Q&A with band Cage the Elephant

Chris Rutledge

Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra will play a free concert 8 p.m. Sept. 21 on South Lawn in an event sponsored by Campus Activities Board, the Student Government Association and Starry Nights Music Festival.

Cage’s lead singer Matt Shultz called the concert his most anticipated show all year.

Shultz recently sat down with the Herald to talk about living in Bowling Green, the Starry Nights Music Festival and Cage’s friendship with Manchester Orchestra.

Q: This year you’ve played everything from Lollapalooza to Glastonbury in England. Where does WKU South Lawn rank in on places to play for Cage?

A: Honestly, it’s right there at the top. I get more nervous playing shows at home than for any other show that we play. It’s because it means so much to me. Not that any other shows don’t mean anything to me, it’s just when you’re playing for people that you love it just means so much more. It makes you more nervous for those shows, more excited. I can’t wait.

Q: The concert is being sponsored by Starry Nights Music Festival. What part does it play in this show?

A: Well the festival has been postponed ‘till 2012, because we’re moving it to a new location. So we’re calling this a Starry Nights 2012 launch party. We’re basically going to do 12 months to Starry Nights. For the next 12 months we’re going to have a Starry Nights show once a month at Tidball’s in Bowling Green. This is the launch party of that. We want to do something for the community and for the students at WKU. We want to bring something to the community that pulls everyone together. Everyone is excited about Starry Nights Music Festival. People are crying out for great music, and Starry Nights is a big step forward in that direction. There are so many great local bands from Bowling Green and the surrounding areas that deserve to be heard.

Q: So do we have confirmation that Cage The Elephant will be playing Starry Nights 2012?

A: Oh yeah, for sure, 100 percent.

Q: Do you have anything special planned for this show?

A: It’s us and Manchester Orchestra. We’re going to have a food fight on stage – a peanut butter and jelly fight.

Q: Manchester Orchestra recently took your friends, Sleeper Agent, on tour with them and have been playing a lot of shows with you. Can you tell us about that friendship?

A: A couple years ago we went on tour with those guys and Silversun Pickups, who have also become really good friends of ours. We all hit it off on that tour, got really close and stayed in touch. We’ve done several tours together. They’ve had bands they’ve introduced to us and vice-versa. I guess we’ve kind of created a community, although I don’t feel like we’re trying to. It’s difficult though, because we’re touring and playing festivals and they’re like one step behind us sometimes. So we’ll write letters to each other and leave them behind in cities.

Q: How do you feel about Sleeper Agent’s recent success?

A: It’s freaking weird man. We all used to go to high school together and we’d sit around in circles just playing songs, all the bands in the Bowling Green area. There’s something special happening in the area. There’s a lot of great music happening, something real.

Q: You’ve stayed very involved with Bowling Green despite your success. Why is that?

A: I still live in Bowling Green. We’ll never forget where we came from. This is where we started playing music. We started writing songs because we had nothing to do. Our friends would be having house parties, so we would write a batch of songs to play for our friends. Everyone would get tired of that, so we’d write another batch of songs and that kind of became albums, so we formed a band. That’s kind of how all of the bands in Bowling Green got started. So when we come back home it really means a lot to us, because the reason we started writing music in the first place is Bowling Green.

Q: How much time in a year do you usually spend in Bowling Green?

A: Not very much (laughs). I’d like to spend more but just literally touring has been… This is our fourth week all year that we’ve had at home.

Q: When you are in Bowling Green, what are some of your favorite things to do and places to visit?

A: I love going to Greener Groundz. It’s my favorite restaurant in Bowling Green. I love the food there. Plus, it’s a cool place to chill out. My friends hang out at Spencer’s Coffee House. It’s like a less corporate Starbucks with better coffee. For the most part, it’s mostly the people that I enjoy being in town for. The place that I regularly hang in the Manor House, which is, well either you know what the Manor House is or you don’t know what the Manor House is.

The Herald also sat down with Manchester Orchestra member Chris Freeman. Check out the Sept. 20 edition for the full interview.