Founded by John McCrea in 1991, Cake started out modestly in Sacramento, California with a talented group of musicians and a dream of making it big. McCrea led the band with vocals and guitar and was backed up by Frank French on drums, Greg Brown on guitar, Vincent di Fiore with trumpet and vocals, and Sean McFessel playing bass. McFessel was soon replaced by Gabriel Nelson.
Cake released their first album in 1993. It was a self-produced CD called Motorcade of Generosity that was distributed without the backing of a major label. Capricorn Records was taken by the band's unique style and signed them to a record deal shortly after the release of their debut album. Directly following the record deal, French and Nelson were replaced by Todd Roper and Victor Damiani. Though the band's line-up may have changed, their free-spirited rock did not.
Cake first made it into the public eye in 1995 when a single from their self-produced album hit the rock charts. 'Rock N' Roll Lifestyle' wowed music lovers with its witty lyrics and catchy beat. Cake gained a small group of fans with their first hit single, but their popularity grew as their other alternative rock based songs (also with influences of artists like Hank Williams and George Jones) were heard by a larger audience. Cake's music not only included a country flair, but elements of folk, funk, soul, and hip hop were also present in their unique fusion rock. With their growing popularity, Cake decided to release a second album titled Fashion Nugget. Along with original works like 'The Distance' the album included covers of old favorites. Willie Nelson's 'Sad Songs and Waltzes' was revived by Cake's able hands and Donna Summer's 'I Will Survive' was given a funky new twist, much to the delight of Cake fans.
The band had another change of cast in 1997 when Nelson returned to his original post, replacing Damiani. Brown left the band in 1998 while the band was recording their third album, titled Prolonging the Magic. The single 'Never There' was greeted with much fanfare by fans and critics alike and is probably the band's most popular single to date. Xan McCurdy became Cake's new guitarist after the album was released. Cake toured to promote their albums, opening for bands like Counting Crows and Cherry Poppin' Daddies. They earned a more diverse group of fans through their touring; album sales reflected their success.
Cake's music continued to thrill fans, and by 2001 they were chomping at the bit to hear the band's new album Comfort Eagle. They were not disappointed. The album included catchy singles like 'Love You Madly', 'Long Line of Cars', and 'Short Skirt/Long Jacket'; the latter of which received intensive radio play. Also in 2001, Cake's abilities were recognized by the press at the California Music Awards. Lead singer John McCrea was nominated for outstanding songwriter. The band was also nominated for outstanding group, outstanding modern rock-alternative album for Comfort Eagle, outstanding single for 'Short Skirt/Long Jacket', and outstanding album. In 2002 Cake launched an alternative-alternative Rock Festival titled the Unlimited Sunshine tour. They were joined by the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse, Kinky, and De La Soul on the national tour.