Hearne: Tale of the Tape; David Cook vs Daughtry

6a00d8341c4fe353ef017c36d0decb970b-320wiHow about we take a more objective look at David Cook?

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.

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

“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.

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 12.48.47 PMHold it right there…

Merle-Haggard-Okie-From-Muskogee-P792014034521That’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.


Merle Haggard today

I wouldn’t bet the farm on him either, but he’s blowing the doors off of David Cook. 

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10 Responses to Hearne: Tale of the Tape; David Cook vs Daughtry

  1. paulwilsonkc says:

    You overlooked the REAL Idol winner; Simon Cowell! Revenue comes screaming his way faster than the output end of the Fed Reserve printing presses,regardless, and it’s music biz genius. He keeps his fingers in show ownership, the recording contracts of the top 10, if I remember, as well as the post season concert tour they do.
    SC optimizes every margin dollar to be had while they are hot, IF they get hot, and off loads the expense when sales diminish.
    And his promotion expense? The SHOW he’s already making money from.
    His risk exposure? NONE, as long as viewers stay tuned to the less and less exciting show.
    It’s good to be Simon, if the top finishers make it long term or not! Either way, Simon stays winning.

    • the dude says:

      And he gets to bang hid good friend’s wives and have children out of wedlock with them! What a great guy! **cough** DICK!

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Dude, sorry I didn’t include that; I assumed with dickish behavior went without mention. Mega Douchyness is as much a part of you he is as his size-too-small tee shirts.
        That’s all I can say before I’m pointed out as a hypocrite….

  2. rkcal says:

    If Jardine’s ever had a grand re-opening with David Cook head-lining this site would, like, blow-up.

  3. harley says:

    hearne again attacks a guy who went from local bars to national music
    But again…hearne’s never done anything in his life.
    He thinks a reporter refers to him…no way hearne…you’re not the
    ouly guy who’s tried to publicly bring down cooks career.
    not cool…but what would we expect.
    asfor simon…think what he made off that group one direction….
    smart smart man.

  4. PB says:

    I don’t give a shit how successful that Daughtry might be from a monetary stand point, that guy and the Nickelbacks and Trains of the world are the absolute epitome of how fcked the music business is. Using this ridiculously flawed logic, Justin Beiber beats the crap out of a musical icons like Allen Toussaint and Tony Joe White.

    Not sure what David Cook may have done to you in the past, but there’s no legit reason for bashing on a local boy makes good, especially one that didn’t completely compromise his musical ideals during that process. Perhaps Mr.Cook’s fall from Idol-level stardom is an irritant to the jealousy-fueled, frustrated musician buried deep inside of you somewhere, but there shouldn’t be any shame in his realizing his life-long ambition of being a working musician that is still adored many. Give it a rest, man, you’re only embarrassing YOURSELF in your continued and unreasonable efforts to defame David Cook.

    • admin says:

      Fair enough…

      I’m actually with you on your Daughtry take…musically speaking, that is. However, the comparison I’m making isn’t about whether one Idol member sang country or schlock and another hard rock, etc.

      It’s a critical look at the music reality show phenomenon in general which calls into question, not just David Cook but many (if not most) of the other winners, well on their way to becoming yesterday’s news. Look at that list of Idols who no longer have record contracts and think back to how big some of them were at the time.

      Clay Aiken being one of them.

      The latest on Aiken being that he’s thinking of running for Congress. So who knows where these guys artificial fame will take them. Cook could end up running for governor of Missouri!

      Here’s my deal; I have no problem with Cook personally or otherwise. I judged a battle of the bands a couple years earlier in Olathe and selected his band as the winner. However for the most part they weren’t do pop covers and attempted Top 40 hits. They were playing mostly original alt rock.

      You say Cook didn’t compromise his ideals. I suspect you are completely unaware of what those ideals were before he TOTALLY compromised them to try and win a mainstream television reality show.

      Hey, I did play piano and drums, but never fancied myself a “frustrated musician.”

      Cook may “still” be “adored” by some, but I’m not so sure about “many.”

      It’s a long way from the stages of the Sprint Center (18,000) and Midland (3,000) to Knuckleheads (500 and change?)

      • PB says:

        First off, I said he didn’t COMPLETELY compromise his ideals. For a guy that fancies himself as a somewhat legit musician, just taking part in American Idol was indeed a huge compromise, but at least he seemed to stay somewhat true to his previous vision as at the time, part of his appeal was that he was the atypical Idol. While you bring up a fair point about the other Idols, I think the difference with Cook is that at least he’s not a total product of that show and even with his huge drop in popularity, I think he’ll be just fine with his new lot in life as a small-time, working musician as opposed to some of those others who are no doubt hoping and praying for a reboot of The Surreal Life.

  5. Factopinions says:

    Performing at Knuckleheads > writing for a blog

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