The S+V Interview: John McCrea of Cake Page 2


You're probably making most of your bones on the road at this point.
The problem with arenas: they diminish the quality of the live experience - not just for the band but for the audience as well. They're just TOO big. I'm sure technology can eventually conquer that. But it's like watching a band on TV when you're looking at a screen like that.

We started out in very small clubs, and every now and then we'll play a small club like the Blue Lamp in Sacramento and let our fans know about it through our mailing list. We charge 10 dollars, more like we used to do it. It's respect for the way it used to be, how we all originally "liked" music in the smaller experience.

You've reissued one LP from your past [their 1994 debut, Motorcade of Generosity]. Will more Cake records come out on your Upbeat label?
As much as possible. There's a lot of red tape. Basically, our first album was released on our own label, and then we signed with Capricorn, and they licensed it from us, so we were able to get that one back. But Capricorn was bought by Mercury, then Universal got disemboweled, and it was a big mess. And now Sony controls some of our albums and we can't get them back, and it's hard to deal with them. We'd like to do some stuff with vinyl - like a boxed set of all of our records. And we're trying to negotiate that with them, but they're not easy to deal with.

Some groups re-record their own material and then put it out themselves. Would you do something like that?
It may come to that. I'd rather be able to find some way forward with the original recordings. It's not totally off the table, but it's not exactly on the table either. We're trying to put it on the table. But it's hard even getting phone calls returned. That's why we have our own label now. It's as empowering as it is daunting. And it definitely feels like we're driving the car now.

You can put out whatever you want whenever you want.
That's right. It's nice to know somebody else's calendar isn't going to adversely affect our calendar.