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Posted September 19, 2012 by Always Acoustic in Interviews

David Cook Interview

Saturday, August 9, 2008, 3:00 p.m. EST

Courtesy Photograph Provided by 19 Entertainment

David Cook and I discussed via telephone American Idol, Axium, Analog Heart, freedom to be either a solo singer or in a band like Daughtry, his musical inspirations, playing acoustically and his Post-American Idol album.

AARON KEKER: Hey everyone! This is Aaron Keker from Always Acoustic™ on the line with David Cook from American Idol. How you doing David?

DAVID COOK: I’m good! How are you?

AARON KEKER: I’m all right man! First, of all I would like to congratulate you on winning American Idol.

DAVID COOK: Oh, thank you!

AARON KEKER: So, when Ryan Seacrest announced David Cook as the winner on American Idol, what were you thinking at that time?

DAVID COOK: You know I wish it would’ve been something really poignant. But I think more than anything, I just wasn’t thinking. It was kind of a weird out of body experience anyway. I felt like I was watching it. So, I don’t know. I guess my brain just kind of shut off. [laughs]

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Right. In your wildest imagination, could you have ever dreamt this any better?

DAVID COOK: No, not really. I mean you know the schedule has been nuts since the finale. It’s been with all these things that you know I’ve always wanted to do. You know to work on a major label record and to tour the country. But to be able to do them both at the same time, I mean it’s a lot… You know my worst day doing this still beats my best day of doing what I was doing before.

AARON KEKER: Right. Did you enjoy the new format of American Idol, which allowed the contestants to play an instrument?

DAVID COOK: I think it was integral to me in having any sort of success on the show to be honest with you. I think… to allow us the opportunity to showcase other sides of ourselves musically as opposed to just being, you know, singers. I definitely think it upped the ante on the show this season and you know it allowed us all to flourish a little bit more. So, I necessarily enjoyed it and I definitely see it as an integral part of what worked for me.

AARON KEKER: Yeah, I know. I think actually a lot of people… enjoyed seeing instruments… being played you know with musicians this time around.

DAVID COOK: Exactly. Yeah.

AARON KEKER: How much rehearsal and non-rehearsal time did it take to prepare for each week on American Idol?

DAVID COOK: Really it was constant. I think once we got to that Top 12, I don’t think I ever really got out and really did much… Everything kind of revolved around getting ready for the next week. You know the toughest part for me was… in order to do well on that show I feel like you got to do more than just go up and sing the song. You got to really kind of invest yourself in it and once you’re done singing it. The hard part for me was to immediately disconnect from that song and start looking forward to next week. So, it’s a constant thing especially on the show to just really concentrate on what you’re doing musically and up the ante every week.

AARON KEKER: Right. Did you ever get nervous when you actually were on stage?

DAVID COOK: Never got nervous. I always got anxious… I’m more comfortable I think performing than I am doing anything else. And so you know I get more nervous doing interviews to be honest with you. [laughs]

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Oh, really? You’re not nervous about this one are you?

DAVID COOK: Well you know. I am more nervous about this than about performing, I guess is a better way to put it ––


DAVID COOK: but I’m not necessarily nervous.  

AARON KEKER: Right. Before American Idol, you were the lead singer and guitarist in the band Axium from 1999 until 2006.


AARON KEKER: Why did Axium break up in 2006?

DAVID COOK: You know it had just run its course. We’d gone through some lineup changes and had a less than amicable split from one of the founders. You know some opportunities come up for me to go down to Tulsa and join a band down there. For me the time had come to just go do something else. Axium was the only band that I’ve ever been in and I think in order to be a more well rounded musician I needed to have some different experiences… But I still talk to, you know, a couple of the guys from the band and still consider them good friends. They actually came out to check out one of the tour stops. So ––

AARON KEKER: That’s cool.

DAVID COOK: it’s definitely a cool part of my life but I just think like most things its just run its course and I needed to do something else.

AARON KEKER: Right. Did Axium release any albums during that time?

DAVID COOK: Yeah, actually we released a lot of records. I’m actually glad you bring that up.

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

DAVID COOK: … It’s been a real bittersweet for me because through the process of this show people have really started to grasp on to like the stuff that I was a part of before the show. Unfortunately, I’ve had an old band member really try to take advantage of that situation and has been selling Axium CD’s ––


DAVID COOK: for just awful amounts of money and really kind of gouging the people that have supported me through this process. So, let me use this platform to say I really hope that people stop giving him a reason to keep doing it.

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Well Axium was very successful between having “Hold” played before previews on over 10,000 AMC screens nationwide. ––


AARON KEKER: Were voted as one of the top 15 bands in the “Got Milk” contest and was chosen as the best band in Kansas City in 2004. ––


AARON KEKER: Were you surprised by your earlier success as a musician?

DAVID COOK: Yes and no. I mean… I don’t know if you can ever expect anybody to really gravitate towards what you’re doing. But at the same time I mean we all put a lot of work into it you know. And so… the old adagium if you work hard enough good things will happen. I think was kind of how we operated and so when good things did happen, I mean it wasn’t surprising in the aspect like wow we really didn’t have to do anything. But it was surprising just in the fact that wow these people are taking notice of what we’re doing which is cool. The only success I think, you know, has to be attributed to the collective. I thought everybody really pulled their weight.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well it’s good. Besides Axium, you released a solo independent album titled Analog Heart ––


AARON KEKER: in 2006. Is that album available online?

DAVID COOK: I don’t believe that it is other than just through sharing it, which I think is great, you know. I’m really proud of that record. Obviously, you know it was my first foray in doing something by myself. I think it was a good kind of photograph of where I was at that point of my life and hopefully moving forward, I think the positive response that I’ve gotten from that record both previous to Idol and after it. You know I feel like if I can make a positive step forward from that record, hopefully the skies the limit with this new one.

AARON KEKER: Right. Now are any of those songs going to be on this new album? I thought I read somewhere online about that.

DAVID COOK: I’m sorry?

AARON KEKER: I thought I read about some of those songs might actually make it on your debut album?

DAVID COOK: They were submitted for the record but you know I just want this record to be a record. In that, I don’t want it to just be a collection of songs. I want there to be some cohesion. I want the record to flow. So, it’s just a matter of whatever songs fit. But I’ve been doing a ton of writing, since the show ended. I actually have another record done that I never released. So, I mean we have quite a lot of material to sift through – its just a matter, you know, letting the cream rise to the tops so to speak.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well you have been singing since second grade and relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2006 to pursue a musical career, correct?

DAVID COOK: Yep. Yeah.

AARON KEKER: Well obviously, you possessed singing talent between growing up, Axium and your solo project, so why didn’t you want to originally audition with Andrew on American Idol?

DAVID COOK: You know that it had nothing to do with the show really. I just have been working on a record and was really proud of where I was going. And I just kind of wanted to see it through on my own terms. And I think that was my mindset like going into Omaha. And then obviously other things intervened you know. It was never a lack of respect for the show. I mean, I think the common misconception of the show is people look at it like it’s just a pop machine and I don’t know that’s the case. Obviously, it’s an amazing platform but it is what you do after the show that really dictates your success. Which is why you’ve got some winners that maybe didn’t have the success that people expected them to. And you have had some people that didn’t win that went on to great things. So, you know it’s a work ethic more than anything. I think it’s just all what you’re willing to put into it after the fact.

Unfortunately, I’ve had an old band member really try to take advantage of that situation… let me use this platform and say I really hope that people stop giving him a reason to keep doing it

AARON KEKER: Right. Well at what point did you decide to audition?

DAVID COOK: Standing in line ––

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

DAVID COOK: that Wednesday at registration. Yeah, I was just standing there with my brother and somebody came up with a camera and interviewed us. I was like “I’m not auditioning.” And they go “well you are now.”

AARON KEKER: [laughs]

DAVID COOK: And the rest as they say.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well have you watched American Idol before then?

DAVID COOK: I had a real base knowledge of it. I mean I knew obviously what the show was. And I could probably have named a handful of contestants. I wasn’t like a religious follower or anything.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well you were praised on songs like “Billie Jean” and criticized on others like “Eleanor Rigby.” How did you deal with the negative criticism?

DAVID COOK: I mean look this competition isn’t for the faint of heart. If you don’t have at least a base confidence in what you’re doing, you’re just going to get eaten alive. I mean you’re on a nationally televised show that is syndicated internationally and everybody has an opinion. But the end of the day for me was really just being confident in what I was able to do and what I wasn’t able to do.


DAVID COOK: So… The quote that I live by was “whether you’re pleasing or pissing everybody off you’re doing something wrong.”

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Right. Of all of the songs that you performed on American Idol, which song was your favorite?

DAVID COOK: “Music of the Night.” I think to be able to kind of fall back on my theater background a little bit when most people didn’t expect me to be able to do it. It was fun for me. I love kind of taking people’s expectations or assumptions and kind of flipping them around a little bit.

AARON KEKER: Right. Which bands or musicians inspire David Cook?

DAVID COOK: Our Lady Peace, Big Wreck, Muse. Bands like that.

AARON KEKER: Do you like big bands like Guns N’ Roses and Bon Jovi?

DAVID COOK: I mean I like Guns N’ Roses. I like Bon Jovi. I just think as far as you know base inspirations, I definitely have to lean more towards like those three.

AARON KEKER: Right. One of my favorite songs by Our Lady Peace is “Somewhere Out There.”


AARON KEKER: What is your favorite song or songs by them?

DAVID COOK: By Our Lady Peace, my two favorite songs by them are “4 am” and “Potato Girl.”

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Aren’t you actually doing something with Our Lady Peace too?

DAVID COOK: Yeah. Actually, I got a chance to sit down and do some co-writing right after the tour with Raine Maida their singer. Which was a huge thrill for me. I mean it couldn’t of made it any easier. Sort of a down-to-earth guy.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well besides Our Lady Peace, what other bands or musicians would you enjoy touring with?

DAVID COOK: Touring with… Let’s see, there’s a lot. I mean Jimmy Eat World, Our Lady Peace, Thornley, Big Wreck, Muse. And if Guns N’ Roses ever got back together I wouldn’t be too upset to do that. There’s a lot. I could go on for days with that one.

AARON KEKER: [laughs] Yeah, I know. So, do you enjoy playing acoustically?

DAVID COOK: Yeah. I think there is a time and place for acoustic performances. And I think when you can hit it right; it could be, you know, really intimate. But I remember playing acoustic gigs before the show and it was fun. They’re just laid back and nobody’s really expecting you to do anything like too crazy. You just go out and play music and hopefully people enjoy it. I think there’s something very basic and ethereal about an acoustic guitar.

AARON KEKER: Right. After the tour with American Idol concludes, will you be concentrating on releasing your album Post-American Idol?

DAVID COOK: Yeah. Actually, I am in the middle of working on it right now along with the tour. The goal is to get it out as soon as possible. I think we’re shooting for like sometime in November. And then you know after that… I want this record to be successful so I am going to try and do as much as I can to make that happen. The goal is always to get to the next record. But I think right now, I am really just trying to focus in on putting out a solid record.

AARON KEKER: Right. Well do you have any working album or song titles yet?

DAVID COOK: No, not yet. It’s all really in the conception phase. I mean we’re going through the recording process but a lot of these songs are untitled. I really just want… to be able to pick a name on the spot and have it just be, you know, kind of a gut instinct thing. And… I’m going to wait to name the record when we’ve got the songs more mapped out. I want a title that is going to be indicative of that kind of music on it.

AARON KEKER: Right. Are you going to drop down any songs acoustically?

DAVID COOK: I’m sorry?

AARON KEKER: Are you going to drop any songs down acoustically?

DAVID COOK: I don’t know. I wouldn’t mind it. Again it’s just kind of what fits the record.

AARON KEKER: … All right. Well final question.


AARON KEKER: Now that you are the new American Idol, or should I say American Rock Idol ––


AARON KEKER: do you get the flexibility to at least choose between being a solo artist or the lead singer in your own band like Daughtry?

DAVID COOK: Actually, they have given me more or less carte blanche, which is what I want to do. Which has been great. 19/RCA has been amazing in letting me do a record I want to do. So in that regard, I wouldn’t mind either way. Maybe we can do somewhere in between. Do like David Cook and the web members. But we will see. Time will tell.

AARON KEKER: All right David. Well thanks a lot. I can’t wait to see you when you come and tour in Chicago on your new album.

DAVID COOK: Great Aaron! Thank you very much man!

AARON KEKER: Thanks man! All right! Bye!


In conclusion, for those of you who are David Cook’s supporters, if you really want to support David Cook, make sure you purchase his Post-American Idol album sometime in November of this year. Afterwards, if the label makes available any Axium albums or David Cook’s Analog Heart, purchase those albums at that time. If you decide to purchase any Axium albums now, make sure you are receiving a fair market value and are not being price gouged.