Cake (stylized CAKE) is an American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California, consisting of singer John McCrea, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, guitarist Xan McCurdy, bassist Daniel McCallum and drummer Todd Roper. The band has been noted for McCrea’s sarcastic lyrics and monotone vocals, and their wide-ranging musical influences, including country music, Mariachi, rock, funk, Iranian folk music and hip hop.
Cake was formed in 1991 by McCrea, DiFiore, Greg Brown (guitar), Frank French (drums) and Shon Meckfessel (bass), who soon left and was replaced by Gabe Nelson. Following the self-release of its debut album, Motorcade of Generosity, the band was signed to Capricorn Records in 1995 and released its first single, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Lifestyle”, which hit number 35 on the Modern Rock Tracks music chart and was featured on MTV’s 120 Minutes; French and Nelson then left the band, and were replaced by Todd Roper and Victor Damiani. Cake’s second album, 1996’s Fashion Nugget, went platinum on the strength of its lead single, “The Distance”. Following a tour of Europe and the United States, both Brown and Damiani announced they were leaving Cake, which led to speculation about the band’s future; McCrea eventually recruited Xan McCurdy to take over on guitar, and persuaded Nelson to return.
Prolonging the Magic, the band’s third album, was released in 1998 and went platinum, having shipped over one million units; this was followed three years later by Comfort Eagle, the band’s first album on Columbia Records, featuring the single “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” which hit number 7 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. Following a series of tours, including several versions of the Unlimited Sunshine Tour, the band released Pressure Chief in 2004, its second and last album on Columbia. After creating its own label, Upbeat Records, the band released Showroom of Compassion in 2011, which became its first album to debut at the top of the Billboard charts, selling 44,000 copies in the first week after release.
Influences and musical style
Cake incorporates a wide range of genres into its music, including country music, mariachi, new wave, college rock, jazz, funk, Iranian folk music, Brazilian music and hip hop. McCrea himself cites Hank Williams, Tom Zé, the Golden Gate Quartet and Sly and the Family Stone as particular influences.
The band is most often noted for three things: the prominence of DiFiore’s trumpet lines, McCrea’s ironic, sarcastic lyrics, and his “droll, deadpan … monotone” vocals. DiFiore’s trumpet work originated with McCrea’s desire for a second melodic instrument to go with a song he had written; “A lead guitar playing those lines would have been really hokey. I like it when it’s a contrapuntal thing, where the guitar is doing one melody, the vocal is doing another melody, and the trumpet plays this third melody. If the music can be transparent enough, you can hear all three at the same time”.
- John McCrea – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, organ, vibraslap (1991–present)
- Vince DiFiore – trumpet, keyboards, melodica, auxiliary percussion, background vocals (1991–present)
- Todd Roper – drums, background vocals (1994–2001, 2016–present)
- Xan McCurdy – lead guitar, background vocals (1997–present)
- Daniel McCallum – bass, background vocals (2016–present)
- Casey Lipka – bass, background vocals (2016–2018)
- Gabe Nelson – bass, background vocals (1992–1994, 1997–2015)
- Paulo Baldi – drums, percussion, background vocals (2004–2015)
- Shon Meckfessel – bass, background vocals (1991)
- Frank French – drums, background vocals (1991–1994)
- Greg Brown – lead guitar, organ, background vocals (1991–1997)
- Victor Damiani – bass, background vocals (1994–1997)
- Pete McNeal – drums, background vocals (2001–2004)
- Montgomery, James (August 2, 2001). “Cake man talks about economic importance of short skirts”. UWIRE.
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- Hopewell, Deb (September 20, 1996). “Cake Gets a Taste of Success”. San Jose Mercury News. MediaNews Group.
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- Snyder, Michael (January 8, 1995). “Cake Gets a Sweet Deal”. The San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Corporation.
- Henry, Craig (August 17, 2001). “Let them hear Cake”. UWIRE.
- Brown, G. (December 14, 2001). “Cake recipe mixes diverse elements Leader McRea goes own way in songwriting”. The Denver Post. MediaNews Group.
- thebandcake (October 23, 2018), CAKE | Age of Aquarius (coming soon trailer), retrieved November 23, 2018
- Sullivan, James (June 24, 2011). “Train leads music award balloting / Cake, SmashMouth, Weezer also do well”. The San Francisco Chronicle.
- “MTV Video Music Awards”. MTV.com. 2002. Retrieved February 15, 2013.