Alabama Guitarist Jeff Cook Announces He Has Parkinson's Disease
Jeff Cook, the lead guitarist, fiddle and keyboard player for country legends Alabama, has announced that he is suffering from Parkinson's disease.
Cook talked with The Tennessean, telling them that he was diagnosed with the ailment four years ago but that it has now progressed far enough that he can no longer tour with the band.
Parkinson's is a disease of the nervous system that causes tremors and affects movement, getting worse progressively over time.
Cook read a statement to the newspaper, saying:
This disease robs you of your coordination, your balance, and causes tremors. For me, this has made it extremely frustrating to try and play guitar, fiddle or sing. I’ve tried not to burden anyone with the details of my condition because I do not want the music to stop or the party to end, and that won’t change no matter what. Let me say, I’m not calling it quits but sometimes our bodies dictate what we have to do, and mine is telling me it’s time to take a break and heal.
Cook added that he will play just two more shows, May 27 in Orange Beach, AL and a fan event in July. The band, in turn, said that they will keep Cook's microphone on stage no matter what.
Jeff Cook worked as a DJ while still in High School and started the band Wildcountry in 1972 with friends Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry. Changing their name to Alabama in 1977, the three musicians have been together now for 45 years except for breaks in 2005 and from 2007 to 2011.
From 1981 to 1989, Alabama had eight straight number 1 albums and 27 number 1 singles out of 28 straight releases. They had five additional number 1's during the 90's. Their last album was Southern Drawl (2015 / #2 Country / #14 Pop).
Cook has also released a number of solo albums.