The kings of off-kilter, dumb-in-the-smartest-possible-way alternative rock Cake stands among the likes of the B-52s, Ween and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — bands whose goofiness belies a beating human heart, whose music garners a fervently devoted fan base willing to dig past the slapstick.
Counting himself among those most devout fans is Daniel Jordan, member of Red Moon Road and frontman of Pie, the Cake tribute band performing their annual holiday show at the Handsome Daughter Dec. 13 and 14.
The possibilities for bad wordplay are near endless, but Jordan perhaps puts it best —“You can have your cake and hear it too.”
These holiday performances, which include a custom Cake-ology cake, have become something of a Christmas custom for Pie, a chance to come together with like-minded music fans.
Jordan — billed as both “vocals and cake distribution” — said the show has become “part of my holiday tradition.”
“And I’m hoping it does for other people, because it has nothing to do with the holidays, clearly, but it feels like a celebration and kind of brings up some of those same warm fuzzies, for me anyways.”
The band — comprised of members of Royal Canoe, Red Moon Road, The F-Holes, Little Miss Higgins, Sweet Alibi and JD Edwards Band — came together about nine years ago, bonded by a genuine love for a sometimes-genuine band.
“I’d say that everybody in the band has their own story and their own love affair with the band Cake,” Jordan said.
Jordan’s personal love for Cake began as a kid coming into his own as a musician — so saying “Yes” to fronting a tribute act was a no-brainer.
“Fashion Nugget was one of the five albums that I learned how to play drums to when I was younger, so I just knew Cake,” he said.
Knowing Cake, as Jordan explained, means having a deep understanding of Cake’s music.
The members of Pie pride themselves on their ability to recreate these songs to a T, including bells and whistles not typically found in live versions.
This year’s first performance will see the band playing Cake’s fan-favourite sophomore album, Fashion Nugget, in its entirety.
“We have more members in Pie than Cake does, so we’re able to do all the overdubs from the album, and we have samples running and stuff like that,” Jordan said. “We take it a little too seriously I’d say.”
Pie’s dedication to particulars is borne partly from their own love for the songs, but is also — crucially — in service to a passionate and diverse fan base.
“It’s pretty amazing,” Jordan said. “It’s one of the very few shows I do where I look around the room and there’s no unifying factor between age or status or class or anything like that, beyond the love of the band.”
After nearly a decade of playing Cake songs, Jordan said he still hasn’t grown tired of it.
“It’s an absolute blast to sing them on stage,” he said, because “everybody knows them and they sing along with you.”
He added that “after all this time I’m still finding new Cake songs to appreciate.”
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Jordan was more or less made to interpret John McCrea’s brand of wry speak-singing.
“That’s the only band I could ever be a lead singer for,” he said.
“It’s talking in sarcastic monotone, which is something I’ve done a lot of.”