2003 - Band

Members: Donny Petersen, Merle Pithan, Micky Petersen, Randy Peters, Mike Riley, Jim Andrews, and Bob Birch


From 1973 on, Bonesteel has entertained thousands of music fans and their reunion shows continue to draw sellout crowds.

This 2003 Hall of Fame inductee’s history begins in ’73 with founding members Merle Pithan, Mick Petersen and Donny Petersen. A short time later Randy Peters joined and the four would go on to become the nucleus of the band. When asked, they are quick to point to Mike Riley, Jim Andrews, Bob Birch and a fine road crew, as keys to their success as well. Riley and Birch were the bass players at various intervals during the band’s performing years. They started out as Lazy Day Band.

After hearing this Iowa based band perform at the famous Cabooze in Minneapolis, a record promoter for Warner Brothers suggested a need for a name change. He commented, “Lazy didn’t fit the band and it indicated country. The BONESTEEL BAND has way too much energy and Rock n’ Roll in them.” So, Bonesteel, it became.

Bonesteel’s first album was featured in its entirety on the famous “Beaker Street” program on KAAY Radio in Little Rock, Ark. where the listeners request the music. They appreciated the help of Iowa radio stations KRIB in Mason City, KMNS, KBCM, KWSL and KMNS in Sioux City, promoting their regional hits of “Wheels” and “Hung Up On You Baby” from their second album. Over 6,000 albums, cassettes and CD’s have been sold and are still selling in the music marketplace.

The band played from coast to coast with many national acts such as Molly Hatchet, Pappa John Creech, Neil McCoy, Dirt Band, Rhythm Aces, Baby, Head East, Grinder Switch, Kansas, Ozark Mountain Daredevils and Fog Hat.

Bonesteel broke up in 1982. However, after not performing for over a decade, the band made an amazing comeback in 1996 to begin five sell-out concerts in ’96, ’97, ’98 and 2000. After the 1996 show at the Blues Cellar in Sioux City, the band released a single called “Big Sioux River” that took them from their past Midwest fame to the national spotlight. The song won the band a nomination for the 1999 Golden Music Awards Tracker Magazine Group of the Year for 1998. An award was presented to them by “Nashville Tracker” magazine in 1999.

“Big Sioux River” made it nationally to #1 and #14 on two separate independent charts and just missed the Billboard Chart by a few points.

The 2003 Iowa RockNRoll Hall of Fame Induction Spectacular bring Mickey, Merle, Donny, Randy, Mike, Jim and Bob together again from Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nebraska and Iowa for one last grand performance.


The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Instagram