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Why They’re Called… Cage the Elephant


Welcome to the weekly feature “Name That Band!” in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists.

This week: Cage the Elephant, who head out on tour with Stone Temple Pilots this August.

Why Cage the Elephant: “We were in Knoxville, Tennessee, hanging outside a club after a show-this is probably in 2006,” remembers singer Matthew Shultz, “and we saw this guy with a shaved head and a long goatee yelling and screaming and talking to himself. I’m pretty sure he had some mental issues going on. He all of a sudden beelined towards us. Everyone jumped into our car and shut the doors. But I didn’t make it into the car. I was stuck outside. I thought for sure the guy was gonna stab me or something, but then he came up to me and gave me a hug. The whole time he was saying, ‘You have to cage the elephant, you have to cage the elephant.’ Afterwards, I was like, ‘We gotta name the band that.'”

Previously Rejected Names: “We played as Perfect Confusion for a while. That was a terrible name. We thought of it in high school. It was our version of a trippy band name. New Young Lovers is another one I remember being thrown around. And I’ve always said that if I ever do a side project it’s going to be called Pooh Pooh Pee Pee.”

Best Band Names Ever: “For the most part a name’s a name, but I like the Pixies, Let’s Wrestle, Gang of Four, and the Violent Femmes.”

Worst Band Name Ever: “There was a band whose name was pronounced like the name Janis, but whose name was spelled J-Anus. I always thought that was bad.”

See past episodes of Name That Band! here.