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The Daily Tar Heel

Cake to Bring Flavor to Raleigh

Consider the pig on the cover of their third album, Prolonging the Magic.

"McDonald's will have an arch ... so we're sort of going along that line of thought with one simple image, and the pig just seemed to be a strong image at that point and that's how it made it on there," said Vince DiFiore, Cake's trumpeter and keyboardist. "And I think it's always been important for us to have an image that goes along with our name that's very much a non sequitur."

Perhaps non sequitur is the appropriate term to describe the essence of this Sacramento-based band. The eclectic five-man group, led by lyricist John McCrea on vocals and acoustic guitar, combines its rhythmic sound with ambiguously analytical language.

"Most of the lyrics are really an expression of John's love affair with life ... John's lover's quarrel with life," mused DiFiore.

Since McCrea's decision to start a band in the fall of 1991, Cake has been producing an irreverent alternative mix of every possible genre. In this same stylistically singular vein, the band released their fourth album, Comfort Eagle, last year.

DiFiore spoke of the new record as a leap in confidence and ability. Among the factors responsible for this advance, he cited the reliable, repetitive nature of their recording process.

"It's really similar to that 'Groundhog Day' movie where the person is faced with the same situation every day but learns how to make the situation better," he said.

Through a mix of funk, hip hop and rock inspired by James Brown, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams Jr. and AC/DC, Cake grooves on serious political issues and lighthearted fun alike, DiFiore said. The band takes an active interest in all things American and political, both in their albums and during their tours.

"You know, it's easy to have a lack of cultural context," DiFiore said. "Being an American, it's easy to be personally satisfied. There's a lot of good food and entertainment to be had, but it's easy to forget where your country came from and who you are as an individual because of wars that have been fought and immigration that has happened."

Thus, DiFiore said that he is using Cake's present tour, their first in a year and a half, to casually piece together American history. He intends to use this view from the road to gain a better sense of his identity.

Serious self-analysis, however, is not the band's sole focus.

On the contrary, DiFiore and the other members of Cake are ultimately geared toward a balance of introspection and oddball antics.

"We want to entertain and be thought provoking," said DiFiore. "We want people to realize the limitless potential of life and really to not get caught up in too much emotional turmoil. To lighten up a bit and take things seriously but not get too taken down by serious issues."

Cake will be performing at 8 p.m. Thursday at The Ritz in Raleigh.

The Arts & Entertainment Editor can be reached at

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