Rick Derringer (born Richard Zehringer, August 5, 1947) is an American guitarist, vocalist, and entertainer.
Derringer came to prominence in the 1960s as a member of The McCoys, who had a number one hit single with "Hang on Sloopy. Derringer then turned to blues rock, scoring a 1970 hit with "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo". He has also worked extensively with brothers Edgar and Johnny Winter, and with the group Steely Dan.
Life and career
When he was seventeen years old, his band The McCoys recorded "Hang on Sloopy" in the summer of 1965, which became the number one song in America before "Yesterday" by The Beatles knocked it out of the top spot. The song was issued by Bang Records. He adopted the Derringer stage name which was inspired by the Bang Records logo which featured a derringer pistol.
After starting The McCoys, Rick changed the band's name to "The Rick Z Combo", and then "Rick and the Raiders". After recording "Hang On Sloopy", it was decided that the original name was best, and The McCoys were reborn.
One of the first opportunities for everyone to see them play 'live' came when they opened for The Rolling Stones on the entire 1966 American Tour.
Derringer also recorded and played with a version of Johnny Winter's band called "Johnny Winter And ..." and both Edgar Winter's White Trash and The Edgar Winter Group. Derringer also had a successful solo career, and his solo version of "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" was a hit single. He also recorded extensively with Steely Dan, playing slide guitar on songs such as "Show Biz Kids" and "Chain Lightning".
Derringer appeared on Alice Cooper's Killer album in 1971, playing the solo on "Under My Wheels." Derringer opened for Led Zeppelin on their last American tour. 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, 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, working with "Weird Al" Yankovic as well as Mason Ruffner. 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 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 for the LP, Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer Live in Japan. Then in 1999 Rick and Edgar were back together again for their collaboration on his Winter Blues CD.
Derringer also recorded four blues CD's starting in '93 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 England (1997), DBA-Derringer, Bogert & Appice (2001).
Free Ride Smooth Jazz (2002) with Jenda Derringer Hall, Rick's wife, singing the title song "Free Ride" and writing the Top Twenty Hit "Hot & Cool", which charted at #16. "Hot & Cool was written by Jenda in 1998.
"Aiming 4 Heaven" launched Derringer's gospel rock career, with wife Jenda, her eight year old son Marn and Rick's nine year old daughter Loving. 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.
In 2006, he appeared in a Fidelity Investments television commercial.
In May 2009, he released the album Knighted by the Blues and its single, "Sometimes", also written by Jenda.
His current band consists of drummer-vocalist-global tour manager Kenn Moutenot and bassist-vocalist Charlie Torres.
Rick Derringer was touring with Ringo Starr's 11th All-Starr Band in summer 2010 and 2011, a band that included long time friend and partner Edgar Winter.
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.
"Real American" is featured in the episode "Gumball Special" of Jackass. 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 used to comedic effect by President Barack Obama at the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner.
- Party Tested (1983)
- Rick Derringer and Carmine Appice
- Doin' Business As Derringer Bogert Appice (2001)
- Rick Derringer, Tim Bogert and Carmine Appice
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Image from Discogs