(POST UPDATE: Cake books almost ready for release!)
Back in college I spent a lot of time driving around town with my friend Sam, in his beat-up Japanese car that you could turn on with a butter knife and shift without pushing in the clutch. Sam would roll the window down and sing along to music in his off-key bellow, and I wouldn’t be able to control my Cheshire-sized grin. We had nowhere in particular to go but driving loops around town with Sam filled me with supreme happiness and the unquenchable belief that something amazing would happen at any moment.
One of the albums that I associate with those good times is “Fashion Nugget” by CAKE. I can still hear Sam yelling “RACE CAR YA-YAS!” in his sardonic but humor-charged howl.
So it is with supreme ya-ya-tude that I’ve contributed to a book that CAKE is making for one of their new songs, “Bound Away,” from their new album Showroom of Compassion. The book’s text is the lyrics of the song, and my contribution is the illustration of the lyrics.
Unbound pages from the book
These are no ordinary books, however. They are an edition of 1000 hand-made masterpieces being made in conjunction with the San Francisco Center for the Book, under the incredible direction of Pam DeLuco with the help of the band members and an army of volunteers.
I don’t mean the book is “hand-made” as in someone glued a picture to the cover. These babies are hand-made. The cover paper is hand-made from the band members’ clothes. The endpapers were hand-made from jute coffeesacks. The binding thread is hand-spun (by Pam) and waxed in beeswax (from Pam’s hive). I created the illustrations, then they were hand-carved into linoleum by volunteers and the band members and then hand-letterpressed. The type is lead and wood and hand-set. The book will contain a CD of the song (with my artwork on the label!).
Wow. A lot of work, you say? You’d better believe it! But the result is turning out SUPER cool.
Summiting Paper Mountain
I went into the SFCB today to help a bit with the binding of the books and met a couple of the members of the band, John McCrea and Xan McCurdy. They both seemed less like rock stars and more like nice and normal guys. My kind of people!
Pam punching tiny holes into the folded pages. These will serve as guides when the pages are sewn together
My job today was to sew the inside papers into the endpapers, which will later be glued to the cover. I worked for about 3 hours and only sewed about 80 books. If you ever watched that superb short film Powers of Ten, you’ll understand how my contribution today was about as big as that summer sausage on the picnic blanket.
It was such a pleasure to see the book starting to emerge in it’s final(ish) form. I feel a lot of pride in seeing my illustrations in the book. The album will be released in January and you’ll be able to purchase a copy of the limited edition book/CD from the CAKE website.
To all you college kids out there: I recommend blasting the song and driving aimlessly around town.
POST UPDATE: Cake books almost ready for release!
Pam’s cake of homemade beeswax, alongside a couple of sewn book innards
Hand-spun binding thread