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John McCrea performing with CAKE in Atlanta, Georgia in 2006
Background information
Origin Sacramento, California, USA
Genres Alternative rock, college rock
Years active 1991 – Present
Labels Sony BMG, Capricorn, Columbia, Upbeat
Associated acts Deathray
John McCrea
Vince DiFiore
Xan McCurdy
Gabe Nelson
Paulo Baldi
Former members
Greg Brown
Victor Damiani
Shon Meckfessel
Pete McNeal
Todd Roper
Frank French

Cake (officially capitalized "CAKE"[1]) is an American indie band from Sacramento, California.



Cake was formed in 1991 by vocalist/songwriter John McCrea, guitarist Greg Brown, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, bassist Shon Meckfessel and drummer Frank French. Shon Meckfessel soon left and was replaced by Gabe Nelson. In 1993, the band released its debut single, "Rock 'n' Roll Lifestyle." Although self-released, the single managed to hit number 31 on the US Modern Rock Tracks. After the moderate radio success of their first single, Cake released their debut album entitled Motorcade of Generosity. Eventually, Cake signed a deal with Capricorn Records, who in turn released the album nationally on February 7, 1994. Some time after this deal Gabe Nelson and Frank French left the band.

On September 17, 1996, Cake released their second album, Fashion Nugget. The album produced the radio gem "The Distance," which "dominated alternative radio that fall".[2] The next single released from Fashion Nugget was a cover of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive".

Cake released their third studio album, Prolonging the Magic, on October 6, 1998. This album contained the hit single "Never There" which reached number 1 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks.

On July 24, 2001, Cake released their fourth full-length album entitled Comfort Eagle. This was Cake's first release under Columbia records. The lead single "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" was a major hit on alternative radio stations, climbing to number 7 on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks, and is now the theme song to Chuck.

Cake's fifth album, Pressure Chief, was released on October 5, 2004. It contained the moderately successful singles "No Phone" and a cover of the Bread song "The Guitar Man."

In 2006 Cake announced Live at the Crystal Palace, the band's first live album. The album was delayed to 2007 and then 2008 before the band announced that they currently don't have plans to release it.

Cake released a compilation, B-Sides and Rarities, on October 2, 2007. It features covers of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up," Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," and Piero Umiliani's "Mahna Mahna," as well as live versions of Cake songs "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" and "It's Coming Down". Rarities is the band's first album on its own label, Upbeat Records.

In 2008 the band removed their studio (Upbeat Studio) from dependence on Sacramento, California's power grid by installing a system of solar panels. The band subsequently announced that their upcoming studio album will be "recorded using 100% solar energy." [3]

A new studio album is currently in the works, due to be released in 2010. Currently untitled, John McCrea describes the album's sound as "very different" from previous Cake records, also indicating that he will be playing piano much more than usual.[4] The album will be released on Upbeat Records.[5]

Member changes

Damiani left the band in 1997, replaced by Gabe Nelson. Greg Brown left in 1998, replaced by Xan McCurdy. Brown and Damiani continued to work together when they formed the band Deathray. Todd Roper left the band to focus on parenthood after recording Comfort Eagle, and subsequently also joined Deathray, before the group disbanded in 2007. Drummer Paulo Baldi joined Cake in 2003 during the second "Unlimited Sunshine Tour". (See Band Lineup for more)

Musical style

Although Cake's music is often classified as alternative rock or indie rock, it combines multiple musical genres, such as funk, rockabilly, pop, jazz, rap, and country. Cake's music features droll lyrics rife with word play and syncopation, catchy distorted guitar riffs (courtesy of guitarist Greg Brown until 1998, and bass player Victor Damiani until 1997), prominent use of a Moog, and a solo trumpet (played by Vince DiFiore).


Cake headlined the Unlimited Sunshine Tour festival in the summer of 2002 among an eclectic ensemble of bands including Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, De La Soul, Latin techno fusion band Kinky and bluegrass group The Hackensaw Boys. Cake brought back the tour in 2003 with Cheap Trick, country singer Charlie Louvin, garage rockers The Detroit Cobras and a return performance from The Hackensaw Boys. The tour returned in 2007 with the Brazilian Girls on the East Coast dates, return of The Detroit Cobras for the West Coast dates, and Oakley Hall, Agent Ribbons and King City for all the shows.

Band lineup

  • John McCrea - lead vocals, acoustic guitar, organ, vibraslap
  • Vince DiFiore - trumpet, keyboards, percussion
  • Xan McCurdy - electric guitar (joined after Prolonging the Magic)
  • Gabe Nelson - bass guitar (left after Motorcade of Generosity, replaced by Damiani; rejoined before Prolonging the Magic)
  • Paulo Baldi - drums, percussion (started as touring drummer in 2004, and joined full-time for Pressure Chief tour after drumming on two tracks on Pressure Chief)

Former Members:

  • Greg Brown - electric guitar (1991-1998)
  • Shon Meckfessel - bass guitar (1991)
  • Victor Damiani - bass guitar (1994-1997)
  • Frank French - drums, percussion (1991-1994)
  • Todd Roper - drums, percussion (1994-2001)
  • Pete McNeal - drums, percussion (2001-2004)
  • Andrew Griffin - drums (substituted for Paulo Baldi due to schedule conflicts on 2007 for European tour)


Studio albums

Compilation albums

Live albums

Appearances in other media


External links

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