The blog world and the traditional newspaper world are … well, two different worlds.
Many IdolChatter readers don’t and never will see the print edition of The Press Democrat on August 21, 2009. But I thought you might enjoy reading a story advancing David Cook’s appearances Friday night in Sacramento and next month in San Francisco.
Some of the story, diehard IdolChatter readers have seen already, some parts you haven’t.
Enjoy the story and look to IdolChatter on Saturday (May 22) for a review of the Sacramento concert and photos.
By BILL PINELLA
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Two years ago, David Cook was tending bar at the Blank Slate in Tulsa, Okla.
Today the Blank Slate is out of business. David Cook is not.
Cook, who will appear at opening night tonight at the California State Fair in Sacramento and at the Fillmore in San Francisco in September, won the “American Idol” season-seven title last year.
So, what did the title that he won on May 21, 2008, do for him?
A week after he won the title, he had 11 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The last time an artist did that? 1964. The band? The Beatles.
He’s performed in more than 100 concerts since Valentine’s Day on his own Declaration Tour.
His initial record — “David Cook” — has gone platinum, which means it’s sold over 1.1 million copies worldwide.
He received a recording contract with RCA, 19 Records.
He was the featured performer on the 50-city American Idol Tour last summer.
And Forbes magazine reported that since June 2008 he has grossed more than $2 million from his record sales, the concert tour and an endorsement deal with Skechers footwear.
All that means Cook doesn’t have to worry any longer about how much is in the bar tip jar at the end of the night.
So, how does the 26-year-old, who was born in Houston and grew up in Blue Springs, Mo., keep it all in perspective?
“I realize that a lot of this is very fleeting and very … absurd,” he said last week before his 100th concert stop, this time in Knoxville, Tenn. “I make it a conscious thing that I just don’t get caught up in it. And a lot of that is because of the band I have played with for years. They’d be the first to knock me down if they thought I needed to be knocked down.
“And my family is great. I guess I just got the right recipe out of the gate. Which I am sure is pretty rare.”
His style is relatively simple in an age when gimmicks and elaborate shows seem to be the norm. Cook is a rocker along with his band.
And that simple approach, along with his baritone voice reminiscent of Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, has caught on. His initial single — “The Time of My Life” — was No. 1 on the Billboard charts aided by 236,000 downloads.
His platinum record includes 12 songs, 10 of which he wrote or co-wrote.
“Do I have a favorite?” Cook said. “Not one; I have 12 of them.
“For me, the music comes first and then the lyrics, I guess that’s just the way my brain works. I have to have the whole song written out for me to find the right lyrics to that song. The last thing you want is a song that sounds like (Black) Sabbath and the lyrics are like rainbows and sunshine and puppy dogs and all that.
“Music just comes a lot easier for me than the lyrics ’cause there are so many places you can go musically. The lyrics have to be perfect.”
Growing up in Missouri with two brothers, Cook was active in theater, choir and baseball. (He was a pitcher.)
“I did choir during school, but I’ve never had voice lessons,” he said. “I’m pretty much a self-taught singer. I did a lot in high school. I didn’t have a lot of down time. I guess I dated a little bit, too.
“All that activity was probably good for me ’cause I probably would have gotten into a whole of trouble. My parents pretty much let me do anything, as long as it was legal.”
When it was announced that May night in Los Angeles that he had won, there wasn’t really one moment Cook could store away as a memory. It was simply unabashed excitement.
“It was exciting ’cause I knew I could wake up the next morning and feel like there was some light at the end of the tunnel. After playing in a band since I was 15, I finally found myself in a position to be able to do this for a living. I’ve tried to take that experience and turn it around as much as I can.
“I don’t try to distance myself at all from ‘Idol.’ I had a great relationship with everyone on the show, and I’d be the last one to bite the hand that fed me. As a winner, you aren’t bound contractually to them at all after the tour. It’s just the kind of a relationship where you either cultivate it or you don’t. I’ve opted to cultivate it.”
Cook recently appeared onstage in New York’s Central Park during a “Good Morning America” segment with this season’s top two “American Idol” finalists — winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert.
“That was a blast and kudos to them (Allen and Lambert),” Cook said. “We’re all going about a million miles an hour right now, and they really stepped up that day and sang the song ‘Sweet Little Lies’ with me that me and the band had been doing awhile and they did very well.
“In a big brotherly way, sort of, I was proud of them. Although I think Adam (he’s 27) is older than I am.”
Did he have any advice for them?
“No, not exactly,” Cook said. “Other than just appreciate and enjoy what comes in front of you. That’s one of the things that I felt as I was going through the process — just enjoy it and realize that everyone needs to experience it in their own way.”
For more on David Cook, including his thoughts on a youth baseball career and the story of the song — “Permanent” — he wrote for his late brother, see Bill Pinella’s American Idol blog at http://idol.blogs.pressdemocrat.com/