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Richard Derrick was born in Torrance, California in 1961, and is a lifelong resident of nearby San Pedro. He began playing music at an early age, starting with piano at age four, guitar at age ten, then learning both drums and bass guitar at 15. Attempts to find like-minded musicians in and around San Pedro became frustrating, and by 1982 Derrick began spending more time in Los Angeles, performing in various musical settings.
In 1984 Derrick became roommates with Minutemen singer/guitarist D. Boon, and they began playing together informally with Crane, who played trumpet and sang on a few Minutemen records. The trio called themselves Cosmic Joke, but public performance was limited to two private parties.
Derrick and Crane continued performing together, and in 1987, after several attempts with different musicians, they began working as a duo under the name Another Umbrella, which utilized extended delay guitar loops, pre-recorded instruments, slide shows, and a strong emphasis on improvisation. This went against the grain of what was popular in Los Angeles clubs at the time, but they did perform regularly around town and on radio, most notably at The Museum Of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles. Other musicians who performed with Another Umbrella include keyboardist Paul Roessler and flutist/vocalist Emily Hay.
In 1997, two weeks after the final Another Umbrella show, Derrick began performing with drummer Bob Lee and a core of revolving musicians (including Nels Cline and Joe Baiza) under the name Solo Career, a side-project which lasted until 2002, performing whenever the musicians' schedules allowed.
Between 1992 and 1994 Derrick produced concerts in Los Angeles for Canterbury Scene musicians Kevin Ayers, Richard Sinclair, Gilli Smyth and Tim Blake. In 1998 and 2000 Derrick organized and financed two California mini-tours with Ayers, eventually releasing the best of this material on the Alive In California CD through his own Box-O-Plenty Records.
Derrick has also released the best of the home recordings with Boon as D. Boon and Friends, as well as the sole album by Solo Career, Season Finale, which features artwork by British artist Paul Whitehead (best known for his art on the Genesis albums Foxtrot, Trespass and Nursery Cryme).
In 2005 Derrick began to experience symptoms of what was eventually diagnosed as Parkinson's disease, most likely as the result of head injuries sustained during an assault at a San Pedro record store in 1990. With most of the flexibility in his left-hand fingers now gone, he is unable to play guitar, bass or drums at his former level. As he was still able to play basic guitar chords, he joined several friends from the Los Angeles music scene to perform a tribute to Pink Floyd founder Syd Barrett, which they called A Room Of Musical Tunes. A one-off performance in September 2006 was eventually followed by two performances in May 2007 and January 2009.
In the summer of 2007, Derrick went through his entire recording archive and edited the highlights for posterity, ending up with 70 hours of music. The first of these recordings to be publicly available are seven hours of music (spread out over eleven albums) by Another Umbrella, released exclusively on digital downloads with no discs being pressed, in March 2008.
Derrick remains active on the Los Angeles music scene, although on more of a behind-the-scenes level. Derrick closed down Box-O-Plenty Records in June 2011.