Egypt Central is a rock band from Memphis, Tennessee. They are starting to make a name for themselves in the music world as they play some of the biggest rock festivals and tour with big name artists. They've toured with Disturbed and have played Ozzfest, the Family Values Tour with Korn, and they will be playing Rock on the Range on Saturday, May 21 at 1:20 p.m. on the Jaigermeister Stage. They will also be playing the Machine Shop in Flint, MI on June 11.
Their new album White Rabbit is 12 songs of slick guitar riffs, lyrics that tell a deeper story and a melodic fluidity that ties it together and keeps you coming back for more. White Rabbit is due to be released at the end of this month on May 31.The guys that make up Egypt Central are John Falls on vocals, Jeff James on guitar, Joey Chicago on bass and Blake Allison on drums. John Falls talks about the gap between albums, some of his other favorite hobbies and the best barbecue in Memphis.
Who or what influenced you to start singing?
Actually, it was the guys in the band. Before Egypt Central I'd never sang in a band, or in front of people. I've always loved music and there are actually singers in my family. I was singing in the car with a friend and he suggested that I try it out as a career. I was like... um... no. And another time he kind of said something and through him I ended up meeting the guys in the band. They have really influenced me as a singer and the style we've all developed collectively.
How did you guys come up with the band name Egypt Central?
It's kinda funny because we used to have a board in the band room where we would jot down ideas for a band name. There were some that were pretty cool and there were some that were absolutely ridiculous. Through that and just not being able to agree on anything we decided that we wanted to pick a name that would be about where we're from and who we were when we started out. And to always remember that, versus picking a name having to do with the way we sounded.
(Egypt Central is a street in Memphis).
How do you think the band has grown collectively since you started playing together?
With the exception of our bass player and drummer who had already been playing together for years and had really worked on their craft at that point. Everyone else was really young and new to their instrument and craft. So just having that amount of time playing together and developing, through that you improve over time. Especially when you're constantly doing something, just like you would with any other job. But also I would say that Joey really had this lyrical prowess. He could always come up with stuff, but I would say that at some point during that gap in between records he really hit a stride. He started picking up an acoustic guitar and sitting down writing whole songs and that went on for years. He was doing it so much that I think it's just like anything else, the more you do something the easier it comes to you or the more natural it starts to flow. So he just got to the point where it was like a switch for him, when it's time to write it comes pouring out. And then Blake went and he really got into the recording side of the industry. It was something that he really loved and wanted to get more knowledge on. Then he started producing other bands and writing for other bands and you know when you're writing different styles for other people you get all these new fresh ideas and with the collaboration of the two, he started kicking out some amazing material. We'd been ready for a long time to make a new record, it was just a matter of finding the right producer and making sure the team around us was there. Once we found all the right people to surround ourselves with it was awesome process. We got in there and really just banged everything out.
How did the concept for the new album White Rabbit come about?
It was just a song that was written for the record. It was from bits and pieces of songs that we already had. We're asked this a lot, where'd the concept come from? It's like every other song on the record, it's telling a story that we actually went through. The concept really came after. We wanted to have some fun with the fans and do some things that were different for them, where it's not the same old, here's the music, hope that you like it. We really wanted to give them an in depth look at what we had went through. It tells the specific story of exact events that we went through from the first record to the second record and kinda having our eyes open to everything that was going on around us.
What's been some of the high points in your career so far?
Ozzfest was amazing, the Family Values Tour was great, touring with Disturbed was awesome. But for me, when I got to sit back and listen to this record, not only as a member of the band but as a fan. To hear it when it was completed, it took me back to being a teenager and opening a CD that when I put it in I didn't know what it was going to do for me. As a big fan of music it's become something that's stuck with me for the rest of my life. When I listened to the record for the first time I got lost in it and forgot that it was us.
Besides music, do you have any favorite pastimes or hobbies?
I love to play poker, I love to play pool and I have quite an obsession with culinary arts. I do a lot of the chef work while we're on the road.
So being from Memphis, where do you think is the best barbecue?
What's the best barbecue? I'm glad you asked, you're the first person that's ever asked that, no way! Rendezvous is awesome if you're a tourist and you're coming to the city, go there. If you want to go to the place where it's just the man who is kick-butt for years at Barbecue Fests and literally has the best pulled pork sandwich I've ever had in my life and I've had a lot of barbecue. The Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison Avenue, you wouldn't even know because it's not this extravagant place. But the Bar-B-Q Shop on Madison has got to be hands down the best barbecue I've ever had in my life. Tell em' I sent ya!
What are you looking forward to this summer?
I'm looking forward to Rock on the Range, I can't wait. That's actually the one thing that I can see, it's such an honor to be a part of something like that, it's so awesome that we finally have festivals like that. I mean we've had festivals in the US but now we have our big European style festival that's all about rock and people just come out of the woodwork and that one festival in itself can keep rock alive.