Lincoln said "I 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." A new lead guitarist has not yet been officially announced, however guitarist Nick Bockrath played lead on Jimmy Kimmel Live on December 9 and subsequent shows. For now, their "Melophobia" tour continued into 2014, making another stop at the Lollapalooza music festival on August 3, 2014.
They toured with The Black Keys on their Turn Blue tour and with the Foals on their 2014 UK and US tours. Brad and Jared both have daughters with their respective partners. Brad and his wife Lindsay's child, Etta Grace, was born in August of 2013. Jared and Alicia's Rosalyn was born 12 November 2014. Kyle Davis is filled in for Jared as he spent time with his family during the December 2014 tour.
On January 23, 2015, the band announced, via Twitter, that work on their fourth album had begun.
Matthew "Matt" Shultz – lead vocals, guitar (2006–present)
Brad "Dave" Shultz – rhythm guitar, keyboards (2006–present)
Jared Champion – drums, percussion (2006–present)
Daniel "Tich" Tichenor – bass guitar, backing vocals (2006–present)
Matthan Minster – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals (2013–present)
Nick Bockrath – lead guitar (December 2013–present)
Cage the Elephant (2008)
Thank You, Happy Birthday (2011)
Tell Me I'm Pretty (2015)