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Elgin man remembers musical past, keeps following passion today

Posted: October 27, 2011 12:36 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Dean Cook first realized his passion for music in 1965 after watching The Beatles perform in Houston, Texas, his hometown.

While Cook’s musical talents have taken him on many wild rides over the years, Cook has retired and settled down in Elgin, where he now lives with his wife, Joanne.

Cook started out as a bass guitar player with a band made up of a few high school friends.

"We played around Texas and got pretty popular," Cook said.

The group, Cook said, was one of the few rock bands in the United States at the time.

"Everyone else was playing country western," he said.

The only other band playing music similar to Cook’s, he said, was The Who.

The Dream Machine, Cook’s band, went on tour across the United States as the opening performer with The Who.

Cook, 17 years old at the time, became friends with Pete Townshend, the guitarist for The Who.

"One of my favorite memories is one afternoon in San Antonio when we went for a sound check before a show (with The Who)."

Cook said he walked into the auditorium and heard someone playing the piano -- it was Townshend.

"So I asked Pete what he was playing, he said ‘well, it’s just something I’m working on, do you like it?’ I said ‘yeah it’s really good,’" he said.

Cook said he didn’t think much about it until two years later when he heard the same tune come on the radio.

"It was the overture of ‘Tommy’ the rock opera. Which really made them famous. That song is really what put The Who on the map."

Cook said after graduating from high school, the members of The Dream Machine went their separate ways.

Since then, Cook has performed with Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Cook said while playing with a band in Austin sometime in 1971, he was approached by Nelson to play bass for his band.

"This was before Willie Nelson was Willie Nelson," Cook said. "He was known mostly at that time as a song writer, not a performer."

Cook worked with him for eight months and decided to take a different career path.

"I said, you know, this is fun but it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life," Cook said. "Willie is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Quiet, humble, give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy."

He said even while following a different career path, he’s always kept music as his hobby.

"I still play music around the area. I’ve started writing music, 40 or 50 songs. A couple of people have recorded a few of my songs, but none of them are famous, or on the radio or anything," he said.

To read more about Cook and his 1960s band, The Dream Machine, visit


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