Anyone who watches the riotous recent Cake video "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" next week for the umpteenth time and doesn't recognize the characters needn't seek treatment for amnesia. The band is rolling out two or three new versions of the clip.
The alternate takes, shot two weeks ago in New York and Mexico City, are similar in theme to the original, in which various folks critique the song as they listen to it through headphones.
"The one in New York is fun because people are really animated in that part of the world," said Cake frontman John McCrea from his home in Sacramento, California. "The footage from Mexico City is interesting because there we're like another form of Coke or Pepsi, a product being foisted at the citizens, and their reactions are intriguing."
Cake agreed to shoot multiple versions of "Short Skirt/Long Jacket" when their label convinced them the entertainment value of the original would wear thin when viewers were no longer surprised by the interviewees' quirky comments.
"They wanted us to do like 15 different videos, but I think three or four is enough," said McCrea. "Anyway, you find more things the more you watch it, so it doesn't burn out that fast."
It would seem strange for almost any band to release three or four versions of virtually the same video, but Cake have habitually bucked trends and defied expectations (see "Cake Make Music For Themselves, By Themselves On New LP"). Rather than hire a name director for "Short Skirt/Long Jacket," they merely handed over the cameras to a couple of friends with minimal video experience, which kept the costs of the project way down. Then, McCrea tackled the editing himself.
"I think the whole thing will probably end up costing less than $20,000 for all the videos," gloats McCrea. "We're pretty pleased about that. We don't want to put any big directors out of business, but we definitely don't want to become indentured servants to the man by spending a fortune on a music video."
Simple and affordable as they were, all three videos entertainingly offer an alternative to even the more alternative rock clips.
"I wanted to get across the idea that people are more interesting than celebrities or musicians," said McCrea. "I also wanted to come to grips with the fact that a video is just an advertisement for a song. So the idea was to make it sort of like a BluBlocker [Sunglasses] commercial. Just let people try on the sunglasses and describe what they see."