“I’m going to burn myself alive on stage before the end of the year; it’s a protest against maple syrup and peanut butter sandwiches!”
These are the wise words of wired Cage The Elephant frontman Matt Schultz, a tall tale in most people’s eyes but given the amazing year Matt and Cage have enjoyed, spontaneous combination can’t be ruled out!
A matter of months since they swapped Christian rock in their sleepy corner of Bowling Green, Kentucky, Cage’s toxic mix of rock and funk has found itself more suited to the UK than their home. Now firmly ensconced in their second home, Leytonstone in east London, their gamble to rule Britannia has paid off with summertime anthems ‘In One Ear’ and ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ ruling the airwaves and summer festival circuit.
Reflecting on a “sick year”, Matt was able to put thoughts of setting himself alight to one side to describe it all to Clash.
“I feel like it has been a good year, it feels like we got a lot done,” Matt enthuses. “I mean it was always just our dream to come over here but then we’ve been fortunate enough to do things like tour with Queens of the Stone Age, that was pretty freakin’ sick.”
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Cage The Elephant – ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’
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Back home in the US, Cage had struggled to get a fanbase or label to piss on them after two years of hard graft. However, their fortunes have well and truly turned in the UK.
“It’s always been our dream to come over here; a lot of the bands we first got into come from here - The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin,” Matt explains. “Then you look at the radio and see people are much more open to different kinds of music; in the US the majority of music that gets played is just all bubblegum, slick pop. That’s not the way it is here.”
“We took a bit of a gamble coming over,” he admits. “It could have gotten completely fucked up and we could have been forced to go home with nothing to show for our efforts, but sometimes you need the pressure of it being all or nothing to help you focus.”
And while UK radio was falling for the charms of Cage’s eponymous debut album, their unhinged live act was attracting an army of fans at the summer festivals thanks to their propensity for scaling amps, pushing each other around and generally having fun. However, Matt insists Cage’s amazing year isn’t over yet, maintaining he plans to take it up a gear and end their live shows with an even bigger bang.
“We’ve had a great time touring this year, it’s been phenomenal; I mean all the festivals - Reading, Leeds and Bestival especially - were just awesome,” he states. “But I’m definitely going to end this year by setting fire to myself on stage. I’m not sure what show I’ll do it though so the tour might end short!”
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See Cage The Elephant live as follows. Best take some sort of fire extinguisher, mind…
21 Stoke Sugarmill
22 Middlesbrough Empire (get Middlesbrough tickets)
23 York Duchess
7 Leeds Cockpit 8 Manchester Academy (get Manchester tickets)