Between myself and local music industry veteran Mark Valentine, we’ve already pretty well covered the Blue Springs export’s more obvious entertainment career bases.
You know, that Cook got cut by his record company after two albums – the last of which stiffed – that he’s gone from playing arenas, then theaters like the Midland to bars like Knuckleheads here in KC.
And as duly noted by Mark, Cook’s big win on American Idol in 2008 put him in the pop culture history books for all time and should afford him name recognition well into the immediate future. He’ll probably never again be the total nobody he and most bar band musicians that never break out nationally inevitably are.
Nbody can take any of that away from him.
That said, he’s also a card carrying member of a not-so-exclusive club; Idol winners who got dumped by their record labels and are out beating the streets all on their lonesome.
“Other show alums no longer signed to Sony-affiliated labels include season 7 runner-up David Archuleta, season 9’s Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox, season 6’s Blake Lewis, season 5’s Taylor Hicks, season 4’s Bo Bice, and season 2’s Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, among others,” The Hollywood Reporter writes.
And in a matchup with season five Idol contestant Daughtry, Cook doesn’t come close.
Eight years after the fact, Daughtry is still going strong. He’s scored four No. 1 hits, four Grammy nominations, five CDs (including last year’s Baptized), sold more than 17.5 million albums and is still playing arenas and theaters.
What’s more Daughtry didn’t even win American Idol, he came in fourth.
In Forbes 2012 top 10 Idol money-makers competition Daughtry banked $5 million, five times what Cook took in. And remember, those numbers are gross not net, and Cook still had his album deal for much of that year.
What got me thinking about the two Idol winners was turning past an AXS TV concert with Daughtry on television earlier today. That and the announcement earlier this week that Daughtry will embark this summer on a third leg of a co-headling tour with Three Doors Down.
So while Mark Valentine basically said – that it’s highly unlikely that Cook will end up sleeping under any bridges in this life – where do you go next after playing Knuckleheads on the way down the career ladder at age 31?
Kansas City Star freelancer Bill Brownlee tried to put a positive spin on Cook’s recent Knuckleheads gig – his second in three months.
“Detractors have been quick to pounce on David Cook’s appearance at Knuckleheads as an indication that the career of the winner of the 2008 season of ‘American Idol’ is fading,” Brownlee began.
That’s funny, I wonder who Brownlee’s referring to?
“The extensive list of legends that have graced the primary stage of Knuckleheads serves as a reminder that there’s no shame in performing at the East Bottoms roadhouse,” Brownlee summarized.
That’s just silly. It’s one thing for long past their prime acts like Merle Haggard (76) Leon Russell (71) and Johnny Winter (69) to grace the stage of hip clubs like Knuckleheads. Quite another for a barely 30 year-old reality show winner with a single lukewarm album and arena tour under his belt and no record deal.
There’s little doubt that middle age mothers and grandmothers will be buying Cook drinks every chance they get for a long, long time – possibly forever. However the chances that classic rock radio will be playing Cook tracks a couple decades from now – at this stage of the game anyway – appear to be between slim and none.
I wouldn’t bet the farm on him either, but he’s blowing the doors off of David Cook.