Getting a recording contact is extremely difficult. Keeping one can be just as challenging. Egypt Central*, a Memphis based group originally known as Lotus Effect, was started in '01 by John Falls. With local buzz building Jason Flom, CEO of Lava Records, caught a live show and decided to sign the band. Egypt Central was shipped off to L.A. to record their debut with 'name producer' Josh Abraham (Velvet Revolver, Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Staind). Looked little Egypt Central was on their way. But not quite. A shake up at Lava kept the album on the shelf and Egypt Central was eventually dropped.
Not too deterred, Egypt Central self-released the set through Memphis indie retailer CD Baby. Locally, the album did well (7,000 copies) but that was about it.
A year later, Egypt Central signed with another indie label, Bieler Bros. Records. The idea was to release the Lava album. But that didn't happen. Only a few months after the signing the band and the label announced they had 'mutually' parted ways.
While still playing label roulette two Egypt Central songs landed on soundtracks - "Taking You Down" in The Cave (an '05 sci-fi/horror film where bloodthirsty creatures await a pack of divers who become trapped in an underwater cave network) and "Over And Under" in The Condemned (a universally panned WWE produced movie about 10 death row inmates who are dropped on an island to compete in a survival reality TV show). These films did little to boost the group's profile but their next stop helped considerably.
Egypt Central appeared on Bubba The Love Sponge's syndicated radio program, "Unsigned Band Review." Bubba's blessing led to a slot on Ozzfest (second stage). They also did the Family Values Tour.
Egypt Central's next label stop came in October, '07, when they inked a deal with Fat Lady Music. Amazingly, this one actually resulted in an album release. Their original CD was remixed and mastered and given new cover art. The self-titled album landed in '08 and featured the single "You Make Me Sick." That song and "Taking You Down" were on the soundtrack of the video game WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2009.
The band's sophomore set, "White Rabbit," with the title track lead single, landed in '11.
* The city of Memphis was named after the ancient capital of Egypt.
Central Ave. runs by the University of Memphis and the Memphis Country Club.
That's how a southern band became Egypt Central.
2008 Egypt Central
2011 White Rabbit
Listening to the Egypt Central it's evident their label adventures weren't due to a lack or talent, inferior songs or bad performances. Actually, they're very good. The problem is that everybody has heard post-Grunge/Metal before and they don't add much, if anything, to the genre.
"You Make Me Sick" and "Over And Over" benefit from Hindman and James' muscular guitar work. On the former, Falls gets to use his vocal capabilities for maximum effect. But much of the album plows familiar ground. Still, the power ballad "Leap Of Faith" and the set closing acoustic track "Home" are both melodic and engaging.
Egypt Central, like Alice (in Wonderland) take a trip down the hole on "White Rabbit." The title track bears no resemblance to the Jefferson Airplane classic though it does deal with the loss of one's bearings. Keeping on the downward spiral, "The Drug (Part 1)" has Falls singing "there'll be a 21 gun salute when they find me dead."
Not all of it is gloom and doom. Egypt Central's insolent streak usually works. And it works for fans too. "Kick Ass" is their sure-fire arena sing-along.