"It has been more than 20 years since John McCrea formed Cake, the band noted for their ability to point out the ridiculousness of our modern existene with deadpan delivery."
MT: Showroom of Compassion was your first No. 1 album, and you did it independently from a major label. I’m sure that confirmed that your self-reliance and DIY mindset worked, but ultimately it didn’t make a ton of money. Did that feel like, “Man if a No. 1 album can’t make us money then are we screwed?” Was it discouraging?
JM: It’s like the rest of the U.S. economy that the middle and lower tiers of the economy are sort of being hollowed out, and that’s the same thing with music. I mean we’re okay because we can continue touring endlessly for a while but friends of ours who maybe didn’t sell quite as many records as us but who I think are just as musically important if not more important in some ways are now working other jobs because it’s not a sustainable profession.
And there are people, mostly in the tech industry, who say, “Oh, music shouldn’t be a job, you should have a day job and then play music on the side.” But most day jobs don’t allow you to go on tour. So that’s why friends of ours have quit because you can’t just take off from your day job and go on tour for a month.
There is a choice. So I see it as rather disingenuous of an industry that is actually monetizing our work and making really good money off it but not even thinking to share that money with artists to tell us that we can’t have a professional career. It is kind of selfish and sh*tty.
i couldn’t have said it much better myself. the music business is broken… pretty badly… probably beyond repair. but music lives on. people WILL pay for good music if we provide it, it just may not be as lucrative as it was for a short time. it’s time for the industry (i’m beginning to question why there even IS a “music industry”) to rethink it’s purpose. what are we here for? what are we going to do about it?