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 group.
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 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
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.