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Episode 175

Nerdist Podcast

Cake

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Nerdist Podcast: Cake

Chris and Matt go to the Palladium to sit down with Cake’s John McCrea! They talk the politics of being a musician, how Cake came to be and being on the road. Make sure to listen until the end for a couple songs from the sound check.

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29 comments

  • Ive never been a huge cake fan, but I LOVE the music themed podcasts (being a musician myself). John had some great things to say. Its amazing hearing about what other artists think about how crazy the industry is now.

  • Before I listen to the rest of the show I gotta say this. I don’t know if she needs to know this but Katie’s been super awesome for the Podcast Producing stuff at Nerdist Industries. She’s been the best on Todd Glass Show and the little bits of her popping up sometimes on You Made It Weird, just adds something nice there. I’m sure she does more (tonnes more) in the background where we don’t hear her. Awesome work Katie if you somehow stumble to this. Cheers.

  • I worked with John back in stone-age, pre-Cake, UCLA days at Audio Visual Services (which was only 1/2 as geeky as it sounds). His view of music at the time was exactly what he said in the podcast regarding his future formation of Cake.

    He was super smart; always making me think and challenging my assumptions as a young naive college student, and he probably had no idea.

    Good to hear he’s still as sharp as ever, still making me think, and always been happy he did what he wanted and went out and just started making enjoyable music (mostly) his way.

    His perspectives on art and the business of art are dead on and should give all artist a lot to think about.

    Fun podcast.

  • First time commenter, Long time follower. First, Chris you were my favorite piece and only reason I watched Singled-Out! For awhile it was worth screaming Jenny McCarthy to hear your snark and watch stupid people not understand; unfortunately her huge mouth (no offense) just became too much. The other inspiration for this “little”note is to thank you for your most recent podcast. The clouds parted, the sun shined, and angels sang when I saw you were talking to Cake. I too was introduced to them through Fashion Nugget and I instantly fell in love. While I was from the grunge school I was also in 9th grade and looking for something to connect to. I love everything about Cake. To this day I sing random lyrics as I walk and drive around (I now listen to NPR or myself in the car). Every now and again they surface and I get a jolt to the heart that keeps me hopeful that all is not lost in the music world. Thank you for what you do Nerdist and Cake.

  • I remember when Cake came to Chicago for a show and their lead singer was a total diva bitch. He complained that there was some “diesel exhaust smell” while he was on stage, stopped in the middle of the set and refused to start playing again until it was gone. Needless to say, the audience was pissed.

  • @Chris C: I’m not really sure that’s “diva bitch” behavior. I’m sure from the audience it seems like the performers aren’t doing much but if you’re singing for 90 minutes straight, you are constantly breathing through your nose to do it. It’s more likely that he didn’t want to throw up from inhaling strong diesel fumes during the show than he was being shitty. I know it’s way more fun to write people off as dicks, but I can tell you from personal experience that John is a really nice guy and I can’t say I’d have done much differently in the same situation.

    Remember: Performers are not robots. They are made from the same human meat as you!

  • Enjoyed John’s thoughts on the music industry. Never been to any of those pirate sites but it doesn’t surprise me they would make money off of the music they give away for free. Then they portray all musicians as they have money to burn. The world is not a better place with 17% less musicians.

  • Hey guys, love this podcast. Love it when I don’t even know the guests. You and your team are amazing.

    Just to say the whole thing with Darwinism (and I am not about to start hating on you guys). I am not necessarily someone who believes evolution isn’t real or anything. I suppose I don’t really care that much. But my thing is, science must be observable (at least as I understand it) and that particular kind of macro evolution isn’t. I’d be open to seeing it happen. But the thing is as far as I know and I stopped caring 5 years ago, significant evidence for the suspiciously missing links is very lacking. Like people say oh there are these part monkey people, but then you go look up the percentage of the bones found for that one body is really low and open to reinterpretation on the rebuild. Or where is the half whale half dog body etc.

    I used to be a bit of a fundamentalist and a creationist. And while I am not any more, there were still a lot of valid questions posed by the material I had looked at. And scouring the internet didn’t find great answers.

    I often think of scientists a lot like doctors. They make some really big educated guesses sometimes (not all the time), you know that moment when doctors tell you take these pills, but if this happens try this pill instead. I’m thinking this guy is making the same kind of guesses I do about IT problems all the time. Superfreakanomics gave good input on this kind of thing.

    Blah, anyway I don’t care. But I am just saying there are other perspectives outside of just rejecting the idea because I lack intellect.

  • @Chris C One of the first times I saw Cake was in 2004 in boston, I remember John was so angry at half of the crowd for not being loud enough, he faced the other side of the crowd the entire time… I dont think he came off as a diva, it was more comedic and entertaining.

    He has strong convictions, also… if it was in 2005, they were promoting Pressure Chief, which has a single entitled, “Carbon Monoxide”… it would have been pretty hypocritical of him if he didnt address it…

  • What an enjoyable podcast. Growing up in Sacramento and having gone to high school with a few of the guys, I avoided them as a band so as not to seem like a groupy. I did come to enjoy them as I got older. John’s comments about the Sacramento music scene are spot-on. It’s always gone through periods of being pretty good and really shitty. Chris, thanks for your comments about the City of Oakland. I’ve lived in SF and the East Bay, and Oakland has a lot of great qualities, especially the people.

  • Long time listener, first time commenter. I usually love the show but this episode hit some of my button issues and it took me three sittings to get through it all.

    It’s always disappointing to hear musicians spout the RIAAs misinformation. His viewpoint is perfectly valid because it’s his viewpoint but the impartial evidence does not support him (though he does seem to fall into the unfortunate segment of the music industry that is least well served by the old music industry and takes least advantage of the new music industry so things are probably worse for him than for most). Check out the infographic here http://www.techdirt.com/skyisrising/ and the full report if you’re interested in the evidence.

    Related to his specific “17%” figure I couldn’t find the data to support or refute it from the information I could access. I did find that the difference in occupational employment of musicians and singers between May 2005 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/2005/may/oes272042.htm#nat) and May 2009 (http://www.bls.gov/oes/2009/may/oes272042.htm#nat) was a drop of only 3,150 jobs. This despite having been in recession since December 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late-2000s_recession and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_late_2000s_recession#December). How many other industries faired so well?

    The years are based on the data accessed via this page http://www.bls.gov/oes/oes_arch.htm where May 2009 is the most recent year available and May 2005 is the first year that the data is presented in a way that can be compared in this way (earlier years did not track musicians and singers as a separate value as far as I could see).

    Regarding his complaint that iTunes takes 30%, bricks and mortar retailers used to take 40% (based on figures via TuneCore http://blog.tunecore.com/2010/10/music-purchases-and-net-revenue-for-artists-are-up-gross-revenue-for-labels-is-down.html). i don’t see why the digital retailer taking 10% less than the high street retailer is a bad thing for him…?

    On evolution (no confrontational tone is intended). It’s both a fact and a scientific theory. Nich Hustler, here’s an experiment that has 14 years of data on evolutionary processes across over 50,000 generations of e. coli: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment (or http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/ directly). You can see evolution for yourself if you set up an experiment. The only reason you ‘can’t’ in ‘macro’ evolution is timescale (try breeding 50,000 generations of human beings in a lab environment and see how long it takes you) and ethical concerns but the evidence is all around you. Just look at the history of dog breeds for one. Oh, and there is no ‘missing link’ by the way, that is a reference to a pre-evolutionary theory of life called the Great Chain Of Being (from the 3rd century AD IIRC). It has nothing to do with Evolution.