Archive for February, 2009


Straight Ahead

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The way David Cook sees it, there’s been no downside to his winning the seventh season of ”American Idol” last May.

When the show’s executives decided to team the rocker with runner-up David Archuleta for post-show promotion, Cook says he looked at it as ”I’ve got to continue through this process with kind of a friend in tow.”

His patience paid off. When it came time to record his debut album, Cook says producers gave him ”carte blanche,” rather than the heavy-handed direction that former ”Idol” singers such as Kelly Clarkson and Katharine McPhee said they got.

And now that Cook’s on his first solo tour — which includes several Pennsylvania and Atlantic City dates this month before he comes to Musikfest on Aug. 3 — he says he’s having, as his chart-topping single says, ”The Time of My Life.”

”Life’s not bad,” Cook says, laughing heartily in a telephone call last week from Illinois, three shows into his ”mtvU presents David Cook’s Declaration Tour — 2009.”

Not bad, indeed. ”Time of My Life” is platinum — the biggest single debut and highest-selling coronation single in the show’s history — and a second single, ”Light On,” topped the AOL Top 40 and hit No. 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100. Cook’s self-titled album also is platinum and pairs him with songwriting heavyweights John Rzeznik from the Goo Goo Dolls, 1980s pop singer Cathy Dennis and Chris Cornell from Soundgarden and Audioslave.

”To work with these people that I’ve looked up to for years and have them treat me as a peer was the most fun aspect of this whole process,” Cook says. ”I remember my first writing session was with Raine [Maida] from Our Lady Peace — like my favorite band, my favorite singer. I was so nervous, ’cause you always worry about these people that you put on this pedestal, are they going to be jerks, you know? And Raine was the exact opposite — I mean just so chill, so extremely gracious. It just confirmed all these ideas I have of him in my head. It’s cool now because I consider him a friend — like we go golfing whenever I’m in town.”

Cook says he was lucky 19 Recordings and RCA Records let him make the record he wanted. ”I feel like this is the record I would have made with or without ‘Idol,’ with or without RCA, with or without 19,” he said. ”It just allows me to go onstage with the confidence and a passion for those songs that I believe is one of the reasons people have shown up the way they have and people have embraced the record the way they have.”

So what does Cook, a 26-year-old former bartender, think about the theory that older women — ”cougars for Cook” — voted him into the top spot?

Cook laughs: ”Um, honestly, I’m kind of the last person to know. I just kind of took [the win] as I managed to strike a chord with people, and that’s kind of how I’m operating. So do I think — I don’t know how to say it — that older people probably bought into it? Yeah, I hope so. But I also kind of have in my head that maybe the younger people did, too. I’m kinda operating on all cylinders, trying to snag as many fans as I can.”

One woman whose attention Cook confirms caught his attention was former ”Idol” contestant Kimberly Caldwell, whom he dated. Asked to confirm they’re no longer an item, he murmurs, ”Um-hm.”

As for Archuleta, Cook says the competition ended with the show. ”I think Archie’s a fantastic individual and so the way I look at it is we’re both doing better than we were a year before. … As I said kind of before the records came out, I hope he sells a million and I hope I sell a million and one.”

Cook is not a solo performer like Archuleta. He’s got a band, which he describes as ”four of my friends.”

”The only thing I want to get across to anybody that comes out to the show is that I want people to come out and try to have a good time, ’cause that’s what we’re onstage to do,” he says.

DAVID COOK with Ryan Star

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, Dickinson College, Carlisle

How much: $15

Info: 717-243-5121, http://www.dickinson.edu/compass

Also performing: 8 p.m. March 16, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg; 8 p.m. March 19, Mansfield University, Mansfield; 8 p.m. March 20 and 21, Borgata Hotel Casino, Atlantic City, N.J.; 8 p.m. March 24, Penn State University-York, York.

On the Net: http://www.davidcookofficial.com; http://www.myspace/davidcookofficial

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Entertainment Director Adam Biemeret of UW-Green Bay’s radio station, WGBX. had a chance to speak with David Cook via phone interview.

Why did you decide to do a college tour?

It is something that I really wanted to do. When I went to school I used to go to shows all the time and there’s just a vibe there you don’t find anywhere else.

Do you have any advice for anyone that might try out for “American Idol?”

Everyone gets something different out of it, but just try to enjoy the experience because you don’t know how long you’re going to be there. There’s a lot of cool things to experience on the way if you can avoid getting bogged down with being in competition.

When people get voted off of “American Idol” do you feel bad for them?

Absolutely. You’re all out there gunning for the same thing and you know these people want it as much as you do. Over time you really build up a rapport with some of the people around you. You really do have time to build friendships with the other contestants. The auditions start in August ’07 and the showed started February ’08 so there’s all that time where you get to know everyone.

How do you pay your rent while you’re on the show?

Because you’re on a TV show you did get paid actor benefits. By being on TV you get a paycheck from a union. It’s enough to pay rent.

How drastically has your life changed since “American Idol?”

How hasn’t it changed? More people know my name and it’s a little harder to go out and grab a burger or something. Besides that I’ve got great friends and great family that will knock me down as many rungs as I need to be.

Did you get to bring any of your former band mates along with you on tour?

Absolutely. My guitar player Neal and my keyboard player Andy are in my band with me now. It’s great to have some friends from home I’ve know these guys for six years. So they how to push my buttons and keep me in line and make sure I’m having fun.

What are you doing after the college tour?

We are hoping to extend the tour. We’re talking about staying on the road and just really solidifying it.

Any plans for the next album?

We’re casually writing songs on the road and coming up with some new things. That one of the great things about this band, we’re all songwriters too. So we’ve had a couple of pow-wows and coming up with new material. Maybe we’ll throw in another one later on in the tour.

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Thanks to Jumpnegative

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