Founded in the summer of ’69, this group of musicians came together for the purpose of providing “LIVE” rock ’n’ roll music for hire. The band was a melding together of four musicians from local garage bands, and with the addition of a fifth member in 1970, the band was complete. Consisting of Eric (Bomber) Boetger on drums, Gene (Genoe) Plucker on bass guitar and vocals, Pete (Papa) Goede providing lead vocals, with Terry (Hubie) Hubert and Terry (Chic) Chicoine on guitar and background vocals, they were “The Establishment.”
With a couple of attempts at adding a keyboard player, The Establishment found its success as a guitar-based band. The song list was a range of 60’s and 70’s rock; from the ‘mellow’ Creedence Clearwater Revival hits, the boogie of ZZ Top, and the drive of Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, REO, KISS, and Grand Funk. The repertoire was chosen from popular radio rock of the day.
At that time, chances of attending a Stones or Zeppelin concert were slim. Finding it frustrating that nationally known acts rarely played the Midwest afforded The Establishment an opportunity – to make it their “mission” to take rock ’n’ roll music to the surrounding regions in Iowa, South Dakota, and Nebraska. This allowed rock music fans in those areas to experience the music they loved performed live. This frustration was the beginning of “The Establishment Rock & Roll Music Show”. The show not only provided solid rock music but also glitz, lights, flashes and flames and fog for hundreds of functions such as high school dances, weddings, neighborhood dances, county fairs, summerfests, special events, and club gigs.
The Establishment started out very modestly. Not able to afford the necessary sound equipment, or transportation, they bought what they could and built the rest. Their families pitched in with transportation, and custom costume design and creation. As the band evolved, the equipment and show also evolved. Theatrical props were created, costumes were designed, platform shoes were purchased, and a 48?passenger school bus was converted into a rock ‘n’ roll fantasy ride.
The band got together at each other’s homes to initiate marketing campaigns. Posters and letters were printed, and information on target audiences was gathered. The Establishment mailed hundreds of promo packages to the targets in every town within a 150 mile radius of Sioux City. It worked and the band became a regional hit over the next 7 years, playing high schools, events and venues from Geddes, SD, to York, NE, to Ruthven, IA and everywhere between.
Although the band booked most of their own gigs, they did work with agents from Omaha, Kansas City and Iowa. They were offered a chance to take the identity of a well-known regional act whose name an agent owned. But they remained focused on their mission – to be The Establishment Rock & Roll Music Show and entertained in the Midwest. Having the infrastructure in place, i.e., equipment, costumes, theatrics, a rockin’ song list and transportation, they took to the streets playing for hundreds of functions from 1970 to 1977. They have lots of stories to tell but mostly they remember the enjoyment they got from playing rock ‘n’ roll together. All five members gigged together for seven years, disbanding in 1977 to raise families and pursue individual careers.
The Establishment’s career highlights included: being a part of numerous homecomings and proms; placing first in the 1975 KMNS Rhythm Festival; playing to welcome home Vietnam prisoners of war; playing at a Summer Rockin’ night with fellow Sioux City friends/rockers Bonesteel at Atokad Park (sponsored by KMNS, and emceed by Captain America – Tom Peterson); playing many of Northwest Iowa’s famous ballrooms and just having a good time playing rock ‘n’ roll! The Establishment had gotten back together a few times over the years for special events, but in 2005 decided to make it serious again. Four of the original five are still gigging together, even though hundreds of miles physically separate them.
The members of The Establishment are very proud to have been nominated, and now inducted into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along side some of the bands who inspired them. Thank you to the Iowa Rock & Roll Music Association for keeping the music alive – Rock On!