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Cake

Best-known for their ubiquitous hit "The Distance," Cake epitomized the postmodern, irony-drenched aesthetic of '90s geek rock. Their sound freely mixed and matched pastiches of widely varying genres -- white-boy funk, hip-hop, country, new wave pop, jazz, college rock, and guitar rock -- with a particular delight in the clashes that resulted. Their songs were filled with lyrical non-sequiturs, pop-culture references, and smirky satire, all delivered with bone-dry detachment by speak/singing frontman John McCrea. Cake's music most frequently earned comparisons to Soul Coughing and King Missile, but lacked the downtown New York artiness of those two predecessors; instead, Cake cultivated an image of average guys with no illusions and pretensions about their role as entertainers. At the same time, critics lambasted what they saw as a smugly superior attitude behind the band's habitual sarcasm. Perhaps there was something in Cake's doggedly spare, low-key presentation that amplified their ironic detachment even when they didn't intend it, but most reviewers pegged them as one-hit wonders after the success of "The Distance." Nonetheless, Cake managed a few more alternative radio hits in the years that followed, while largely retaining the same approach.

Cake was formed in Sacramento, California in 1992 by vocalist/songwriter John McCrea, who'd recently returned home after spending a few years in Los Angeles, unsuccessfully trying to break into the music business. The original lineup of Cake also featured guitarist Greg Brown, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, bassist Sean McFessel, and drummer Frank French; McFessel soon left to attend college, and was replaced by Gabe Nelson. In 1993, the band released their debut single, "Rock ‘n' Roll Lifestyle," on a local basis, and followed it with a self-produced, self-released, self-distributed album, Motorcade of Generosity. Motorcade found its way to the revived Capricorn label, which released the album nationally after Cake signed a contract with them. With the prospect of extensive national touring, both Gabe Nelson and Frank French left the band, and were replaced by bassist Victor Damiani and drummer Todd Roper. Re-released by Capricorn, "Rock ‘n' Roll Lifestyle" caught on at college radio in 1995, and was followed by two more singles, "Ruby Sees All," and "Jolene" (not the Dolly Parton song).

Cake's second album, Fashion Nugget, was released in 1996 and spawned a breakout smash in the Greg Brown-penned "The Distance," which dominated alternative radio that fall, and even turned into an unlikely sporting-event anthem. Mostly on the strength of "The Distance," Fashion Nugget charted in the Top 40 and sold over a million copies. It also spun off a somewhat controversial follow-up single in a cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive"; although the band professed its sincere admiration for the song, some critics and listeners took it as a smarmy putdown, in part because of McCrea's deadpan vocals. In 1997, Greg Brown and Victor Damiani both left Cake and formed a new group, the new wave-influenced Deathray, which eventually released its debut album on Capricorn in 2000. Meanwhile, McCrea briefly considered putting Cake to rest, but brought original bassist Gabe Nelson back to replace Damiani instead. For Cake's next album, McCrea used a tag-team procession of guitarists -- five in all -- on different tracks; the result, Prolonging the Magic, was released in 1998. True to its sardonic title, it defied critical opinion to produce another big, alternative radio hit in "Never There," plus decently successful follow-ups in "Sheep Go to Heaven" and "Let Go."

Prolonging the Magic sold nearly as well as Fashion Nugget, and was also certified platinum. For the supporting tour, one of the album's guitarists, Xan McCurdy, officially joined Cake full-time. In the spring of 2000, the band signed a new deal with Columbia, and debuted in 2001 with their fourth overall album, Comfort Eagle, which became their highest-charting yet (at number 13). The lead single, "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," was a hit on alternative radio, and even earned some MTV airplay -- no longer an easy task for any artist -- with a video that featured reactions to the song by randomly selected people on the street. Following the completion of the album, drummer Todd Roper left the group to spend more time with his children, and was replaced on the supporting tour by Pete McNeal. Pressure Chief appeared in 2004. Redefining the meaning of independent -- the band was by then recording in a studio powered entirely by solar energy, and free of the corporate involvement of even so much as a utility bill -- released Showroom of Compassion some six years later in 2011. ~ Steve Huey & Steve Leggett
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Showroom Of Compassion

1. Federal Funding

2. Long Time

3. Got To Move

4. What's Now Is Now

5. Mustache Man (Wasted)

6. Teenage Pregnancy

7. Sick Of You

8. Easy To Crash

9. Bound Away

10. The Winter

11. Italian Guy

x

Track List: Pressure Chief

1. Wheels

2. No Phone

3. Take It All Away

4. Dime

5. Carbon Monoxide

6. The Guitar Man

7. Waiting

8. She'll Hang The Baskets

9. End Of The Movie

10. Palm Of Your Hand

11. Tougher Than It Is

x

Track List: Comfort Eagle

1. Opera Singer

2. Meanwhile, Rick James

3. Shadow Stabbing

4. Short Skirt/Long Jacket

5. Commissioning A Symphony In C

6. Arco Arena

7. Comfort Eagle

8. Long Line Of Cars

9. Love You Madly

10. Pretty Pink Ribbon

11. World Of Two

x

Track List: Prolonging The Magic

1. Satan Is My Motor

2. Mexico

3. Never There

4. Guitar

5. You Turn The Screws

6. Walk On By

7. Sheep Go To Heaven

8. When You Sleep

9. Hem Of Your Garment

10. Alpha Beta Parking Lot

11. Let Me Go

12. Cool Blue Reason

13. Where Would I Be

x

Track List: Fashion Nugget

1. Frank Sinatra

2. The Distance

3. Friend Is A Four Letter Word

4. Open Book

5. Daria

6. Race Car Ya-Yas

7. I Will Survive

8. Stickshifts And Safetybelts

9. Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps

10. It's Coming Down

11. Nugget

12. She'll Come Back To Me

13. Italian Leather Sofa

14. Sad Songs And Waltzes

x

Track List: Motorcade Of Generosity

1. Comanche

2. Ruby Sees All

3. Up So Close

4. Pentagram

5. Jolene

6. Haze Of Love

7. You Part The Waters

8. Is This Love?

9. Jesus Wrote A Blank Check

10. Rock 'N' Roll Lifestyle

11. I Bombed Korea

12. Mr. Mastodon Farm

13. Ain't No Good

x

Track List: B-Sides And Rarities

1. War Pigs

2. Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town

3. Mahna, Mahna

4. Excuse Me, I Think I've Got A Heartache

5. Conroy

6. Strangers In The Night

7. Multiply The Heartaches

8. Never, Never Gonna Give You Up

9. Thrills

10. Short Skirt/Long Jacket (Live)

11. It's Coming Down (Live)

12. War Pigs (Live)

x

Track List: Sick Of You (Radio Single)

1. Sick Of You

Comments

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the cake is a lie.
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eric88543
I think whoever wrote the bio is completely overthinking it. Cake is great!
I don't need more cowbell, I need more trumpet in my music, and cake provides!
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Going the distance
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Love this band! ;)
I am such a big fan of indie rock!
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No phone no phone
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moleculematt
I wanna eat you so badly.
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I don't appreciate how subjective this synopsis is. It's clear the person who wrote this does not like Cake.
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My Cake Radio is the anchor of my Pandora listening experience
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The only non-vegan cake I like!!!
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The Muppets Song !!!!
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I'm with Hollinger
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Absolutely awesome. F anyone who disagrees! I will fight you...
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Cake good, Pie better.
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I love cake sooooooooooo o o o o o o o o o much!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Have any of you heard Cake's version of Black Sabbath's War Pigs? I think it's better than the original. Heavy and tight.
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I like Cake, gimmie a big corner piece with all that frosting, Love You Madly is a great song, puts angst in a dancing mood
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">generic hate comment I'm only posting to get a reaction out of"
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erikbalisi
⚪️⭕️⚪️ looooooooooo o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o n n n n n n n n n n h g g g g g g g g g g jacket
Report as inappropriate
dakota9928
LOL. Kkkkkkkkkkki u h y u k v h g j v g h v k u . IOP!'nnnnbnn m m mb
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locketsbyang
Love this band, I remember growing up listening to them. ♡
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I like pie better!!LOL�
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You should make another band called ice cream. The two would go great together!!LO L ! !
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toasted.tuna
������������
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I think there ok music wise but higher on the comedic lyrics ladder.
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Wilcobeckphi s h c a k e . . . . some of my favorites
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They May not be my Favorite band (which is Nirvana) but I can definitely see the creativity in Cake lol
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✌️❤️
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Most overrated band of all time.
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jonathan.sad o w s k y
They should tour with a band called Ice Cream. The two would be great together
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✌️❤️
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I'm more of a pie fellow myself.
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��
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Underated asf
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reluctantly crouched at the sTARTING LINE
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This cake gotta a lot of good songs like there style
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This is the best. Love cake.��
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What kind of cake?
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There aren't any "other artists" like cake. So effin' easy on the ears...so effin' hard to sing!
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!!!!
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i LOVE cake
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cake is love, cake is life, cake is food.
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I love your music is so good ��⚡️❤️⚡️
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Cake has been my favorite band since they began. I was mesmerized by Johns voice
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tomiaslynch
Nothing will ever be like cake
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i love comfort eagle
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Twja
Report as inappropriate
Cake is totally my favorite band of all time. As a trumpet player myself I love their use of trumpet in rock, a bold but clearly smart choice. Cake is a unique and awesome sounding rock band.
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��
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I hope your German chocolate or carrot cake
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cymon.was
Too bad that they play 18 other songs on the cake channel before even playing a cake song
Show more

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