Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alt-rock band hits 20 years, new record

By Anne Erickson

Coming up on its 20th anniversary, alternative rock group Cake will drop its sixth studio album, "Showroom of Compassion," on Jan. 11. It's the guys' first release since 2004's "Pressure Chief" and will come out on their own indie label, Upbeat Records. Produced and engineered by the band at their own solar-powered studio in Sacramento, Calif., the disc already has a Top 10 alternative hit in "Sick of You."

NOISE caught up with Vince DiFiore (trumpet/euphonium/keyboards) - who along with John McCrea (vocals), Xan McCurdy (guitar/synthesizer) and Gabriel Nelson (bass/guitar/rheem/bandalero) make up Cake - to talk about the group's new album.

NOISE: You're coming up on the 20th anniversary of Cake. Is that crazy to you?

DiFiore: It is. We started in the fall of '91. It seems about right, but it does go by fast, no matter what age you are. It makes certain things better. With this album coming out, I feel so much more cognizant of the process. I'm been through it before, so I'm much more aware of what it really means and how not to take it for granted.

NOISE: You have a new album coming out on Jan. 11, "Showroom of Compassion." Were you guys writing and recording during the 7-year break between albums?

DiFiore: We really never stopped being a band. We toured two and a half years on "Pressure Chief," and then after that, we slowed down our touring, got off our label and put out a b-sides and rarities record on our own. Then, we started making this album, and from the very first time we were introduced to these songs three years ago, they felt like they were something of value that deserved that sort of nurturing.

NOISE: The album's first single, "Sick of You," cracked the Top 10 in alternative almost immediately. Surprised?

DiFiore: I guess we had all hoped for that, and it was something we had seen in the past with songs like "Never There," "The Distance" and "Short Skirt, Long Jacket." We didn't assume that could happen again; but low and behold, it did. As the reality unfolds, it always seems a little surreal.

NOISE: What's the concept behind the album?

DiFiore: Ultimately, it's a collection of different songs, and it's an examination of what thrills and captivates us in real life. It's about the common experience in these exciting and marvelous times we're living in.

NOISE: Going back to, "Short Skirt, Long Jacket," did you ever think that song would become so legendary?

DiFiore: No. I guess it is, though. It's really had a resurgence, with it being on the Nano commercial and the theme for TV show, "Chuck." It was a great surprise.
Originally published by Gannett Media

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