Ronnie M. CookAugust 29, 1952 ~ January 9, 2018 (age 65)
Ronnie M. Cook
Ronnie was born August 29, 1952 in Hamilton, Ohio to Marvin and Bonnie (Shortridge) Cook. He passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side on January 9, 2018. Ronnie is survived by his lifelong soulmate – Doni Jean Pearson. His children Nicole Marie Hanson (Paul), Timothy Marvin Cook, and Christina Ann Green Cook. Grandchildren Curtis James, Jesus Antonio, Ryan Aaron, and Dylan Jeremiah.
The following "Chronological History"
was personally written by Ronnie:
1963 to 1969: I played drums for this entire period. I started in rock n roll then in 1965 I was slapped with a traffic violation for “unlawful riding” (in the trunk of a ’58 Chevy). The manager of the NCO at Fitzsimons Army Base told me that his son was a country singer and needed a drummer. I needed the steady work so Lee Sims and I got hooked up at that time. At the grand old age of 13, I was working almost every weekend.
1970 to 1980: I moved to guitar because we couldn’t find anyone that could play worth a toot, and since I graduated high school in ’70, I was now free to play anytime and anywhere. Lee decided to pursue another career at that time and off I went. Show bands with comedy routines and dance moves, to Nashville, to concerts, back to rock, back to country, back to Tom Jones / Englebert Holiday Inn circuits, Oklahoma with recording artists, and most of this five years was spent on bass guitar. Gibson EB O….I felt like I was in the Animals! I backed up hundreds of top 40 country artists during this period on guitar. I had $5 in my pocket and was in Memphis TN. Lee Sims wired me $35 and I drove straight back to the Platte River Band in Denver…..THAT NIGHT!! We played a lot of Beatles and Bakersfield and were considered more of a show band than a dance band. We blitzed Nevada and the rest of the U.S. in 1974 and finally came home after a year of casinos, show rooms, and dives. In 1976, we booked the Zanza Bar in Denver for 50 weeks a year, six nights a week. The Z Bar was the #1 country-western club in the U.S. at this time. This went on for NINE years. In 1980 I started playing extensively in the studio recording jingles, soundtracks, and corporate promotional songs. That was a great time….I was part of the Denver Wrecking Crew and spent many, many hours in the studio. I also bailed out of the Platte River Band for a year and played with a band called All Over the Road: Gene Chalk (Soul Survivors), Myron Pollack (Sugarloaf) and John McKindle (Beatlemania). HOLY SMOKES did we rock n roll!!!! I couldn’t take the high energy more than a year and went back with Lee at the “Z” bar.
1980 to 1990: A relatively boring decade for me. We ended our stay at the Zanza Bar and moved on to the Trail Dust Steak House, a classic “show up and shut up” gig. Look like a cowboy but don’t let anyone hear what you’re playing. I must say that this was my “bread and butter” for many years and it stole much of my soul and chops. I did get ‘em back after leaving, though. This was also my worst period of alcohol and drug abuse. I barely survived.
1990 to 2000: Recording and clubs. Back Trackin’ with Lee Sims was huge on the relatively new internet format for music. I had one song that I had written on that album, “Don’t Rock the Boat” and it stood pretty well on its own. I didn’t do it intentionally, but it was a good time to write a line-dance song when line-dancing was becoming popular. I joined a band called Wild River in the mid 90’s and my whole musical experience was lifted. Harmony, difficult chord changes, and working with a soulful woman singer all changed my perspective from “guitar” to “painting a picture” musically.
2000 to 2016: I joined Cactus Jack in 2001 and it was back to serious work—club work. We played all over Colorado and Wyoming and did every Saturday at Rocky’s Autos, outside in the lot. I was playing more than sleeping during these years! I have slowed down now, and survived major surgery. I am still playing every weekend, but my days of sleeping on the bus are over. I’m still active in recording, doing several projects including an instrumental album from me. Bankruptcy slowed down the process and I don’t have the building to resume that album. I will find a place and I’m looking forward to finishing, mixing and mastering that collection of recognizable tunes.
A Celebration of Ronnie's life will be announced soon.
Family and friends are encouraged to share stories and photographs of Ronnie here on his website (click appropriate tab on the left side of this page).