Egypt Central: Back With a Vengeance
Music is for public consumption, to be interpreted by the listener regardless of what may be the thoughts behind the band/musician when the song was written. Be that as it may, Egypt Central, from Memphis, TN are pretty straight forward in the message of their music; be who you are, don’t let anyone hold you down and if you get pushed, it is ok to push back sometimes. This ideology emanates from their roots in Memphis which can be a rough city to grow up in, but also manifests from their experience of pursuing their musical dreams.
Their second full-length CD “White Rabbit” is set for release nationwide May 17th; however, the band has been around for 10 years and with such a lengthy time between their debut and sophomore release, there were obvious frustrations as well as the perilous business of the music industry, fraught with obstacles and delays leaving them to wonder if they would ever get to the second album.
The upside to that time between releases shines through in the maturity of their songwriting. Although they never stopped performing over the period, John Falls (vox), Blake Allison (drums), Joey Chicago (bass), and Jeff James (guitar), went from being kids to being adults, with families and marriages and more life experiences musically and personally to draw from and put forth into the next record.
The turning of a negative-to-positive message in a lot of their songs was received as perhaps a Christian rock band message; however, the radio airplay of their music including the smash “You Make Me Sick” from the self-titled debut created a lot of buzz and their live performance is what really shed any labels or pigeon holes and caught the attention of not only fans but music industry execs. That debut album was polished by well-known accomplished producer Josh Abrahams who has worked bands such as 30 Seconds to Mars, Velvet Revolver, Slayer, Staind, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Courtney Love, Static-X and many more.
The energy of their live show is beyond compare. When I spoke with vocalist, John Falls, prior to their show at House of Blues Anaheim during their tour with Cold, Kopek and Oceans Divide, he explained to me (since I was a total virgin to EC) that their stage performance is the equivalent entertainment-wise as going to the Super Bowl. They don’t do it with gimmicks or lights or pyrotechnics…it is the energy. When they hit the stage that night, that energy spread throughout the venue from the start. With Falls at the front, this band knows how to control a crowd and make people move. The Los Angeles area has more recently been known for having lackluster crowds and I see it first-hand consistently. It is the “too-cool-for-school” crowd, more worried about their appearance and the status of being at the show, then actually vibing to the music or having a good time. Egypt Central does not allow that to happen as every member puts so much into each chord, beat and note as they entertain, leaving every bit of themselves on the stage and you can’t resist getting caught up in the whirlwind. The crowd was moving, feeding off the energy of EC and giving it all back in spades. Their live show is what led to them being signed to a label after only their eighth live performance 7 plus years ago.
You can hear many different element and influences in their music from metal to blues to funk; some Rage Against the Machine and Falls’ voice is akin to Disturbed frontman, David Draiman at times. Memphis is an Urban and Gospel mecca and to break through in that market marked something special with Egypt Central. Regardless of where they go, the success they achieve; where they came from is always in their heart and such sentiment is noted with the name of the band. Egypt Central would seem like an odd name for a hard rock/active rock band; however, the significance is that Egypt Central Rd. is a main drag in the area from which they came, always reminding them of their roots and to not lose sight of the adversity and battles they have endured to become a rising star in the music industry.
I have had the privilege of listening to the new CD prior to its release and where Egypt Central has already been is amplified and the coming of age in their songs shines through. Perhaps the energy of their performance derives from the organic manifestation of their songs, personal in nature, written by the band collectively, yet mainly by the outstanding rhythm section of Joey and Blake, without the egos and headstrong personalities of the kids they once were. Whatever it may be, just from the title track “White Rabbit” Egypt Central utilized the long delay between the 1st and 2nd album to grow and expand upon what they had done previously and this album is a testament to their ever-present will and drive to bring their music, their show and their personality to the throngs of fans across the country. The anthemic song “Kick Ass” which urges you to stand up and put your hand up is a tune that could very well be heard at sporting events/arenas and is a direct reflection of the chutzpah of EC. I strongly urge any reader to find the release May 17th and grab it. Unlike some bands that either you just have to hear or a band you just have to see…Egypt Central is a band you have to listen to and then see live, as well.