Cake strikes up the band
Freeborn Hall1 Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
Cake’s latest album Showroom of Compassion hit No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, but the band isn’t afraid to tinker with a good thing. Recently, the band partnered with the United States Scholastic Band Association to invite high-school marching bands to participate in The Federal Funding March contest. The competition, which taps marching bands to reimagine Cake’s “Federal Funding” track as a playing-field anthem, gives the winning band the opportunity to appear in the band’s video for the song.
Cake trumpet player Vince Di Fiore, who wrote the music for the track, recently talked to the SN&R about its inspiration.
How did this competition come about?
We were in the studio making [Showroom of Compassion] and realized that the song [“Federal Funding”] sounded like a great marching-band arrangement—a band out on the field with all the brass and drums could really kill it. So I just went out and took out all the electric instruments and had some Sacramento musicians come in and lay down drums, saxophone, tuba and more trumpet … we turned it into a score.
How does the contest work?
Well, we got together with the United States Scholastic Band Association and offered free [music] charts to any high-school marching band that wants to play the song. They’ll submit entries, and we’ll pick the winner.
Did you play in the marching band in high school?
No, I missed out on that. I ran cross-country and track, but I always felt that I missed out. A friend of mine, he invited me to one of his band’s performances, and it was so cool. I loved the camaraderie of the musicians and the sound of the music—it was all so totally impactful; there was something very special about it.
What was the recording process like for Showroom of Compassion? You recorded it using solar power—did that have any impact on the process?
We recorded it in the same place where … we recorded [2004’s] Pressure Chief, but we didn’t have the solar panels then. There was a learning curve, but we had a couple of dogs in the studio and that helped. You’ve got dander and poop in the backyard, and that diffuses [any stress]. You look at a dog and that stress goes away, because you remember you’re a dog, too.
What is the dynamic like in the studio—all those different personalities working together in close quarters for extended periods of time?
You have to give each other’s personalities a wide berth; there are going to be idiosyncrasies … so it’s just better to ride along for the occasion and think about if you have something to offer that’s going to add to the situation and not take away from it. It’s like that improvisational thing—you should always say yes, don’t just turn away and knock it down. If you don’t like something, then just accept it and move on to the next thing.