New "American Idol" From Oklahoma

Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 11:59 am
By: News On 6

Oklahoma's idol-worship continues. First, it was Carrie Underwood. On Wednesday night, Tulsan David Cook became the latest singing sensation to win American Idol. As News On 6's Steve Berg reports, this time last year, he was a local bartender, who played music on the side.

Gray Snail owner Rob Mason knew Cook when his career was just simmering.

"One of the bartenders here said I've got a friend of mine that works down at Rehab that plays acoustic," said Rob Mason, Gray Snail owner.

Cook served drinks at the Rehab Lounge at 18th and Boston in the evenings and then he would head over to the Gray Snail, where he performed every other Wednesday for $200 a show. Rob Mason liked his singing enough that he wanted Cook to start an hour earlier. But, Cook said he would have to pay to cover his shift at the Rehab.

"So, he said would you be able to cough up another $50 for the two of us to split? Which, is absolutely hilarious now since I probably won't be able to pay his taxes next year," said Mason.

The Tulsa friends of the newest American Idol say they always knew he had talent. Still, they say it's amazing to think he's gone from Tulsa bartender to national music star in 6 months.

"I mean he could have been sitting in one of those chairs," said Mason.

"It was amazing. I actually cried last night," said Jake Crandall, who hired Cook at the Rehab.

Crandall has moved on to a finance job.

"He wanted any job he could get. He was asking basically to be a personal assistant of people, just anything. He wanted to work about 20 hours a week, so he could focus on his musical career," said Crandall.

But, neither of them is claiming they knew Cook would hit it big.

"Absolutely not; I knew he had a pocket full of talent, but I had not idea how many pockets he actually had," said Mason.

Mason hopes he'll play the Snail again someday.

"I certainly hope he will, but I'm pretty sure that $250 is not going to get it done," said Mason.

David Cook will be playing at the BOK Center. He's part of the American Idols live show on September 13.