CAKE formed in Sacramento, California in 1991. The band quickly became a hot item in the downtown club and cafe scene, then went on to gain a steady following in San Francisco's Bay Area. Lead singer John McCrea's unwitting amalgam of Jonathan Richman, David Byrne, and Woody Guthrie, backed by CAKE's shambling countrified funk, took Northern California by storm. To date, CAKE has toured extensively throughout the world including North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Japan.
After releasing their first album, Motorcade of Generosity independently, the band signed with Capricorn Records in 1994. The song "Rock and Roll Lifestyle" became the band's first radio hit. The song’s lyrics were notable for the insightful observations into the foolishness of rock conventions. Other CAKE hits have included the tightly wrought lament "The Distance", another radio stand-out "Never There", "Sheep Go to Heaven", "No Phone", "Short Skirt/Long Jacket", and an unconventional remake of Gloria Gaynor's disco classic "I Will Survive". The band has recorded and released five studio albums via Capricorn and Columbia Records from the early 90's through the present day, with each one exhibiting uncommon creative consistency and breadth.
Although CAKE's music is often classified as "alternative" or "indie" rock, the band combines multiple musical genres, such as funk, soul, pop, jazz, rap, and country. CAKE's music features lyrics rife with word play and syncopation, catchy distorted guitar riffs, and a solo trumpet. The band has a notably unique approach to arrangement, composition, and instrumentation.
CAKE's most recent studio album (their fifth), Pressure Chief, was released in October 2004. This album marked the band's return to their earlier more self-reliant DIY aesthetic in which they recorded and engineered their music independently. Songwriter John McCrea, often controversial and iconoclastic, discussed this album with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air in February 2005. The band continues to make ground on their sixth studio album, which is tentatively scheduled for a first quarter 2008 release.
CAKE is also known for establishing and headlining their Unlimited Sunshine Tour, a festival designed for audiences that are willing to think twice about what they hear. The eclectic ensemble of bands that have performed within the three installments of this festival over the years includes Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, De La Soul, Latin techno-fusion band Kinky, bluegrass group The Hackensaw Boys, Cheap Trick, country singer Charlie Louvin, The Detroit Cobras, Tegan and Sara, and Gogol Bordello. CAKE looks forward to hosting another Unlimited Sunshine Tour during late 2007, emphasizing music of quality and diversity.
After completing a successful two-year Pressure Chief world tour, CAKE decided to part ways with Columbia Records on their own accord. Because of rapidly changing trends in the music industry, the band made the decision to record and release music entirely on their own terms. This last year has seen the creation of their own label, Upbeat Records with a full slate of planned CAKE releases.
As the band continues work on their next studio album, they have announced that two new albums will be released during 2007-2008 through Upbeat Records: b-sides and rarities (October 2007), which features Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" and Barry White's "Never, Never Gonna Give You Up", plus other covers and CAKE originals. The limited edition "scratch and sniff" album art and appeal of the recordings to long-time-listeners adds to the b-sides and rarities album's uniqueness, and "Live at the Crystal Palace" (2008).
The band's website, cakemusic.com, is an active place on the Internet, featuring direct interaction with CAKE listeners from around the world. The band invites the visitors to vote on antagonistic poll questions, take links to meaningful news items, and write in to the band for advice. An on-line store front, listener discussion forums, and music and touring information are also available.