There’s just nothing rebellious, as far as I’m concerned, about a leather jacket. Now what about Cake fans? You’d recognize his voice from CAKE songs “Short Skirt/Long Jacket” and “The Distance.” With a new single in the works, McCrea has plenty to keep him busy before CAKE heads back on tour next month. Get the latest on music, Milwaukee and events sent right to your inbox! I don’t know if there’s shared values because there are people all over the map. STEREOGUM: What can you tell me about your new song, “Sinking Ship”? With the massive success of CAKE’s ’90s singles, to what extent have you seen some extra income via streaming services? STEREOGUM: Do you have an album release date in mind at the moment? The quirky, sardonic, half-spoken/half-sung vibe of Cake’s music extends far beyond their recorded material. About ten years or so later I just happened to be walking in that part of town for some reason and walked by the tree that I planted when it was about three feet tall… and it was about twenty-five or thirty feet tall. Cake’s front man John McCrea, the voice and face of much of this activity, sat down with HeadCount to discuss how he tries to infuse a sense of populism in his communication with fans, and the various reactions that invokes. You have to have a job that’ll let you tour all the time. Register to vote, sign up for our issue eNewsletters, or take the “Who are We?” survey. I think that’s amazing. HeadCount provides voter registration assistance on a strictly nonpartisan basis to any U.S. citizen age 18 or over without regard to political affiliation, race, religion, or age. John McCrea (born October 10, 1992). Well, here’s why they’re disaffected. I’ve got dozens of songs going at once. John McCrea on how the ‘Tao Te Ching’ is influencing CAKE’s new album. To address this “strategic evil,” McCrea again turns to “, : “In the Tao, you are your thoughts, and the process is the goal. I think as things have become more of an emergency, I’ve realized that that was a luxury that I don’t feel like we can afford anymore. We were able to release “Sinking Ship” rather quickly in that way. So if your process isn’t clean, then that’s all you are, that’s all you get.”. I caught up with John McCrea over the phone while he was “taking a break” with his family in Marin County, California. And we posted that article and a lot of Republicans got really furious with that while a lot of people said “thank you for posting that, it was interesting.” But for most people, I guess it didn’t really look good to be bringing back the Styrofoam cup. Our culture as a band was very “do it yourself” – very interactive from the very beginning. MCCREA: I think you read these news stories once in a while, like, “Oh, the Korean pop star had four billion plays of their song and got maybe a couple thousand dollars.” It’s like that. We’ve never done a TV ad, you know, for a product. When we did play shows, it seemed like a good evening of music in which the whole was more than the sum of its parts,” McCrea says. MCCREA: Rebecca Solnit, a feminist writer who I enjoy, said back in 2016, “Voting is a chess move, not a Valentine.” I think that’s really key for the left to understand that it’s not about your individuality or your self-expression. I guess a lot of people still watch television. But it’s scary for us when people threaten to take away our livelihood… not that it’s enough people to actually close us down. Since 1991, it’s been gumming up the works with a hybrid confection of musical styles. For me that’s the key issue. STEREOGUM: As a band that got its start pre-internet, how else do you see technology as beneficial to the music industry? And there is something really exciting when a lot of people are all doing something together. Was that career changing just in the short term? Ben Folds will join the band on tour. Everything is more about balance than any sort of our short-term objectives. You know, as long as we’re talking politics, I’d love to know at what point you decided to use CAKE as a platform to raise awareness? You’ve licensed Short Skirt Long Jacket to Apple for an iPod Nano commercial. They try to work it out into their early adulthood to find a more secure emotional space for themselves, but ultimately I think that’s a fucking luxury right now. Like [are] we supposed to release albums or singles or just maybe play live? You know, a good time is actually a bad time about to happen. HeadCount does not endorse, support or coordinate with any political party or candidates for elected office, or take positions on any ballot initiatives. I think most artists wouldn’t mind recorded music being free as long as no one was getting paid for that music. We set up tables at the concerts to register voters and bring some information and socially conscious conversation to the shows. Happily, Democrats have recovered the House, but there’s a lot more work left to do. STEREOGUM: Yeah, at what point did you start writing this collection of songs? [Ed. MCCREA: That’s the way I really feel. It’s frustrating for me, I guess. It’s not a gritty sort of subversive thing – it’s actually a sort of coddled pudgy thing. To tune out like that – it’s sort of like the housewife in the 60’s on valium or something. My wife and I had kids. We started in 2004; just some music fans and musicians getting together and saying “let’s make sure that people are getting out to the polls.” We were kind of inspired by a Hunter S. Thompson quote that said “If every Deadhead in Florida had voted the world would be a different place.” Our basic model is we have volunteers in every major city. But we have new gatekeepers: the giant multi-billion dollar companies that rule the internet. Right. As big labels struggle, it’s not something we want to be strapped onto – that huge sinking ship. But that’s yesterday’s CAKE. McCrea allows that CAKE is working on new material, but there are no specifics just yet. We started out by discussing what he’s been working on lately: songwriting and finishing up a new 45-inch vinyl release. I think a lot of us are kind of just pinballing from processing horrible news cycles to feeling emboldened by small moments of redemption. Years and years went by, and because the band was getting more and more successful, I wasn’t home at all and I moved away. Yeah, we got a lot of complaints all the time, every day. There are Cake fans that threaten us that if we post one more non-music related story on our website or Facebook site they will never buy our music again – they will only steal our music. I finish it when I feel like finishing it.