One of the most popular groups in the mid 60s in the midwest especially in Ohio were
the McCoys. They were formed in Union City, Indiana, in 1962, this group was first comprised
of guitarist Rick Zehringer, his brother Randy on drums and bass player Dennis Kelly. Starting out as Rick And
The Raiders, then The Rick Z Combo, the group later added organist Ronnie Brandon, becoming the McCoys after
Randy Hobbs replaced college-bound Dennis Kelly. They were regarded basically as a bubblegum rock
They became a highly popular attraction throughout America's Midwest which gained the attention
of producers Feldman/Gottherer/Goldstein who brought them to Bert Berns' "Bang Records". The group's very first
release was a simple, hard driving tune called "Hang On Sloopy", which shot to the number one position in the
U.S. in 1965 and to the top five in the U.K. As an added note, Bill O'Reilly, Fox News'
O'Reilly factor considers "Hang on Sloopy" as one of the worst records recorded during the 60s
because of the phrase "I don't care what your daddy do." O'Reilly regards the 60s as a great
period of American music but has a great dislike for "Hang on Sloopy" although it is ranked 13th in
Billboard rankings of the most charted versions. "Hang on Sloopy' has and always will
be a widely played song on many classic radio stations and oldies parties. Dick Bartley also
included the song on his One-Hit Wonder CDs although the song was not a one hit wonder. He just added
the longer version of the song to the CD due to his love of the song. "Hang of Sloopy" is also the
official rock song for the state of Ohio and is performed by the Ohio State University band at many of
The McCoys appearing on TV's Shindig
The follow-up to "Hang on Sloopy" was a similar arrangement for a tune called
"Fever", a remake of Peggy Lee's Top Ten hit in 1958. A series of successive releases in a similar gutsy style
fared less well and a cover of Ritchie Valens' "C'Mon Let's Go" was their only other Top 40 hit.
The group discarded its bubblegum image in 1969 with the progressive album "Infinite
McCoys", and became the house band at New York's popular Scene club. The club's owner, Steve Paul, later paired the
group with an up and coming blues guitarist named Johnny Winter and billed them as "Johnny Winter And..." ("And"
referring to "The McCoys") featured the Zehringer brothers and Randy Hobbs, with Rick handling the production. It
was about this time that Rick changed his last name from Zehringer to Derringer.
In 1971, Rick Derrdinger was featured as lead vocalist on three albums, "Johnny Winter And",
"Johnny Winter And - Live" and an L.P. by Johnny's brother Edgar Winter called "Edgar Winter's White Trash".
Eventually, Derringer joined Edgar's White Trash band full-time and produced the gold LP,
"Roadwork". Derringer's solo album, "All American Boy" was released in 1973 with the now already popular "Rock and
Roll Hoochie Koo", this time as a single. Rick was writer/producer of Johnny Winter's "Still Alive and Well" album
and player/producer of the hit album, "They Only Come Out At Night". The latter featured the No. 1, Grammy
nominated monster hit, "Frankenstein" and "FreeRide".
In 1976, Rick created the Derringer Band and during the latter half of the seventies, released
four albums, "Derringer" , "Sweet Evil", "If I Weren't So Romantic I'd Shoot You" and "Face To Face". In 1983, Rick
returned to his solo career with the LP, "Good Dirty Fun."
Throughout the 70's and 80's Derringer appeared as a session musician on numerous albums with
artists Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand and Kiss.
In the mid-80's, Derringer discovered Weird Al Yancovic, producing music for his Grammy-winning
albums and videos. Derringer's productions of the Michael Jackson parodies, the No. 1 hit "Eat It," and "Who's
Fat," have been among Yancovic's most successful recordings.
Rick was selected to be producer/writer/performer of the World Wrestling Federation LPs. Hulk
Hogan's theme song, "I Am A Real American" was written and performed by Rick as a part of these projects.
By 1990, Derringer was once again sought after by Edgar Winter and performed for the LP, "Edgar
Winter and Rick Derringer Live in Japan". In the late 1990's, many shows found Rick and Edgar on stage together and
they joined for an all-star re-union with the White Trash Horns at 1999's Montreaux Jazz Festival. In 1999, Rick
collaborated with Edgar as songwriter/guitarist on his "Winter Blues" CD.
The year 2001 saw Derringer venture back into rock and roll with former Vanilla Fudge members,
Carmine Appice and Tim Bogert, producing a CD called "DBA - Derringer, Bogert and Appice", with vocals, writing and
instrumentals shared by all three. Rick has followed closely on the heels of this project with a recording entitled
'Aiming For Heaven,' with help from his daughter Lory and son Marty.