When Bowling Green, Kentucky brothers, Matt Shultz and Brad Shultz, joined forces with Jared Champion, Lincoln Parish, and Daniel Tichenor to make their quirky alternative American rock with Cage The Elephant, the band carved out a little niche in rock music that belonged almost exclusively to them.
No one has been able to channel the same mixture of childlike abandon and polished rock riffs as Cage The Elephant and their grandiose name befits their filtering of their musical primacy into something awash with pure color and rebellious grit.
Before their amazing performance at the Red Bull Sound Space at KROQ, Cage The Elephant told host Kat Corbett that their goal for their upcoming album, Melophobia, was to release their fears during music writing. After Corbett joked that she thought it meant a fear of being “mellow,” and Matt quipped back that he’s “so afraid of being mellow” that he has to “move around all the time,” but the true meaning of “melophobia” was discussed: a fear or aversion of music.
Matt explained poetically that “For us, it’s not necessarily a fear of music. More or less, not staying true to your convictions to make music, to project the image rather than to be a good communicator, to write in naked honesty, so. It’s like our fear is fear-based writing, I guess. “
In live performance, though, Cage The Elephant have no aversion to expression. Matt is one of the most dynamic frontmen in the game, with hip swivels that rival those of Prince (and an apparent semi-joking pre-show ritual of putting make-up on and dancing in front of the mirror) and at one point Tichenor fell off the stage somehow and played bass on his back for the rest of the song.
Cage The Elephant started off their set with a new song that we didn’t get the name of and couldn’t find online through the lyrics, “Back Against The Wall,” “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked,” “Teeth,” and “Shake Me Down.”
It’s clear that through their sound, Cage The Elephant has created their own little world, one of their own imagination. When asked if they had any posters in the boyhood rooms, Matt laughed and said, “Posters? We couldn’t afford posters.”
“We did draw on the wall. There was my secret little spot where I’d like to do and do little drawlings when no one was looking,” continued Matt. “And also, on my bedpost, I had this temple made out of bubble gum. And I was building it up, it was bubble gum and other stuff. I’m like look, “Oooo, one more bring in the building.’”
Cage The Elephant’s Melophobia comes out on October 8 via RCA.
–Nadia Noir, KROQ