If David Cook has learned anything on his whirlwind trip from obscurity to "American Idol" celebrity, it's that, sometimes, it's best to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Which probably explains why — despite the fact that he's standing on a deserted football field on a rather frigid (well, at least for Los Angeles) Thursday night in October — he's still got a mile-wide grin on his face.
He's here to shoot the video for "Light On," the first single from his self-titled album, which hits stores November 18. And though he realizes the video is a fairly big deal (it's directed by Wayne Isham, the guy behind Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Britney Spears' "Piece of Me"), Cook will freely admit that he's rather starstruck by the entire process. Which is odd, considering he's the star.
"We did the first run-through, and I felt real timid because, obviously, I don't have any experience. It's not like I grew up shooting music videos," he laughed. "It's weird, man. Little things keep happening along the way that drive the point home that I'm doing something that's both insane and really fulfilling, and this is one of those things. To be able to shoot a music video is kind of rad — especially something on this scale. So, you know, I hope I don't blow it."
We suspect he's just being modest, because when MTV News was on set — er, field — at L.A. Valley College last Thursday (October 16), Cook looked every bit the pro, rocking out on the 50-yard line and joking with Isham, all while giving off an approachable, decidedly everyman aura. But that's just the way he's wired.
"I was pretty much an open book on ['Idol'], and that's how I am. For me, I take music really seriously — the stuff that I write definitely comes from a serious place — but I don't really take myself all that seriously," he said. "I mean, at the end of the day, I'm out on a football field at 1, 2 a.m. There's a very kind of absurd undertone to most of the things I do, and I'm usually the first to try and get somebody to laugh — but, yeah, I do take some things seriously."
And that includes "Light On" — a song that was co-written by none other than Chris Cornell and one that has already attached itself to the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It's one of Cook's favorites on the album (along with tracks like the piano-laden ballad "Permanent," a "heavy riff-rocker" called "Bar-ba-sol" and "A Daily AntheM," a song he wrote about his brother, Adam, who is battling cancer), though he'd be lying if he said a lot of that didn't have to do with Cornell's involvement.
"I did a version of Cornell's cover of Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' on the show, and Chris went into the media and said some really, really nice things," he explained. "And this song actually got pitched to us, which I take as another huge compliment, the fact that he saw something in me with a song of his ... just the fact that somebody of his caliber takes the time out of their day not just to mention my name, but to say something nice, it's kind of out of this world."
The video for "Light On" is expected to premiere in early November, and until then, Cook will stay busy with a string of high-profile gigs — including a November 1 performance on "Saturday Night Live." And he's already accepting ideas for his next music video, like the one we proposed to him: Why not a cameo by Cook's former "Idol" competitor, David Archuleta?
"Actually, that's not a bad idea, why didn't I think of that?" Cook laughed. "I'd make him the male lead. He'd have to win the girl, and he'd be horribly uncomfortable with that."
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