Rick Derringer

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Rick Derringer
Derringer playing guitar onstage
Derringer live with Ringo Starr in 2011
Background information
Birth nameRicky Dean Zehringer
Born (1947-08-05) August 5, 1947 (age 73)
Fort Recovery, Ohio, United States
GenresHard rock, blues-rock, funk rock, pop rock, Christian rock, blues, jazz fusion
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter, producer
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1965–present
Associated actsThe McCoys, Edgar Winter, Johnny Winter, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Ringo Starr's 11th All-Starr Band, David’s Window
Websiterickderringer.com

Rick Derringer (born Ricky Dean Zehringer; August 5, 1947) is an American guitarist, vocalist, Grammy Award-winning producer and writer of several hit songs. He came to prominence in the 1960s as founding member of his band, The McCoys. At that time, they were taken to New York City to record what became the number one hit song "Hang On Sloopy". The McCoys then had seven songs that charted in the top 100, including versions of "Fever" and "Come On Let’s Go".

In the 1970s, Derringer had another major hit with his own song, "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo". He has worked extensively with the brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, playing lead guitar in their bands, and also producing all of their gold and platinum disc recordings. He has worked with Steely Dan, discovered Cyndi Lauper and "Weird Al" Yankovic, producing Yankovic's Grammy Award-winning songs "Eat It" and "Fat". "Eat It" included Derringer's guitar solo, which emulated Eddie Van Halen's solo on Michael Jackson's "Beat It". The work he did with Yankovic convinced Vince McMahon, the president of the World Wrestling Federation, that Derringer should be the producer of The Wrestling Album (1985) and then the follow-up, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II (1987). The albums included the entrance song for Hulk Hogan, "Real American", and the Demolition tag team, "Demolition".

Life and career[edit]

Early life and 1960s[edit]

Derringer was born in Celina, Ohio, and grew up in Fort Recovery, the son of Janice Lavine (Thornburg) and John Otto Zehringer, a section foreman on the Nickel Plate Railroad.[1] According to Derringer, other than his parents' extensive record collection, his first major influence was an uncle, Jim Thornburg, a popular guitarist and singer in Ohio. Derringer has related first hearing him play guitar in the kitchen of his parents' home, and knowing immediately that he wanted to play guitar. He was then eight years old and his parents gave him his first electric guitar for his ninth birthday.[2] It was not long before he and his brother, Randy, were playing music together.

After the eighth grade, the family moved to Union City, Indiana, where he formed a band that he called The McCoys. He later changed the name to the Rick Z Combo and then Rick and the Raiders before going back to the band's original name.

In summer 1965, when he was 17, the band was hired to back up a band called The Strangeloves in concert. When not in Strangelove garb, they were three record producers from New York City, looking for a band (in the mold of The Beatles) to record "My Girl Sloopy", which Derringer later convinced them to call the more appropriate title "Hang On Sloopy". After playing all the guitar parts, he and The McCoys sang the recording. The song was an instant success, reaching number one in every country that sold records.[citation needed] It was the first record played in Moscow's Red Square when the government decided to play rock and roll. It stayed at number one[where?] while "Yesterday" (The Beatles' song) was number two.[3]

Derringer has said that at the time "My parents never thought that I’d be able to make a living playing music; but instead of going to school, I went to New York City to do what my parents dreamed was impossible."[4]

1970s[edit]

Derringer, 1978

Derringer, with his band, The McCoys, joined Johnny Winter in a band that they called "Johnny Winter And", the "And" referring to The McCoys. Derringer joined Edgar Winter's White Trash and then, the Edgar Winter Group.[5]

In 1973, Derringer released his first solo album All-American Boy,[6] which included his song "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo".[7] By then, the song had appeared on Johnny Winter And (1970),[5] and also the White Trash Roadwork (1972) albums. Derringer's version rose to the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, becoming his highest-charting single.[8] One critic has described the album as a "sadly neglected album of great merit".[9]

Derringer's later albums, both solo and with his band Derringer, included 1977's Sweet Evil which had co-written with Cynthia Weil and the Rolling Thunder Revue author Larry Sloman,[10] and the critically acclaimed Guitars and Women (1979), which was re-released with liner notes by Razor & Tie in 1998.

Around this time he played guitar on two Steely Dan tracks, "Show Biz Kids" on Countdown to Ecstasy (1973) and "Chain Lightning" on Katy Lied (1975). Derringer is credited with helping Fagen gain a record deal in 1972.[11]

Derringer worked with his neighbor Todd Rundgren during this time, playing on four of Rundgren's solo albums. He was also a regular in Andy Warhol's circle,[12] and he frequented Warhol's studio The Factory.[13] Of the period, Derringer has said, "Liz [his wife at the time] and I were always on the scene. We were the consummate partiers."[14]

1980s and 1990s[edit]

Derringer played guitar on "My Rival" on Steely Dan's Gaucho (1980) and also Fagen's first solo album, The Nightfly (1982). In 1983, he played guitar on two hit power ballads written and produced by Jim Steinman: Air Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" and Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse of the Heart". He has said that his guitar solo in "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" is his favorite guitar solo of the many he has recorded.[15] The same year, he recorded guitar parts for Meat Loaf's poorly received album Midnight at the Lost and Found. Both "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" and "Total Eclipse of the Heart" were originally offered to Meat Loaf by Steinman for that album, but Meat Loaf's record company refused to pay Steinman for the compositions.[16] In 1983, Derringer wrote "Shake Me" from his Good Dirty Fun solo album. A video followed which was produced by Jake Hooker (the husband of Lorna Luft), singer Lourett Russell Grant modeled in the video production with Derringer.

In 1984, Derringer played guitar on Barbra Streisand's cover version of Steinman's "Left in the Dark", which was released as the lead single of Emotion.

In 1985, Derringer's friendship with Cyndi Lauper led him and Steinman to collaborate again, Derringer producing The Wrestling Album (1985) for the World Wrestling Federation, an album consisting mostly of wrestlers' theme songs. He wrote a couple of songs on it, including Hulk Hogan's theme song "Real American",[17] with Bernard Kenny. That song was also used by US President Barack Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner, where he played the song while unveiling his birth certificate.[18] It was also used as a campaign song by Hillary Clinton, a victory song by Newt Gingrich, and in four videos during the campaign of Donald Trump.[19]

In 1986, he returned to the Meat Loaf fold for Blind Before I Stop. Derringer co-wrote the song "Masculine".

In 1987, Meat Loaf guested on Way Off Broadway, a nationally distributed cable TV show with Derringer as the music director, with the show's host, the comedienne/interviewer Joy Behar. Other guests on the show included Larry Carlton Robbie Dupree, Edgar Winter.[20]

Also in 1987, Derringer returned to the World Wrestling Federation and produced its second music album, Piledriver: The Wrestling Album II. He co-wrote the theme tune for Demolition and also added a fresh version of "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" as a duet with Gene Okerlund.[21]

He worked for several New York City-based jingle houses in the 1980s. Unknown to him at the time, his future wife Brenda Jean was also writing commercial jingles from her commercial recording studio, MusiCraft Productions. This fallow period in Derringer's career ended when he discovered "Weird Al" Yankovic and produced his first album, "Weird Al" Yankovic (1983), believing that Yankovic was going to be a success and not waiting for record company involvement. Derringer ultimately produced six Yankovic albums between 1983 and 1989; for this work, he received his only Grammy Award.[22] Yankovic has said that he is open to working with Derringer again. However, such a reunion has not occurred as of 2020.[23]

In 1997, Derringer became an Evangelical Christian.[24] Since then, he has consistently aligned himself with conservative causes in the United States.[25] Derringer describes himself as a "Jesus freak".[14]

2000s[edit]

In 2001, Derringer, Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice released the album Derringer, Bogert & Appice (DBA): Doin' Business as... on the German record label Steamhammer Records.[26] Derringer had previously worked with Appice on an album, Party Tested by DNA (Derringer'n'Appice), and it was re-released in 2011.[27]

In 2001, the couple and their children released the first of four Christian music albums, all Panda Studio Productions:[28] Aiming 4 Heaven (2001),[29] Derringer X 2 (2001), Winter Wonderland (2004) and We Live (2008).[30]

In 2002, Derringer was featured in a book, written by Dan Muise, called Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower - Their Lives and Music.[31]

He released Free Ride Smooth Jazz (2002), which had vocals by his wife Jenda (née Brenda Jean), who sang the title song "Free Ride" and, with Derringer, wrote the song "Hot & Cool".[32]

In May 2009, he self-released the album Knighted by the Blues and its popular song, "Sometimes", once again, co-written with Jenda. Derringer followed up with the release of The Three Kings of the Blues (Freddie King, B.B. King, Albert King) on Mike Varney's Blues Bureau International Records.[33]

Derringer playing with Ringo Starr's All-Starr Band in Paris, June 26, 2011

Derringer and a range of hitmakers are part of Voices, a company that finds private events many times a year. Some of the artists involved with Voices are Tone-Loc, Wally Palmar, Kim Carnes, Belinda Carlisle, Tommy Tutone, Mark McGrath, Fastball, Skip Martin, Jakob Dylan, Natasha Bedingfield, Coolio, John Rzeznik, Martha Davis, Silverchair, Steve Augeri, John Elefante, Alex Ligertwood, Jeff Lyons and the Rembrandts.[34]

Derringer went on three world tours with Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Rehearsals started in June 2010. They traveled in Europe, Russia, South America, Mexico and the USA. The tour featured Wally Palmar, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Richard Page and Gregg Bissonette.[35]

Derringer has long been fascinated by Asian music. In the 1980s, he produced the Kodomo Band. He has toured in Asia, including with Edgar Winter, the 1990 White Lightning Tour in both Japan and Germany.[36]

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, saying "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, Florida.[37][38]

In 2013, he and Jenda created the Asia Project after she discovered that the two largest-selling songs in history are Chinese. As Ricky Wu and Jenda Tu, the Derringers recorded and released their versions after taking great pains to make sure the English translation was what the Chinese writers were trying to convey. The songs are Wang Qiwen and Yang Chengang’s 2004 song "Mouse Loves Rice",[39] and the actress Lui Shi Shi's "Season of Waiting".[40]

In 2014, Derringer performed on Peter Frampton's Guitar Circus tour with other notable guitarists, including B.B. King, Roger McGuinn (ex-The Byrds), Don Felder (ex-Eagles), Leslie West (ex-Mountain), Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen, Toto's Steve Lukather, Los Lobos' David Hidalgo, and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready.[41]

In 2017, Derringer was charged with carrying a loaded gun on a Delta Air Lines flight from Cancún in 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 concealed weapon permit. Derringer said that he flew between 30 and 50 times a year.[42] Derringer later pleaded guilty, agreeing to pay a $1,000 fine, saying it would not happen again, "not even a water pistol".[43]

A re-recording of 1985's The Wrestling Album's "Real American" with updated lyrics was released on May 28, 2017, debuting on Alex Jones' radio show.[44] "I gotta be a man, I can't let it slide" was changed to "I gotta lend a hand, I can't let it slide" and "fight for the right of every man" became "fight for the rights of everyone". "Best not mess with my US" is added before the second verse, and a new line says, "Ours is a cause that's right and just, we're built on truth, in God we trust."[45] The same year, Derringer appeared on Alex Jones' show where he was interviewed by the political consultant Roger Stone about Derringer's support for Donald Trump.[46]

In 2017, Derringer collaborated with the baseball players Tom Seaver and Gary Redus to release a version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", honoring his lifelong love of baseball.

In 2018, Derringer embarked on a tour with Vanilla Fudge, Mitch Ryder and Badfinger under the name "HippieFest".[47]

In early 2019, he started an "uncomplicated" crowdfunding page at Patreon. Derringer asks his fans for $10 a month for which he gives them exclusive content including new music premieres, "I’ve been able to post quite a bit of stuff there."[48]

He played the guitar solo to an anti-bullying campaign version of "Hang on Sloopy" by The Love Love Kids, released in October 2019.[49]

In other media[edit]

"Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" is used in the 1993 film Dazed and Confused,[50] as well as in the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II in 2007 and Rock Band 4 in 2015. The song was also made available as downloadable content for the guitar learning software/game Rocksmith 2014 in January 2015.

Discography[edit]

Rick Derringer[edit]

Derringer[edit]

DNA[edit]

DBA (Derringer, Bogert & Appice)[edit]

  • Doin' Business As... (2001)

Edgar Winter's White Trash[edit]

  • Edgar Winter's White Trash (1971) - With Johnny Winter
  • Roadwork (1972)

Edgar Winter Group[edit]

  • They Only Come Out at Night (1972)
  • Shock Treatment (1974)
  • The Edgar Winter Group With Rick Derringer (1975)
  • The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer - Live In Japan (1990)

Johnny Winter[edit]

  • Saints & Sinners (1974) - With Edgar Winter
  • John Dawson Winter III (1974) - With Edgar Winter

Edgar Winter[edit]

  • Jasmine Nightdreams 1975) - With Johnny Winter

Johnny & Edgar Winter[edit]

  • Together (1976)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Muise, Dan (2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 9780634029561.
  2. ^ "Classic Interview Rick Derringer August 1975". GuitarPlayer.com.
  3. ^ "Rock & Roll Hoochie Koo: The Best of Rick Derringer by Rick Derringer: Reviews and Ratings". Rateyourmusic.com. May 2, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
    "The Story of the McCoys' Trip to the Top of the Charts With 'Hang On Sloopy'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
    "The Hot 100 - 1965 Archive | Billboard Charts Archive". Billboard. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ a b Eder, Bruce. "AllMusic Review of Johnny Winter And". AllMusic. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
    Eder, Bruce. "Rick Derringer Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
    Smith, Michael B. "AllMusic Review of The Edgar Winter Group with Rick Derringer". AllMusic. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Koda, Cub. "AllMusic Review of All-American Boy". AllMusic. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  7. ^ Muise, Dan (2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 185. ISBN 9780634029561. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "Rick Derringer - Chart history | Billboard". Billboard. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Little, Michael H. (March 16, 2016). "Graded on a Curve: Rick Derringer, All American Boy". The Vinyl District.
  10. ^ "Sweet Evil - Rick Derringer". AllMusic. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
    "If I Weren't So Romantic, I'd Shoot You - Rick Derringer". AllMusic. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  11. ^ Tom Conway. "More rock 'n' roll than hoochie koo". The Herald Palladium.
  12. ^ "Johnny Winter, Rick Derringer, Edgar Winter, Andy Warhol, Ted Nugent, and Truman Capote". Thatericalper.com. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "Neil Ratner Rock Doc - My Offbeat Rock & Roll Journey". Cuepoint. October 24, 2014.
  14. ^ a b "Rick and Jenda Derringer". Punk Globe. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  15. ^ "Making Love Out of Nothing At All: World's Worst iPod". 1055triplem.com. May 25, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "Guitar legend Rick Derringer has soloed for everyone from Alice Cooper to Air Supply". Ear of Newt. August 10, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
    "That time Rick Derringer told me that one of the favourite solos he ever played was for Air Supply". Ear of Newt. September 25, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  17. ^ Montgomery, James (November 18, 2015). "'The Wrestling Album' at 30: How One Record Changed It All". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  18. ^ "White House Correspondents Dinner: Obama Takes On Trump, Birthers, The Media, And More (VIDEO)". Huff Post. May 1, 2011. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
    "The History of Hulk Hogan's Entrance Music". Lowdownblog. January 15, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  19. ^ Satin, Ryan (July 4, 2018). "'Real American' Writer Says Song Deserved to Be "More Legit" Than Just a Wrestling Theme". Prowrestlingsheet.
  20. ^ Leighton, Anne (November 6, 2019). "Anne Leighton: Rick Derringer and Joy Behar Videos!". Anneleightonmedia.blogspot.
    "'Way off Broadway': a search for itself". The Advocate-Messenger. Danville, Kentucky. November 1, 1987. p. 37.
  21. ^ "Various - The Wrestling Album II: Piledriver". Discogs. Retrieved December 23, 2019.
  22. ^ "How 'Weird Al' eclipsed (almost) every star he ever parodied". Washington Post.
  23. ^ Dan, Muise (January 1, 2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer & Trower: Their Lives and Music. Hal Leonard. ISBN 9780634029561. OCLC 971719169.
    "Rick and Jenda Derringer". Punk Globe. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  24. ^ Roger Catlin. "DERRINGER BRINGS CHRISTIAN MUSIC TO CHENEY HALL". Courant. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  25. ^ "Rick Derringer - Testimony". Rickderringer.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
    "Roger Stone tangos in Austin. Will anchor Infowars by night. May let a flat. - First Reading". Politics.blog.mystatesman.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Sky Is Falling - Derringer, Bogert & Appice, DBA, Rick Derringer, Carmine Appice, Tim Bogert". AllMusic. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  27. ^ "Party Tested - Carmine Appice, Rick Derringer, DNA". AllMusic. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  28. ^ WADE TATANGELO. "Moving from biz to show biz". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  29. ^ ROGER CATLIN. "DERRINGER BRINGS CHRISTIAN MUSIC TO CHENEY HALL". Courant.com.
  30. ^ "Welcome to Rick Derringer -". Rickderringer-com.3dcartstores.com. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  31. ^ Muise, Dan (2002). Gallagher, Marriott, Derringer, Trower: Their Lives and Music. ISBN 0634029568.
  32. ^ "Rick Derringer Biography". Rickderringer.com. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  33. ^ "The Three Kings Of The Blues". Shrapnerecords.com. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  34. ^ ""VOICES" — Celebrity Singers of Pop, Rock and R&B". Wesquaveandfriends.com.
  35. ^ Joe Bosso. "Rick Derringer on touring with Ringo Starr And His All Starr Band". MusicRadar.com.
  36. ^ "Edgar Winter". Museum of the Gulf Coast.
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^ [3][dead link]
  39. ^ "A Million Dollar Mouse!". July 11, 2011. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011.
  40. ^ "Bu Bu Jing Xin OST Song – 'Season of Waiting'". Lalaladdy. October 10, 2011.
  41. ^ "Peter Frampton Schedules Summer Tour Dates with Doobie Brothers, Buddy Guy". ABC News Radio.
  42. ^ "Rock musician Rick Derringer charged with having loaded gun on Delta flight". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved February 13, 2017.
  43. ^ "Rick Derringer pleads guilty to carrying loaded pistol on plane, in airport". Fox News. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  44. ^ "Exclusive Interview: Rick Derringer Talks Remarkable Career as he Plays Through the Work". California Rocker. May 28, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  45. ^ [4]
  46. ^ "Roger Stone Speaks With Rock Icon Rick Derringer About His Support For Donald Trump". YouTube. December 7, 2016. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
  47. ^ "'HippieFest 2018' to trip down memory lane with Vanilla Fudge, Mitch Ryder, Rick Derringer". The San Diego Union-Tribune. August 3, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2019.
  48. ^ "Best way for artists and creators to get sustainable income and connect with fans". Patreon.
  49. ^ "Love Love Kids - Dayton, NV". Lovelovekids.
  50. ^ "Rick Derringer – Filmography". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  51. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 88. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.

External links[edit]