Hearne: Next Stop for KC Idol David Cook; Would You Believe, Knuckleheads?

David Cook LML single coverRemember that expression, it’s deja vu all over again…

Well, a mere seven months ago I wrote what amounted to an advance obituary on singer David Cook, the kid from Blue Springs who walked away five years ago with a million bucks, a record deal and a shoe endorsement after winning season seven of American Idol.

Would Cook follow in the footsteps of successful past Idol winners like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, or had his 15 minutes of fame passed its expiration date?

Unfortunately the latter appeared to be the case in my March story, as Cook’s record and shoe deals had vanished, the reviews of his second album were horrid, his celebrity girlfriend for whom he’d contemplated buying a $50,000 rock had cheated on him in public and he’d bailed out of his $1.3 million Hollywood hills “manse” and fled to Nashville for what appeared to be a country music makeover.

And just when it was looking like maybe Cook had hit rock bottom, comes the word he’s got another KC gig coming up next month. But not at the 16,000 seat Sprint Center and not even at the 2,700 seat Midland.

Knuckleheads SaloonThis time around Cook will be kicking out the jams at Knuckleheads in the East Bottoms.

That’s right, at Knuckleheads on November 18th.

Screen shot 2013-10-04 at 11.13.54 AMThat is if Cook lives to tell the story after rappelling down the side of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. It’s a promotional stunt for the charity Over the Edge for Brain Cancer.

“On Saturday November 2nd I will be rappelling down…the tallest building on the San Diego waterfront – to raise awareness and funds to support San Diego-based brain cancer research,” Cook says on his website.

Is that even legal?

As for Cook’s transition into becoming maybe a country music star, after a year in Nashville, there’s little evidence of that. He played a club gig two weeks ago in Tulsa that was reviewed as a rock show with no mention of country. And his  tepid recent single “Laying Me Low” is clearly a pop tune…a highly forgettable pop tune.

KCC music man Paul Wilson’s take on Cook’s Knuckleheads gig:

“It tells me he’s not hit bottom yet, but he can see it.”


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43 Responses to Hearne: Next Stop for KC Idol David Cook; Would You Believe, Knuckleheads?

  1. Sam says:

    Who pissed in your cornflakes?

  2. Mysterious J says:

    Paul Wilson is a music man? Was Glazer not available for comment?

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Mysterious J; the fact you don’t know I’m a music man is embarrassing. I’m a renaissance man, a man for all seasons. Paul D Wilson; consultant to world leaders, Bon vivant, man about town, but m

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Mysterious J; the fact you don’t know I’m a music man should embarrass you. I’m a renaissance man, a man for all seasons. Paul D Wilson; consultant to world leaders, bon vivant, man about town, but most importantly; friend to the common man.

      • Libertarian says:

        Please tell me J’s snark font was on…..

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Lib, I think it was his “I don’t like Wilsun” font, but I wouldn’t judge without all the facts.

          • Mysterious J says:

            I’ll be honest…I haven’t gotten close to all the way through a single piece you have written here yet, so I WOULDN’T know much about you except that you bore me. My apologies for doubting your music biz credentials.

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Libby, I apologize; it was Mysterious J’s “You Bore The Shit Out of Me” font.
          MJ, pick a topic you’d like to see something on and I’ll write it short and pithy, just for you. I’d be honored if you made it through just one.

  3. mike t. says:

    frank must have been hard up for an act that evening.

  4. Terri says:

    There are some great artists that play at Knuckleheads. They may not be the top of the charts, but they are better artists that those who are at the top. If you are playing in the same place Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Raul Malo, etc. are playing, you are in good company from an artist’s perspective, money isn’t the only measure of talent.

    • mike t. says:

      that’s the thing terri. david cook is not in the same talent category as most of the artists that play there. not even close.

      • Libertarian says:

        Amen, Mike. Ain’t nothing come off of AI that I would rank in the ranks of Knucklehead’s usual caliber of talent.

        I guarantee you if Frank had Tiny Tim [RIP] booked for that night, Cook would have been ass out.

    • Libertarian says:

      Talent is the only measure of talent, and Cook in no way compares to those you named.

      • Terri says:

        Not even a fan of Cook, my only point is quit using the fact of playing Knuckleheads as a sign you are nobody. Hearne needs to do his homework before laying on the snark sometimes.

        • admin says:

          Hey Terri,

          You must not be regular reader because I’ve been covering Frank and Knuckleheads practically from the get-go when he stepped up to take the Grand Emporium’s place as “Kansas City’s Oasis of Rhythm & Blues.”

          Here’s the difference though.

          Most of the truly big names that have played Knuckleheads have been arguably in their sunset years. Do you think Merle Haggard or even Johnny Winter or Los Lobos would have played a club like Knuckleheads during their hay days of selling out far larger venues?

          Unlike those and other “name” acts that have appeared at Knuckleheads David Cook is only 30 years old.

          He’s playing Knuckleheads in his prime after dropping from the national spotlight like a rock after a single successful album four or five years ago.

  5. harley says:

    a million bucks… know he got $100k for playing at red white and boom…
    residual money…traveling the world…winning a national music competition
    in front of hundreds of millions of viewers….performing in some of the
    largest venues….and coming from humble start and small town
    bars…and probably has a million in the bank if he managed everything right…

    HAS DONE in their ENTIRE LIFE!
    Hearne…not everyone was born with money…you didn’t work to get your
    money..you never had to worry about a meal…you could buy anything
    you wanted with daddys money…you never had to do anything except adjust the silver
    spoon in your mouth.
    Give credit to the guy….he’s done a lot…and lets be honest that
    we’ve not heard the last of this artist.
    Unlike others on this site who just sat down when the time
    s got tough…he’s still out there roaring.
    I wonder what knuckleheads pays….2-3K for a show…
    we know the guys on here don’t make that in a month!!!!!!!
    I wish him luck….i’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot about david cook
    in the future….and that’s sounding good!

    • admin says:

      That’s certainly one way of looking at it.

      The other is to read the stinging critical reviews of Cook’s last album, note that he was dropped by hgis label, lost his shoe gig, had to sell the house in a bear market and after playing far larger venues is now saddling up alongside local bands who work for a handful of hundred dollars.

      Could Cook turn things around? Maybe. He’s young enough and still has name recognition.

      Just noting that the trend line at this point is going in one direction and one direction only.

      You know Mr. H, we chart people’s stellar rises and we chart their falls. That’s how the fame game is played, for better and for worse. For better and for worse.

      • harley says:

        that’s not my point hearne.
        You never rose…younever had to worry about jobs or
        whether the kids had food on the table.
        Cook…from a small band…winning one of the worlds
        biggest talent competions…playing the worlds biggest
        stages…and doning something with his life in
        a spectacular fashion…while doing incredible amounts
        of charity work (oh…what charity work have you done hearne)..
        and then youbang on the man for having accomplished
        incredible things …
        you’ve been spoiled all your life. You never will know what
        its like to “accomplish” something or “do ” something or
        to “make something happen”..
        you’e been handed everything to you in your life..and as
        much as I wold have loved to have everything given
        to me…never worried about payroll or expenses… I would
        never change my life.
        You’re a spoiled man…and it is inded sad that that
        you never got a chance to experience the excitement and
        joy that people who actually acocomplish something..
        people who made something from scratch…you’ll never
        feel that….
        you’ll just sit with your small site and try to beat everyone
        down who has done something.
        cook has immense talent…you have nothing even close…
        lay off the guy….hopefully he gets his stride back and comes
        back….that’s what makes it all so much fun and exciting..
        the problem is y ou’ll never live or experience.
        easy to sit on the sideline and boo…its harder to get
        into the ring and fight for a dream.
        sorry…you’re way off onthis one!!!!!!!!!!

        • admin says:

          I’m going to let you prattle on and on here some more just to make a point.

          That being that you need to learn how to be more succinct and to the point and once you’ve made that point, put it back in your pants and maybe you’ll live to fight again.

          I already explained my accomplishments at the Pitch and Star which had nothing to do with my so-called silver spoon. I had a seven year run of quite successfully promoting concerts as well btw. No silver spoon there either.

          As for not worrying about feeding my kids, you are correct. Because I just happened to be gainfully employed and handsomely paid when I had them. David Cook has never had to worry about that either, because – guess what? – he doesn’t have any kids.

          Unfortunately, depending upon where his career goes from here he could have that worry. Let’s hope not.

          None of which means I haven’t had – or still don’t have – worries of my own. We all do.

          And if it makes you feel any better, you’re among them in your own very small way.

          I’m just charting the hits and the misses in the court of news and public opinion.

          Try not to take it so personally and you’ll maybe be able to calm and slow down and type more carefully.

          • harley says:

            pitch…star….you didn’t create them..and you
            were let go and fired….
            you didn’t grow the star…it was just a platform
            for your gossip column…
            I mean do something…concerts…?????
            where you get the money….
            i’m right onthis hearne…and the band
            plays on…
            you’re a silver spoon dude and jthats

            HC: That’s not true, I was laid off alongside hundreds of others and they tried to hire me back at like 40 or 50 cents on the dollar a month later

            I didn’t create the Pitch but I talked the record store owner out of folding it after he sold Pennyland and Streetside declined to buy it. And I lead it from record store rag to alt weekly.

  6. Cathy says:

    Wow – what’s wrong with you?

  7. Cathy says:

    You = Hearne Christopher Jr

  8. John says:

    We get it, you don’t like Cook. That said I confess I was not a fan of the guy until being dragged to a few shows by my wife and her sister. He’s pretty damn good and having had the chance to actually talk to the guy during one of those “publicity stunt” charity events, I think you’re being unnecessarily harsh. He is a real stand up guy and pretty damn good working musician. You’re entitled to your visceral disgust for whatever reason but can you at least give some earnest credit for the years of charity work? What have you done lately? I’ve lost someone close to me to brain cancer and regardless of the celebrity status, I admire what Cook is doing. Besides, does the world really need another super famous celeb douchebag? No. That shit kills music, not playing at the Knucklehead or doing charity promo.

    • admin says:

      Actually, I do like him.

      I met and wrote about his band Axium several years back before the American Idol win. I was part of a “celebrity” judging panel for a radio station at an Olathe music club (think it was called Orlando’s) and I picked Cook’s band for 1st place.

      He was doing mostly original, alt rock material then however, not pandering to the pop masses in search of the more mainstream success that continues to elude him.

      Fame can be quite fleeting and at this point Cook’s story is indicative of that. From a new or human interest point of view that’s what it’s really all about. How we live in an era where a “reality show” can catapult an otherwise quite ordinary person to the highest of highs. And then how reality can step in and return that person to earth.

      Happens all the time and it’s an interesting phenomenon.It just happens that Cook is of great local interest and he’s currently in the eye of that storm. What will become of him? Will he settle in as just a normal guy? Or will he somehow overcome these struggles and mount a comeback.

      I think that’s an interesting story to tell and watch unfold and that’s pretty much all I’m doing.

      • harley says:

        no youre not hearne…you’re trying to beaton cook because
        he’s playing at a local club…knuckleheads.
        You’re trashing the guy because as you said’he’s not playing
        thesprint center”…well hearne a bout 1% of the acts make it
        to sprint…and yes he did playat sprint…
        so he’s daddy rich trust fund kid saying he voted
        for cook at ORLANDOS…now boy hearne that’s one
        hell of venue to be honored with working.
        You work orlandos…and cook works red rocks….
        stop b.s.ingg us hearne….we see thru it….and
        you’ve never accomplished anything (except judging
        at orlandos (hahahaha)….)
        wow…what a great resume y ou got there hearne…
        I’d love to see how you made’ it in life without daddys
        money…..that would be a real story~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • admin says:

          Hey, judging that contest at Orlando’s was hardly a career highlight for me, just a tiny part of my job.

          And I wrote it up as a tidbit, not as if it mattered much in the scheme of things, just something going down in the big city.

          Being hired to run and build up the Pitch to a weekly – which I did – and being hired at the Star and creating the highest read column at the newspaper and garnering one of the very few six figure paychecks handed out to writers there had nothing to do with my sliver spoon, H Man.

          Sorry to disappoint.

          • CG says:

            In Hearnes defense, I worked with most of the Star’s top writers from the 80’s on…Hearne was and is a hard worker, dedicated and does care about his product. Some other writers at the Star just wanted a check. Hearne was on his job seven days a week. Maybe too much at times.

            I can’t put someone down who happened to be born into family money, I’ll bet we’d all enjoy that one. However he has worked his entire life and never rested on family funds to get by…I work with others who came into huge money and they don’t put out one once the effort Hearne does. So don’t fault him for being a lucky guy…he does work hard and well.

          • CG says:

            As for David Cook, met him at Mix and Q radio one Friday morning just after he won Idol…guy couldn’t have been nicer. I like his work…sometimes luck and talent just don’t last long enough…I think he will be fine in the long run….I wish him well.

      • John says:

        Fair enough, thanks for the response, it’s appreciated. I don’t know much about his backstory (or yours for what that’s worth). It is an interesting study, I just see it differently I guess. After my chat with Cook (last May during a charity race) I got the distinct impression that superstardom was not his goal. He actually seemed domesticated and normal. I think that is what ultimately appeals to me since music really does seem to have so many sell outs these days. I didn’t get that impression from this guy.

        Have you kept up with the other guy from the area? Tate Stevens? (had to google him). It’d be an interest contrast. Anyway, thanks for the reply.

        • admin says:


          Haven’t done anything on Tate, but he’s on a tear, so we’ll see.

          I think you’re right about Cook being down to earth. My guess is he probably knows and accepts the fact that he was in the right place at the right time and was damn lucky to catch a reality TV break.

          A few of the early winners have gone on to bigger and better things, but not that many. I’m sure he was quite hopeful at first but his feet are pretty much back on the ground at this point and he’s playing out his hand and hoping to catch another break – maybe with country.

          Hey, Sheryl Crow’s making that same play right now – country – and she actually did have a mega successful career in pop.

    • harley says:

      yeah hearne…what have you done lately? what have you done
      for the last 60-65 years?????????????????????????/////

  9. mike t. says:

    paul simon wrote in the “boy in the bubble”, “…. every generation throws a hero up the pop charts…”. when it comes to david cook (and SO many more), he might have written instead, “… every generation throws up a hero on the pop charts…”.

  10. Paul says:

    “He was doing mostly original, alt rock material then however, not pandering to the pop masses in search of the more mainstream success that continues to elude him.”

    So what exactly is wrong with pandering to the pop masses? It’s one way to make some money which, in David Cook’s case, has worked. Hearne, your narrow definition of what is “hip” and “not hip” that is laughable. What’s “hip” to a 60-something dude like yourself means nothing to most 25-year old college-educated dudes around town. They even laugh at the fact that someone still uses the word “hip.”

    So David Cook should have stayed his original, alt-rock material? C’mon.

    • admin says:

      Hey Paul,

      There’s nothing wrong with pop music, except you have to have the chops. And reviewer after reviewer, the music buying public and Cook’s former label have pretty much decided by their actions, that he doesn’t have em.

      What’s hip to me? Oh I dunno, I like Imagine Dragons and was at their incredible show last summer at Starlight. And I like bands like Panic at the Disco, the Killers, Of Monsters & Men.

      You’re the one suggesting Cook should have stayed with alt rock, not me. His music was mostly original then but he should go in whatever direction that suits him.

      Not my call.

  11. harley says:


    glaze…you lost the bet….mu beat vanderbilit…now stay off kcc for a week..
    that was the bet…stay off kcc for a week and you lost.
    and you don’t want allthese poeple to think you would welch on a bet.
    we’ll miss your literary prowess…your scores…your bets…your
    personal history comments…but a bet is a bet..
    see ya next sunday….have a nice vacation

    • the dude says:

      Ha, he thought Vandy would beat a healthy MU?
      He deserves a break for that terrible pick unless he was playing a spoiler but even then it would be a crappy bet.

  12. PB says:

    “pretty damn good working musician.” – John

    I think this quote says more about why Cook and all the more renown folks regularly play Knuckleheads.

  13. Zak says:

    His next stop will be the Piano Bar in Waldo

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