Baby Boomer Shindig will be held Saturday, July 28, 6:00 p.m. at the Blackhorse, Winona. This year the benevolent cause is 7-year-old Laina Koenig, who recieved a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother, Penny. Her dad is Jason Koenig.
Winona Post: Another Baby Boomer Shindig is fast approaching?
Steve Cooker: Ya vol mein frauline. This Saturday July 28, 6:00 p.m. at the Blackhorse.
Post: Where did you get the nickname “Cooker?”
Cooker: It served me well as a marketable name when I was entertaining folks on the radio in a past life. A neighbor boy, Greg Lossen, was the first to call me that. It stuck and has been on T-shirts/Jackets/Billboards/Liscense plates/publications/and bathroom walls.
Post: When did you form the Baby Boomer Boogie Band?
Cooker: 4 or 5 years ago I put it together with Jay Krupka who was Bobby Vinton’s drummer for 10 years. He toured the free world with Bobby, then he played in the house band at the big casino (I forget which one) in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He played with anyone you can name just about. His wife’s job moved them to Woodbury. He still is the most talented drummer/singer/guitarist I’ve ever worked with. He played one gig with us then he had a heart attack and was done playing. Brian Wehlage of Winona replaced him for a couple years. We brought in bass player Dick Roby (class of ‘64 or ‘65 Richfield High School) from the “Castaways” (Liar Liar-1965 hit song.) Dick played with everybody from the Mamas and Papas to Gary Lewis and the Playboys, the Beach Boys, the Grass Roots and many more. On the way to gigs he would tell me countless stories of living in Hollywood in the mid ‘60s. That “one hit wonder” song opened many doors for him. The Castaways were on TV shows like “Hullabaloo” “Where The Action Is,” and four major motion pictures like “Good Morning Viet Nam” with Robin Williams. One time we were riding to a gig when the song “Harper Valley PTA” by Jeannie C. Riley, came on the radio…Dick said, “Oh, Steve, that’s my old roommate (so and so) on the drums, he and I and two members of the Mothers of Invention lived together.” Jay and Dick’s names with my promotional skills got us in the well-guarded Twin Cities market.
Post: Who’s playing with you now?
Cooker: Bob Rydman on bass and vocals (remember Bob with the New World Congregation in the mid to late ‘60s?), LaCrosse guitarist and singer Craig Olson, renowned drummer Joe Seraphino Moran, Californee Dave Biesanz, Twin City Hoola Hoop manufacturer Rick Foreman, West Point grad John Bell on keyboards and whoever else joins in.
Post: A lot of people show up for this. What benevolent cause will you try to help out this Saturday?
Cooker: My girlfriends’ 7-year-old grandaughter Laina Koenig had a life-saving kidney transplant from her mother, Penny. Her dad is Jason Koenig who works at TRW. They have to travel to Madison, Wisconsin, often for treatments and stay in motels costing a small fortune. We’re just hoping the “Boomers” will kick in a buck or two. This is not a “benefit” just a low-key,no-obligation, free-will helping hand to one of our own. Next time it will be for one of you reading this.
Post: Sounds like fun ‘60s music this Saturday, Steve. Any closing comments?
Cooker: “Zai Ghing!” (see you later)
Post: Oh, you speak Mandarin Chinese?
Cooker: “Ser, ye dien dien.” (Yes, a little.)
Cooker: “She she, nee hun peow laia.” (Thank you, you are very nice looking.)
Post: Thank you.
Cooker: “Boo ya ka chee.” (You are welcome.)