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Devil's food cake

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Over the weekend I attended a dance recital in Midwest City and one of the routines that got my attention (or at least had me doing air drums in my seat) was one utilizing a racing theme set to the Cake song “The Distance.”

The dance routine was okay. But the music was great. A friend sitting behind me was very excited to hear the song as well, saying: “Man, I have that Cake album!”

One of my favorite lines, amidst that driving bass, is the following: “No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine / He’s haunted by something he cannot define / Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse / Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force …

Cake (stylized as CAKE), first made an impression on me with “The Distance” back in the autumn of 1996, although the earlier "Rock n' Roll Lifestyle" captured the zeitgeist of the times. "The Distance" video was interesting in that the Sacramento, California-based band featured the accompanying video as the group playing somewhere inS an Francisco as a well-dressed business man in a suit suddenly bolts out of his office building and “goes the distance,” as it were. He runs through the city, through the countryside and heads west, all the way to the ocean, where he keeps going – ultimately disappearing beneath the waves of the Pacific Ocean.

This after passing numerous "people" dressed in animal costumes. And at the magical 2:37 mark, said man throws a martini in his face like a runner splashing water in their face during a long-distance run. We get it. We think ...

This man is going "the distance" in the 1996 Cake video of the same name. (Capricorn Records)

While it’s got a 90’s rock groove like no other, “The Distance” is clearly a sad song. One of longing for a woman, a woman “for whom he still burns.

This, after not one, but TWO posts here at Red Dirt Report noting a "cake" theme. The first, being "Cake in the rain." Yes, a cake was left out in the rain and really hit me upside the head.

The second was my Prairie Opinions post, political in nature, but called "Cake on fire! (Let it bleed)." Yes, there was another Rolling Stones reference, since the Stones keep popping up in my dreams, in media and in daily conversation. 

And then we learn today that the US Supreme Court ruled on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case and an anti-gay baker refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple. Was all this cake talk and cake walk and cake hullaballoo leading up to this SCOTUS ruling? It does seem odd in light of my recent posts and this being the top story of the day.

Writing at The Daily Beast, writer Jay Michaelson asks: "Is cake speech?" A fine question, sir. Let them eat cake! Michaelson added: "We still don't know" the answer to that question after the murky ruling.

So, hearing that Cake song only reinforced a decidedly strong “cake” theme that I’ve been experiencing of late.

(Know Your Meme)

But a day or so before hearing “The Distance” at the dance recital, I was researching another Cake song, one called “Satan is My Motor.” It's on their 1998 Prolonging the Magic album, which featured the hit "Never There" and the song "Sheep Go to Heaven," with the chorus: "Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell." In the South Park-like animated music video, the band is dressed as a KISS-like cover band (Knights in Satan's Service is what kids in my neighborhood growing up said KISS stood for - more "Satanic Panic" stuff from that spooky era). 

As "Sheep Go to Heaven" progresses, a disturbed, lonely white "incel"-like guy with a poodle is watching TV and becomes enraged that he doesn't have all the things - material goods, fun adventures, beautiful women - so, the crazed guy (like the recent "incel" massacre in Toronto a few weeks ago) goes to the sports bar where Cake-as-KISS-or-KICKS is playing their show and he massacres the band and the audience with a machete. As Cake singer John McCrea might say: "Killing people is rude."

The incel-esque guy is found guilty of mass murder and is sent to the electric chair, where he dies and goes to hell, while Cake and the people in the bar go to heaven.

What's weird, is that while watching this 20-year-old video I was thinking that Cake, with their God vs. Satan lyrical observations, it seems as though they anticipated our current times of violence and a battle between good and evil really ramping up and people taking sides, it would seem. It's really eerie. 

In fact, check out this August 2004 Livejournal post titled "Cake is the Devil," where the author suggests that there is far more depth to Cake's songs than I first realized, writing: "The lead singer of Cake is, in reality, Lucifer. My friend Dave and I deduced this by analyzing the lyrics to their songs. Surprisingly many, if not most, of Cake's songs are written about the relationship between God and the Devil. "

One other thing is that Cake was signed to Capricorn Records, in the second incarnation of the Georgia-based record label. Brings to mind some Capricorn-themed sync posts over the years, including "Nobody does it better" and "Capricorn run." Capricorn, in the sign of the zodiac, is essentially a "fish-goat" hybrid. Of interest in these merfolk-friendly times of ours.

Goats, eh?

MOVES LIKE JAGGER

Been getting a goat vibe of late (via both The Secret Sun and The Cult, who have a song called "G O A T" - I just interviewed singer Ian Astbury here), with my recent sync piece, "Stone soup," linked to the Rolling Stones song "Angie," from 1973's Goat's Head Soup, and a story out of suburban Boston, Massachusetts last week where a woman reported finding a goat's head on her car windshield. The area where the goat's head incident took place was in the large immigrant community in Hyde Park.

Hyde Park is the same name of the park in London where the Rolling Stones held a big concert just a few days after founding member Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool under mysterious circumstances. This was at Cotchford Farm, the former home of Winnie-the-Pooh author A.A. Milne. That was all back in the bloody summer of '69!

That was the same year the Stones released Let It Bleed. Right around the time "The Sixties" ended in December of 1969 when the Stones played Altamont and everything went to hell, which is where goats go, of course.

Reportedly, Mick Jagger asked surrealist M.C. Escher to do the artwork for Let It Bleed, but Escher declined. Escher has been in the news of late ... 

Here's Mick a few years later, telling us where his bread is buttered. (Rolling Stones Records)

Attached to the bloody goat's head was a picture of the woman, as well. The victim said she has no idea who did it or why, telling police and the media: "They are insane, this is insane. They are so disturbing."

Message sent. Let in bleed. (NECN.com)

Indeed. Yet these are the times we find ourselves in.

GOING FOR SPEED

That would be a link to the frequent car/speed references in Cake songs like "The Distance" and "Satan is My Motor." 

It, too, is another driving, groove-oriented rock song, with bass guitar and snappy snare and toms up front, along with singer John McCrea’s sardonic vocal delivery. With McCrea’s beard and powerful stare, could be related to the late Church of Satan leader Anton Lavey. After all, Sacramento is just down the road from the City By the Bay ...

ON THE STAGE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL: Two images of Cake singer John McCrea, wearing T-shirts reading: "Killing people is rude" and "Satan is Real," the album cover of Louvin Brothers 1959 album of the same name. (Google images)

As a child, why did I always think I had the Candy Man's pocket change? Well, here is Sammy Davis Jr. with Anton Lavey. (Twitter archives)

And Sacramento, while we're on the subject, is the city where a 49-year old Toronto firefighter named Constantinos "Danny" Filippidis re-emerged after vanishing for days back in February after disappearing off of a ski mountain in upstate New York. Yes, a new story in the Albany Times Union, which looked back at the Flippidis case said no one - including Filippidis, it would seem, knows how he got from one side of the continent to the other, wearing the same ski outfit he was wearing the day he disappeared. 

I wrote about the eerie Filippidis saga back in February in my Dust Devil Dreams post "Three strange days." Looking back at the post, I note the late Josh Clayton-Felt on the band School of Fish (which syncs with the current Secret Sun discussion on the prevalence of mermaids, merfolk and a seabound society on the rise, among other things); the Trinity and Jesus overtones in the Jane's Addiction song "Three Days" and the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 that allegedly disappeared over the Indian Ocean. 

Mermaids images are everywhere. (Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report)

On their official website, cakemusic.com, the band has highlighted a quote from Tulsa native and noted historian and the 12th Librarian of the United States Congress (1975-1987) Daniel J. Boorstin. The quote reads: “The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”

And right now, that insightful quote rings so many bells. 

DANCING WITH MR. T

Back in 2016, in advance of a September presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton I wrote a piece titled “Dancin’ With Mr. T: Tonight’s ‘Goat’s Head Soup’ debate.

I was very, very concerned about where this was all leading. Quoting an online writer I wrote: “There’s a sense that, depending on the outcome of tonight’s debate, all human life on the planet could be in peril.” And this was not a Trump v. Hillary thing to me. This was a battle between two forms of evil, one more obvious than the other. 

Continuing, I wrote: "Further, I continued by saying that we are entering absolutely uncharted waters here, folks. Even when thinking of John Adams’ time or in the dark days of Nixon, right around the time the Stones' Goat's Head Soup was released and Lester Bangs warned about the end of rock n' roll. Dancin' with Mr. D., indeed. Evil mediocrity in the Top 40, alongside Tony Orlando & Dawn and Lou Reed. What year is this? Frankly, we've never quite recovered and the layers of lies and scuzz seem like the New Normal." 

Or is it the New Dumb, as Hunter S. Thompson would have put it? 

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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