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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June 2008, 06:18 GMT 07:18 UK
Glasto first-timers: Cage The Elephant
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Cage The Elephant
Matt Schultz (centre) and Lincoln Parrish (far-right)

Until now, the town of Bowling Green, Kentucky's biggest claim to fame is that it is home to horror director John Carpenter and Fruit of the Loom underwear.

That is, until five local boys decided to form a rock band and call themselves Cage The Elephant.

"They make Corvettes there as well," laughs the band's guitarist and youngest member, Lincoln Parrish.

Matters of civic pride aside, the band who describe their sound as "punk-funk", released their self-titled debut album in the UK on 23 June.

They are also playing at Club Dada in Glastonbury's newest area, Shangri-La.

Ever since the Red Hot Chili Peppers got middle-aged, no band has been brave enough to actually describe themselves using that dreaded word, 'funk'.

"We're not like seventies disco funk music," Parrish protests.

Matt Schultz
I'm missing two toenails which got smashed off
Matt Schultz

"It's got several elements of different things, it's like rock and roll, punk, it's got a very rhythmic feel to it," adds singer Matt Schultz.

Sporting newly-shorn hair, Schultz, whose brother Brad plays guitar in the band, could be flatteringly compared with snake-hipped, narcissistic frontmen like Black Crowes' Chris Robinson, Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant and even Mick Jagger.

"Well, me and Brad were only allowed to listen to Christian music while we were growing up," he says.

"After my parents got divorced, I went out and bought my first album which was something like Jimi Hendrix Live at Woodstock. I guess you're just influenced by what you listen to," he continues.

'Don't judge us yet'

On the strength of their album, which includes tracks like James Brown and new single Ain't No Rest For The Wicked, what they've been listening to is a strict diet of 70s hair rock.

Think The Stones-meets-Lynyrd Skynyrd-meets Iggy and the Stooges-meets Led Zep, throw in some Pink Floyd, some Chili Peppers and add a dash of Kings of Leon.

They share a lot in common with KOL's Followill clan, a religious upbringing in the America's bible belt, plus a shared love of bourbon, skinny jeans and tales of trailer parks, seedy clubs and wild women.

Which, of course, all means they run the risk of being attacked for being, well, a bit derivative?

As if in response, the first track on the album is called In One Ear (and Right Out The Other).

"Actually I wrote that song about people you thought were your friends saying things behind your back," Schultz explains.

"I guess you can take whatever meaning you want.

"I guess I would say to the critics, don't judge us yet. Listen to the album, then listen to the next one, and the next one.

"But you do hear some comparisons and think, 'Oh no, why?'"

Live shows

The band have provided support for the likes of Queens Of The Stone Age, The Pigeon Detectives and The Subways and are fast gaining a reputation for their wild performances.

Schultz does everything from wearing a dress to full-tilt stage dives.

He recently had to be carted off to hospital after twisting his knee during a show.

"You should see my feet. They're messed up from all the injuries that I've picked up," he laughs.

"I'm missing two toenails which got smashed off on stage but it's part of the job."

Cage The Elephant
The band are becoming known for their wild live shows

Of Glastonbury, the band admit their knowledge is a bit patchy.

"I've heard it's the best festival in the UK and it rains and there's lots of mud," says Schultz.

"It sounds like my kind of place."

On top of their Glastonbury show, the band are also playing the Secret Garden Party in July and Bestival in September.

In case you are wondering, why Cage The Elephant? Apparently it's got something to do with elephants being wise and people wanting to keep all the good in the world caged.

If you think that sounds a little naff, be thankful that Schultz didn't get his way.

"I liked Poo Poo, Pee Pee," he says.

"I would pay to see a punk band called Poo Poo, Pee Pee."



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