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Derringer live with Ringo Starr in 2011
|Birth name||Ricky Dean Zehringer|
August 5, 1947 |
Fort Recovery, Ohio, United States
|Genres||Hard rock, blues-rock, funk rock, pop, Christian rock, blues, jazz fusion|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Associated acts||The McCoys, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Ringo Starr's 11th All-Starr Band|
Rick Derringer (born Ricky Dean Zehringer; August 5, 1947) is an American guitarist, vocalist, Grammy Award-winning producer and entertainer. He came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of The McCoys, when he was brought in to record lead vocals for the number one hit single with "Hang on Sloopy". He then turned to blues rock, scoring a 1974 hit with "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo". He has worked extensively with brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, and with the group Steely Dan. He also worked with "Weird Al" Yankovic, producing Yankovic's Grammy Award-winning songs Eat It and Fat, and with the World Wrestling Federation, penning entrance songs for Hulk Hogan and Demolition.
Life and career
Early life and 1960s
Derringer was born in Fort Recovery, Ohio, the son of Janice Lavine (Thornburg) and John J. Zehringer, a railroad worker. He started a band in Ohio initially known as "The Rick Z Combo", and later known as "Rick and the Raiders". In the summer of 1965, when Derringer was 17, he recorded lead vocals over an already-recorded backing track provided by The Strangeloves for the song Hang on Sloopy. It was released under the band name The McCoys, to avoid confusion with another popular band of the era, Paul Revere and the Raiders. It became the number one song in America for a week; "Yesterday" by The Beatles knocked it out of the top spot and remained no. 1 for a month. The single was issued by Bang Records. Derringer adopted his stage name at this time, inspired by the Bang Records logo which featured a derringer pistol.
The McCoys opened for The Rolling Stones on the entire 1966 American tour. Before "Hang on Sloopy" they were seen often at LeSourdsville Lake Amusement Park in southwest Ohio at Friday night WSAI (Cincinnati, Ohio) radio-sponsored dances. They were a part of the local summer dance experience along with Ivan and the Sabers on WING (Dayton, Ohio) radio Monday-night dances.
Derringer also had a successful solo career, and his solo version of "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" was a hit single in 1973. The years 2013–2014 mark the 40th anniversary of Derringer's first solo tracks on All American Boy, which was released on October 15, 1973. The album's success was rated so highly by its record company, Blue Sky Records, that it claimed every college dorm room in America had one. He also recorded extensively with Steely Dan, playing slide guitar on songs including "Show Biz Kids" and "Chain Lightning".
In late 1974, Derringer played guitar on Joe Vitale's debut solo album Roller Coaster Weekend produced by The Albert Brothers (Ron, and Howard). The album featured other famous guitarists Joe Walsh and Phil Keaggy.
In the last half of the 1970s, Rick Derringer fronted the hard rock band Derringer, releasing a self-titled debut, followed by Sweet Evil and If I Weren't So Romantic, I'd Shoot You. The latter included a cover of Warren Zevon's Lawyers, Guns and Money as well as material by Alice Cooper and Bernie Taupin. Bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummers Vinny Appice and Myron Grombacher passed through the group's lineup. Appice later joined Black Sabbath during the Ronnie James Dio era and Grombacher joined Pat Benatar's band.
Derringer opened for Led Zeppelin in Oakland, California on their last American tour in 1977. Derringer was also a featured guitarist on several Todd Rundgren albums in the 1970s, including Something/Anything? (1972), A Wizard, a True Star (1973), Initiation (1975) and the live album Back to the Bars (1978).
Derringer also performed a track for the World Wrestling Federation on The Wrestling Album. "Real American" would later be used as Hulk Hogan's entrance music (and was associated before with the tag team, The U.S. Express). Derringer also performed the entrance theme for WWF Tag Team Demolition on Piledriver:The Wrestling Album 2, as well as a duet version of "Rock 'n Roll Hoochie Koo" with Gene Okerlund.
In the 1980s, Derringer expanded his producing skills, by producing for Mason Ruffner as well as the first 6 "Weird Al" Yankovic albums. He also played on the second Silver Condor album on the track "Thank God For Rock and Roll", produced and sung by Joe Cerisano. He has played for "Weird Al" on many of his albums, playing guitar and mandolin; on the track "Eat It", Derringer played the guitar solo, an homage/parody to Eddie Van Halen's solo on the Michael Jackson song "Beat It".
In 1983, Derringer teamed up with former Vanilla Fudge/Cactus/Beck, Appice & Bogert drummer Carmine Appice for the short lived project DNA, who released the album Party Tested. The title track was a popular MTV video during this era.
In the summer of 1983, at Right Tracks studio in NYC, Derringer guested on the Kiss album Lick It Up (their first record without make-up and first Platinum seller in four years), playing the solo on the opening track, "Exciter". Derringer was not credited, per Kiss' usual practice of masking guest musicians appearing on their albums over the years. Derringer commented about Kiss' Paul Stanley, "Paul's a much better guitarist than I would have thought."
In 1986, he co-wrote and sang back-up vocals on "Calm Inside The Storm" on Cyndi Lauper's True Colors album. He served as one of her tour musicians from 1986–1992, prompting him to compare Cyndi to Barbra Streisand: "She's better live than Barbra."
Derringer was once again sought after by Edgar Winter and in 1990 performed on the album Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer Live in Japan. In 1999 Derringer and Winter were back together again for their collaboration on his Winter Blues CD.
Derringer also recorded four blues CDs, starting in 1993 with Back to the Blues followed by Electra Blues, Blues Deluxe and his 2000 release Jackhammer Blues.
Rick Derringer's Tend The Fire was released in Europe and UK (1997), DBA-Derringer, Bogert & Appice (2001).
Free Ride Smooth Jazz (2002) with Rick's wife, singer-songwriter Jenda Derringer Hall, who sang the title song "Free Ride". She also wrote the album's Top Twenty Hit "Hot & Cool", which charted at No. 16.
"Aiming 4 Heaven" launched Derringer's gospel rock career, with wife Jenda, their eight-year-old son, Marn and nine-year-old daughter, Lory Loving Derringer. The Derringers We Live CD was released in fall of 2008.
Derringer guested on the Tom Guerra project Mambo Sons (1999) and Damon Fowler's Riverview Drive (2000). He also appears on the Les Paul album American Made World Played (2005), on the track "Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl".
Derringer strongly proclaimed his Christianity during this period. The old lyric of "Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo" was rewritten into "Read the Word Live It Too" and his new life was breathed into "Still Alive And Well". Both lyrics were written by Rick's co-writer wife, Jenda Derringer.
Despite his alleged new Christian faith, in 2006, he appeared in a Fidelity Investments television commercial, playing "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo", in direct contravention of mainstream Christian views on amassing material wealth.
In 2007, he legally changed his surname to "Derringer" from "Zehringer".
In May 2009, he released the album Knighted by the Blues and its single, "Sometimes", that was also written by Jenda Derringer.
Rick Derringer toured with Ringo Starr's 11th All-Starr Band in the summer of 2010 and 2011, a band that included long-time friend and musician partner Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Richard Page, Gregg Bissonette, Wally Palmer and Ringo Starr.
His current trio consists of longtime bassist-vocalist Charlie Torres and drummer-vocalist-global tour manager Kenn Moutenot of song3.com.
In 2010, two of Derringer's homes in Florida were foreclosed upon when he defaulted on a $46,000 line of credit that his wife Brenda J. Hall obtained in 2004 from Branch Banking & Trust Co. The loan was secured by Derringer's Florida property. He was also sued by BAC Home Loans Servicing, a mortgage company servicing another loan on behalf of Fannie Mae. According to BAC, Derringer made no monthly payments in 2010 and owed $242,366 in principal and interest as of October 2010. Derringer blamed the circumstances on society, stating “Anybody can be affected by this huge problem, even us.” Derringer was also listed as defendant in another foreclosure complaint on a separate property in 2014 in Manatee County, FL.
In 2017, Derringer was charged with carrying a loaded gun on a Delta Air Lines flight from Cancun, Mexico to Atlanta, Georgia. According to his manager, Derringer thought he was permitted to carry the gun, based on his possession of a valid Florida pistol permit. After the arrest, a defiant Derringer boasted that he flew 30-50 times a year with a loaded handgun.
In other media
"Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" is featured in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused, as well as in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II in 2007. The song was also made available as downloadable content (DLC) for guitar learning software/game Rocksmith 2014 in January 2015.
"Real American" is featured in the original broadcast of the episode "Gumball Special" of Jackass (it has since been replaced by another song for subsequent TV broadcasts and DVD releases). The song is featured in an episode of Eastbound & Down (Chapter 8) as Kenny Powers' entrance song to his return to baseball playing for The Charros (a Mexican baseball team). The song is also featured on Episode 20 of TeamFourStar's Dragonball Z: Abridged as Goku's arrival to Namek music, and was also used by President Barack Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner to unveil his "birth certificate".
Rick & Jenda Derringer do The Beatles, released just before Spring, 2014, is their Beatles tribute album, for the Beatles 50th Anniversary. It features their versions of "A Hard Day's Night", "Here Comes the Sun", "Got to Get You into My Life", "The Word", "In My Life", "Eight Days a Week", "Something", "And I Love Her", "Here, There and Everywhere" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret".
- Party Tested (1983)
- Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice
- Muise, Dan (2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music. Hal Leonard Corporation.
- "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo: The Best of Rick Derringer by Rick Derringer : Reviews and Ratings". Rateyourmusic.com. May 2, 2008. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "The Story of the McCoys' Trip to the Top of the Charts With 'Hang On Sloopy'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
- "The Hot 100 - 1965 Archive | Billboard Charts Archive". Billboard. Retrieved 2017-01-05.
- "Concert Dates :: Led Zeppelin". Ledzepconcerts.com. Retrieved 2011-11-02.
- "Neil Ratner Rock Doc - My Offbeat Rock & Roll Journey". Cuepoint. 2014-10-24.
- "WWF/E Wrestling Theme Count and Title Names". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Wrestling Music Albums". Wrestling Information Archive. Retrieved 2008-01-28.
- "Manatee rock icon facing foreclosure". Bradenton.com. Retrieved 2016-06-27.
- "Court Records Document Viewer". Manateeclerk.org. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
- "Court Records Document Viewer". Manateeclerk.org. Retrieved 2017-01-29.
- Associated Press. "Rock musician Rick Derringer charged with having loaded gun on Delta flight". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
- "Rick Derringer – Filmography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
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