Eco-friendly, rock ’n’ roll lifestyle

Sacramento legends Cake get behind grassroots effort to save the Delta

The guys from Cake, very eco-chic.

The guys from Cake, very eco-chic.

Dan Bacher is the editor of the Elk Grove-based Fish Sniffer magazine and a longtime advocate for fishery restoration in California and the West.
Cake will perform two homecoming shows-in Davis-in early October.
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The Sacramento region’s most popular alternative-rock band, the legendary Cake, officially announced its support on September 7, of Restore the Delta’s campaign to protect the estuary from state and federal plans to divert more water.

“Although we are only a rock band,” began lead singer John McCrea in a written message, “Cake is very concerned about the health of the largest estuary on the Pacific Coast of both North and South America—the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.”

McCrea noted that, having grown up in the city, where the Sacramento and American rivers meet, the band has “witnessed the slow destruction of once-thriving ecosystems.”

“We know there needs to be grassroots commitment to making the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta fishable, swimmable, drinkable, and farmable,” McCrea urged. “Without this kind of advocacy, we believe it is highly likely that California will lose forever this amazing natural resource.”

“Restore the Delta is moving to spread the word about why everyone in California should be on board to protect the Delta for future generations,” said Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta. “We are proud to announce that our local, national and internationally acclaimed favorite band Cake has joined the cause.”

Going forward, Cake will partner and work with Restore the Delta, which includes residents, business and faith-based leaders, unions, local farmers and fishermen, environmentalists and more, to strengthen and preserve the economic and ecological well-being of the Delta communities.

Currently, Open Ocean Productions is completing a documentary on the story of the Detla, one told by people who work and live in the region. “While the perennial fight over water in California has produced plenty of information about the concerns of corporate agribusiness, the stories of the Delta fishing and farming communities have been largely ignored,” Cake’s McCrea explained, adding that the band “looks forward to the completion of this documentary because it finally gives the people of the Delta a chance to tell their stories.”

The band, which consists of still local residents and out-of-towners—including singer McCrea, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, guitarist Xan McCurdy, bassist Gabe Nelson and drummer Paulo Baldi—has been noted for McCrea’s sarcastic lyrics and deadpan voice, DiFiore’s inimitable trumpet lines, and eclectic musical influences, such as country, Mariachi, rock, funk, Iranian folk and hip-hop.

Cake’s endorsement comes less than two weeks after a fundraiser for Restore the Delta last month. The Restore the Delta Benefit raised more than $640,000 for the organization to continue advocacy work. The band’s endorsement also comes at a time when federal and state officials are fast-tracking plans to build a peripheral canal through the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, initiated during the Schwarzenegger administration. A broad coalition is opposed to the canal, because they argue it would result in the extinction of Central Valley steelhead, Sacramento River chinook salmon, Delta smelt, longfin smelt, green sturgeon, Sacramento splittail and other imperiled fish species.

The BDCP intends to remove vast tracts of Delta farmland, some of the most fertile and productive on the planet, in order to deliver water to the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Farmers and activists say this is a waste of good farm land and water.

Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown and Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird authorized the export of record levels of water to agri-businesses and Southern California, which killed an estimated 9 million Sacramento splittail and hundreds of thousands of striped bass, Central Valley chinook salmon, steelhead, threadfin shad and other species in the state and federal Delta pumping facilities.