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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, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Sick Of You (Radio Single)

Comments

swinkle100
F**king love this band
Yaw see that. Hog fly!? No!! Pigs don't fly the A102 will. Yep!!
the theme song to Chuck the TV show
I haven't found a song by then I haven't enjoyed
One of my favorite bands
It doesn't get much smoother than Cake. Every song is great by them I do believe so
joeytexas3
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least five songs in the next 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary because it actually works
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
Growing to love this band more and more.
Dessert for the mind
I love cake such a fun and random rock band
Isn't "short skirt/ long jacket" not new? It came on my "Today's Alternative radio" and it played a bunch of Black Keys songs too...very peculiar
These guys have been in my life ever since I was an infant, they are like family to me, AMAZING Band!!!!!! Also the group Sugar Ray, I HIGHLY recommend them
These guys have been in my life ever since I was born, they are like family like me
lol nick
@ Wally VonSchmuck get out
nicko252008
Listen to cake and eat it too!
wpicha16
red lightning
Read bio if you like follow
Follow
Can someone tell me who the self appointed critic of pandora is..?
best one note guitar solo ever
I ate a fashion nugget at McDonald s one time
What a great band!!
I would listen to this song all the time when I was younger so I memorized this song WORD BY WORD but now, I totally forgot about this song cuz that was so long ago
"DUDE...!"
Ever since '97, they have been an awesome ear worm for me. I have all their records and my 13 yr old loves them, especially Building a Religion.
Charles Carmichael approves this song.
Charles Carmichael approves ;this song.
very good i like pie better as in the food
As a trumpetist I love the use of it in there songs :)
posdepotgift c a r d s
Sweet......
QUALITY I CAN'T GO WITHOUT ! MR. MASTODON FARM IS BRILLIANT !!
I just freaking love this band, man! But like no one knows about them.
The melody lol
hmm I like em
I really just want to shake their hands for pushing culture out of the ditch and back on the grey matter highway. Stay calm and carry on nation.
Heck yes.!!
YUM YUM
Didn't know they do covers! Not bad! This is my hipster band, I bring them up and no one knows about them
Everybody loves cake!!
atodaro85
F**king defining band of my life time. Yeah different and not for the weak minded. Keep rocking Mr. Mcrea, this is the new American sound, not corporate or out for the money stance like so many f**got a** bands, yes f**got bands, that are out. Rebels founded this country... Ben folds, weezer, cake, death cab for cutie are paving the way for the 21st century white man. Blacks, gays, Spanish all have their own s**t. This music isn't racist or PC but real. Quit listening if you don't like. Play you
He's going the distance! One of the best songs on Fashion Nugget. Also good songs are Shift-sticks and safety belts, and I will survive. Love cake;)
One of the first songs I have heard by them! I almost crapped my pants! Amazing song!
This freaked me out This isn't fake. Apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry
This freaked me out This isn't fake. Apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If
They may be sardonic, but dammit I think they're funny as hell!
Fasion nugget. Comfort eagle. Weird album names
I was going to go the distance but ended up here. Very subtle and laid back delivery. This song Takes the Cake. I Will Survive..... . . . . . . . . . . {
I like "Short skirt/long jacket" better, but this one's pretty good.
omg yes Chris
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