By: Bill Thames
Sometimes the phone rings and even though the person on the other end is an old and cherished friend, you know right off the bat that it’s not good news. Well, this morning I received just one of those phone calls.
Yesterday, Bill Cook, the former owner of the Martinique, and the original Wreck Bar, on the corner of Wild Olive and Main Street in Daytona Beach, passed away in the company of friends and people who loved him deeply. He had been ill for some time.
In its heyday, the Martinique was the Fillmore of the East coast of Florida, and the stage there was home to hundreds of musicians who later went on to make names for themselves. Some of the notable musicians that graced Bill Cook’s stage were: Gregg and Duane Allman, in the Escorts, Allman Joys, and Hourglass, Pete Carr, Paul Hornsby, Johnny Sandlin, Spencer Davis, Stevie Windwood, B. J. Thomas, and Lenny LeBlanc; just to name a few. The Martinique was more than just a nightclub and a paycheck to the close-nit group of musicians that played there, and the music lovers that frequented the club. Because of the kindness and warmheartedness of Bill Cook and Ringo, the Martinique was more of a big clubhouse for musicians, and their friends. Bill Cook provided an atmosphere where musicians could grow and develop their talents. All were welcome, at any time, and no matter how bad business was, Bill would always find a slot for one of “his” bands.
He will be deeply missed by all that knew him.