I have to admit, I’m not comfortable in strip clubs. Don’t get me wrong. I am as lecherous as the next 15-year old boy in 40-something-year old blubber. I just don’t understand the attraction. I don’t know these girls. I am not aroused by make believe. I prefer real life with it’s complications, awkwardness and imperfections. But I digress.
I was in Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club on Kearney Street in San Francisco. Don’t ask me why. It was on a dare. At least that is the story I’ve been sworn to. My companion, whom I shall call Wyant Ringwood, bought me a lap dance (I promise this is going somewhere). As “Crystal” pretended to be enthralled by me, she leaned in and whis-pered in my ear, “Dawn wants CAKE”.
I shook my head. Did she just? What the? Suddenly, everything melted away and I was standing in Mrs. Abbot’s 4th grade math class in my underwear and everyone was chanting “Dawn wants CAKE! Dawn wants CAKE”.
I awoke with my face stuck to my desk in the Elucidator Offices. Merv, the Intern was poking me with a pencil. “Dawn…” “wants CAKE. Yes, I heard. Thank you, Merv.”
What the hell did that mean? I’m pretty sure that My Editor Dawn, was not send-ing subliminal messages into my dreams in an effort to have me valet some Red Velvet to her. First, only Scott Harrington holds that kind of psychic sway over me. And Second, I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dawn eat dessert.
Oh, wait. CAKE. The band! Not the baked, frosted, occasionally celebratory food stuff. She meant the Alternative Rock band from the early 90’s who have had multiple gold and platinum albums and hits with such songs as “The Distance” and “Short Dress/Long Jacket”. The kind of CAKE that would be performing at the Levitt Pavillion on July 12th (which happens to be Heritage Day in Easton…). Dawn. Wants. CAKE. It all makes sense now…sort of.
Being an International Music Journalist, I have learned a few tricks. Okay. I actually lifted Dustin Schoof’s Rolodex (yes, I said Rolodex). It just so happened to have a phone number for CAKE.
“Merv! Get me CAKE…and some cake.” Merv entered my office with a forlorn look.
“Sweet Girls is closed…and the other CAKE said you have to email them.”
“Fine. Pour me some whiskey and close the door.”
Trumpet/Keyboard player and Vocalist Vincent DiFiore was kind enough to indulge me by A’ing some of my Q’s. Vince has been with CAKE since the beginning.
CL: To what do you ascribe the longevity of your music?
VD: The songs are solid. They have varied topics and melodies, and we take arrangements very seriously.
CL: Do you ever get nostalgic for the early days of your career now that you sit atop a pile of gold and platinum albums?
VD: The author Henry Miller said, “The thing to do is to become a master, and in your old age acquire the courage to do what children did when they knew nothing.” With experience, the moment is more enjoyable, and you can sense more of yourself being a part of it.
CL: Dig me some Henry Miller. I checked out his museum in Big Sur after hitting Larry Flynt….nevermind.
CL: Was there ever a moment where you looked around and thought “Holy shit, how did we get HERE?”
VD: Our career trajectory has been like a lobster in a pot, slowly coming to a boil. Nothing was ever too shocking, but before we knew it we were in the hot seat.
CL: You’ve played tiny clubs in Sacramento and The ACL Festival and just about every-thing else. What kind of venue do you prefer?
VD: Theaters are my favorite venue. The decor is always fascinating because these great rooms were usually built during the golden age of cinema.
CL: How would you characterize the current state of The Music Business? Any advice for the kids?
VD: There is more music to listen to than ever before. Breaking through all the internet noise out there seems nearly impossible, or perhaps random. One thing is for sure, if a band doesn’t have some level of local success, it will be hard to get further than that.
CL: My bass player Marty will be rushing from our gig at Easton’s Heritage Day to see you at the kick off of the Yuengling Summer Concert Series at the Levitt Pavillion on July 12. What can he expect?
VD: Marty can expect interesting bass lines played with great skill and grace, by the one and only Gabriel Nelson.
CL: When is the next album coming out?
VD: I wish I knew when the next album was coming out. My life would be much more manageable because it was predictable. I’m going to do my very best to get us there as quickly and safely as possible.
CL: Who are you currently listening to?
VD: It’s been a joy getting back into my vinyl collection, and I seem to be going to my The Who records the most. Talk about great bass playing. Busy as hell, but John Entwistle definitely got away with it.
CL: What would you have done if you hadn’t become a musician?
VD: I would have been a teacher and counselor.
CL: What is your favorite brand of shoes?
VD: I like the shoes that look the same as they did twenty years ago. I don’t understand all the bright colors on the new shoes. I prefer not to bring too much attention to my shoes.
I did a little dance. Who doesn’t love CAKE? I’m sure everyone who goes to see them will be in for a great show. Remember, CAKE was once a local band in the Bay Area. So get out there and find your own CAKE. You never know when your favorite local act will get that big push. But, it won’t happen if you don’t get out there and support them. Tell your favorite pubs to hire them. Buy their music. It’s your scene, too.
Me? I’m going to go back to Larry Flynt’s Hustler club. Wyant Ringwood and I have some Beaver Bucks left to spend. But I have to be back by Thursday because I’m hosting the open mic at Pearly’s on the first Thursday of the month. And there you have your shameless plug (not the first, and not the last, to be sure). Aside from CAKE, My Editor Dawn also wanted eleven hundred words. Done, and done.