Well we are about seven hours and counting until the “David Cook and Gavin DeGraw with Carolina Liar” concert tonight at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts here in Santa Rosa.

As a final pre-concert gift to the readers of Idol Chatter, following is the transcript of a phone interview I had with Cook earlier this month prior to the kickoff of the tour which started on Oct. 9th at Penn State.

Some of that conversation has appeared here previously, some of it hasn’t … enjoy:

12:15 P.M., OCT. 5, 2011

Hi, David, where are you now?

“I am in rainy, awesome Los Angeles.”

Well, I am in Santa Rosa, right in the middle of Wine Country.

“I am officially jealous…Well (when he is here), if I’m not on stage you know where I’ll be … yes, I’ll be running through those vineyards.”

How did you come to hook with Gavin DeGraw for this tour?

“Gavin and I met early in the first record’s life cycle. We were doing a Christmas show, I believe in Orlando and a radio thing brought us together. He’s a good dude, has good vibes and good energy. So when it came time to put this tour together and we were trying to figure out where we fit best, Gavin’s named popped up and it just seemed like the perfect opportunity for both of us. He’s got a new record out that’s great and those two records kinda vibed with each other.
“And then we were fortunate enough to get Carolina Liar to come on with us. That’s a weird story. I actually met Chad, the (Carolina Liar lead) singer, he is from South Carolina. I met him in Sweden. I was over there doing some writing and we just crossed paths while I was bar-hopping in Stockholm.
“And when his name came up for this tour I thought absolutely I’d love to hang out with that dude again. This lineup is great and obviously having the existing relationship with these guys helps. I just think it’s gonna be a blast.
And us getting along and having that vibe and energy, hopefully it generates to the audience.

So, who will be the headliner, so to speak, during the tour?

“Gavin and I are gonna split that. There will be some nights when he headlines and some nights when I headline. It’ll be like equal set times.”

How many songs will you do?

“We’ll do 16 songs each give or take. We’ll do ’80s pop covers and intersperse those with songs from the new record. I tried to angle away from that a little bit and do different angle so the scope is a little greater. Bottom line is that we want to do a show that’s entertaining and keep the audience energized for Gavin.”

How does a tour work? I mean do you tell your management team wheer you want to go and where you don’t want to perform?

“Usually I’ll get a schedule put in front of me and it says. ‘Hey this is where you are going.’ And with Gavin we aren’t going to Kansas City, my hometown, but we’ll try to work that in afterward. But there are markets that obviously, I’m going to, Wine Country being one of them. But I’m excited to get up that way and put on a show for everybody.
“You know if a bottle of Napa Valley Reserve shows up I won’t get mad.

You do know that David Archuleta (the runnerup to Cook in Season 7 of American Idol) performed on this same stage a couple of years ago and he’s going to be back here on Dec. 13?

“It sounds like an awesome venue. I heard that I was crossing paths with Archie. I’ll have to leave him a message somewhere.”

Did you watch American Idol this past season?

“One of the positives of being on one place working on this record was that I was able to catch Idol this year. It was a good year. I thought there was a lot of talent. Now I’m interested to see how they parlay it into doing their own thing and putting out records.”

I suppose you heard that this year’s winner – Scotty McCreery — is going to sing the National Anthem before the first game of the World Series (he did so on Wednesday night)?

“As a baseball fan I’m happy for him but that was a little dig. I thought ‘Damn’. But I can’t say that I got short-changed cause I got to do Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Lakers. But this is the World Series.”

Have you watched Simon Cowell’s new series The X Factor?

“I haven’t watched the X Factor. At this juncture I am pretty brand loyal. But I do have nothing but respect for Cowell and Paula and everybody there. I wish them well but I just haven’t tuned in yet.”

Do you stay in touch with any of the other top 10 Idol finalists for the season you won?

“I stay in touch with the top 10 as best I can. I talk to Carly (Smithson) every now and then. She is back and forth between here in L.A. and Vegas with her band and she is still in the Cirque de Soleil show.
“I just keep missing connecting with Michael Johns. We keep talking about getting together and playing paintball or tennis or something.
“I talk to Brooke (White) every now and again, Rameo and Archie.
“I saw Jason Castro as last year’s finale and I got to see him and his wife.
“We try as best we can, but you know how it is.”

What do you prefer, recording in the studio or performing on stage during a tour?

“Before this record I would have said in the studio. But now after a year and a half in a studio I feel pretty safe to say that my m.o. is on stage. There’s just something about that immediate feedback. I just like the idea of being able to perform a song and put it out there and people either like it or don’t like it. It’s nothing that I gotta stress about – did they like it, did they not like it? – I’ll know. I’m a pretty big fan of the live experience.

It took three years between records and 18 months to make This Loud Morning. Correct? Was that a bad thing to take that long?

(He pauses) … I don’t know how to answer that. Maybe in the context of coming out of the gate all guns blazing, sure it was (too long). But I don’t think I could have made this record any other way. I think this record needed to take this long and this is the record I wanted to make. The record I wanted to put out.
“I don’t know. But I guess there are two answers to that question: yes and no. They negate each other so I don’t know.
“And ideally, I don’t have any intentions of taking another three years to put out another record. It just depends on what this record does and where my head’s at all sorts of factors that at this juncture are out of my control. And that’s something that I really had to learn the last three years – there are a lot of things that are out of my control. So, I’m gonna focus on what I need to do to put out what I think is good music for my fans, and play great shows for my fans and hang on until I get something else out there I guess.
“Absolutely it was emotional for me. All these awesome things, and I say awesome in terms of massive … things like, I mean I started my first band when I was 15 and in the last three years I had my first platinum record and the journey to get to that point … I think back on it now … Jesus, if I had been smart at that time I probably wouldn’t have continued. Thank God I had blinders on. But the awful thing was my brother passing away. I mean I was on the road with my first major label record and i didn’t want to short-change that. So I took all those experiences and I kinda shelved them.
“I got off the road and immediately went into writing another reocrd and all of a sudden those things came back up. I was just like emotionally all over the place.
“But then on paper some of the songs I wrote in the beginning, they don’t even make sense. So I just needed to go on that journey. I needed to make sense of this new world around me that really had kinda put blinders on me. One that I hadn’t focused on. That was the journey that I needed to go on for this record.
“And if that is seen as a detriment or if that derails my career or anything like that then those are the things, again, that I can’t control. For me to have gone out and rushed another record and not had my heart behind it …. to me then you are ensuring failure.
“But my fans are awesome and they are intelligent and they’d know if I was bullsitting them.

Sales of this record haven’t been great, but I sense that that really doesn’t matter to you all that much?

“Yes, I think that’s an accurate way to say it. Much to my management’s chagrine I have consistently said I would rather put out a record that I have my heart behind than a top-selling copy that I can’t stand and it sells 10 million copies.
“I’m happy with the album cause it’s …. well, somebody out there found something in that record and they bought it and they are listening to it. I’m good. I’m in a good head space right now.

What is your favorite song on the record right now?

“It changes. Right now I’ve been kinda tuning into the imagery of Paper Heart.
“We chased that one. Sometimes a song will come together real quick like in a day or two. Get the instrumentation and then I go in and cut the vocals and then it’s done. But that song involved a lot of hours of trying things and getting the best possible mood across. It was a challenge.
“All the songs we built in sections. Dummy guitar track and vocal and then the bass player and the drummer and then synthesizer, choir, strings, harrp, whatever. We did vocals last. We thought was that the mood that the music dictates, the mood of the vocals. At least this way there isn’t an emotional disconnect between the vocals and the way the music sounds.

I still think that “Permanent” will be the song that will always define you.

“Permanent … I think if it all fell apart tomorrow and that was the song that I had to hang my hat on I’d be very happy with that…
I think that song … it’s an important song. It’s a song that we don’t do live very often. I think mainly because there is so much in that song personally. I mean no one wants to come and spend how ever much a ticket is and watch me mope around on stage.

I understand you are going to run the Los Angeles Marathon (March 20, 2012)?

“Yyes I am still going to do the L.A. Marathon. It’s a challenge and a challenge that I am really looking for. After finishing this record I thought I just need a new challenge. I’ve done the 5K run in D.C. the last three years. That was a challenge in and off itself. But I hate running, I hate it. I can’t tell you how many hours or miles I have logged in preparing for this race but I hate every one of them.”

Do you listen to music while you are running?

“I listen to a lot of comedy, I don’t listen to music. Music is such a massive part of my and I like to run as a bit of an escape. And comedy really helps that cause then I’m not thinking about how much my legs are hurting. I have gotten up to 12 miles and that’s as far as I have gotten.
If I didn’t have the motivation factor of just wanting to do it I would have fallen off the wagon by now but what I’m really excited about … but the L.A. Marathon is a big event and to have the crowd there and being able to put this page together to get people on board to donate to my charity which is ABC Squared it’s added incentive. You know I go to that 5K every year in D.C. and meet the survivors. It is awe-inspiring. I walk away from that every year with this new-found motivation to do something. I’m excited about this race. Now ask me at Mile 20 how excited I am!
“Good thing about being on the road is that I can run anywhere and having that different stimuli every day will keep me from getting bored doing my reps everyday.

You sang the Anthem at the Kansas City Chiefs home opener this season, right. How was that?

“I did the Anthem at the Chiefs game and they got beat pretty bad. And they lost like that I’m gonna be perceived as bad luck.
“Wwithout question the anthem is hard to sing. It jumps all over the place. It’s not an easy melody. And beyond that is the pressure of singing it. You sing that song well and people say, ‘OK, let’s get on with the game.’ And if you screw it up … people still talk about Christina Aguilera’s version (at last year’s Super Bowl). And she’s an incredible singer. I implore anybody that can sing to get up in front of that many people to get up and do the Anthem and pretend you don’t pee your pants a little bit.”

Who are your favorite sports teams?

“I’m a Royals, Chiefs, Celtics fan … and a Missouri guy. And I guess you’d say I’m a residual soccer guy I don’t completely understand it. But I root for Arsenal.

The season you won on Idol was the first year I started watching. Gotta admit I thought you were best and we kept watching because of you.

“That means I did my job. I’m glad I stuck around for you guys.”

David Cook and Gavin DeGraw with Carolina Liar

8 p.m., Oct. 20

At Wells Fargo Center for the Arts

Highway 101 at River Road, Santa Rosa
Tickets: $45 and $35.

Phone: 707-546-3600

Online: wellsfargocenterarts.org


Oct. 9 State College, Pa. – Penn State
Oct. 10 Columbus, Ohio – Newport Music Hall
Oct. 11 St. Louis, Mo. – The Pageant
Oct. 13 Tulsa, Okla. – Cain’s Ballroom
Oct. 15 Denver – Ogden Theatre
Oct. 17 Boise, Id. – Knitting Factory
Oct. 18 Seattle – Showbox Sodo
Oct. 20 Santa Rosa – Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
Oct. 21 Reno – Silver Legacy Resort Casino
Oct. 23 Phoenix – Arizona State Fair
Oct. 24 San Diego – Humphrey’s
Oct. 26 Pomona – The Fox Theatre
Oct. 29 Houston – Arena Theatre
Oct. 30 Austin, Texas – Austin City Limits Live
Nov. 1 Grand Prairie, Texas, – Verizon Theatre
Nov. 2 Memphis, Tenn. – Minglewood Hall
Nov. 4 Winston-Salem, N.C. – Wake Forest University
Nov. 5 York, Pa. – Penn State-York
Nov. 6 Cleveland – Playhouse Square Center
Nov. 7 Cincinnati – The Taft Theatre
Nov. 9 Greenville, S.C. – Peace Center
Nov. 10 Athens, Ga. – The Classic Center