Rick & Jenda Derringer

Did You Know?

Entertainer Rick Derringer was just 17 when his band The McCoys TM recorded the No.1 hit “Hang On Sloopy” in the summer of 1965, knocking “Yesterday” by The Beatles out of the top spot.

The McCoys had enjoyed four years of successful touring, when Rick merged his talents with Johnny Winter in 1969, forming Johnny Winter And (And referring to the McCoys). 

Rick was the only producer of all gold and platinum Winter Brothers recordings. In ’71 Rick was featured on three records, “Johnny Winter And”, “Johnny Winter And-Live”. 

Derringer then joined Edgar Winter’s White Trash full-time and produced the gold LP, “Roadwork.” Derringer’s solo album, All American Boy was released in ’73 with the now already popular “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” this time as a ‘hit’ single.

Rick was writer/producer of the 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 “Free Ride.” In 1976 Rick created the Derringer. He released four albums and in ’83 returned to his solo career with the LP, Good Dirty Fun.

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s the popular Derringer appeared on numerous albums with artists Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren and Steely Dan. The list also includes Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand, Kiss, Mason Ruffner and Madam X. In the mid-80s, Derringer discovered Weird Al Yankovic, producing music for 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 Yankovic’s most successful recordings.

In the ’90s, Rick was selected to be producer/writer/performer of the World Wrestling Federation LP Hulk Hogan’s theme song, “I Am A Real American” was written and performed by Rick as a part of these projects. 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. Rick 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. At about that same period Derringer, who seems to be constantly in motion, released his destined-to-be-classic Tend the Fire in Europe to rave reviews and was eagerly expected and welcomed by his loyal fans here in the US.

The next project was truly a work from the hearts and souls of Rick and Jenda Derringer with the help from their children, Lory & Marn. That project opened the doors for a worldwide release on SoundGround Records.

We can’t forget the Winter of 2002, where Rick ventured into a whole new musical world – Smooth Jazz. Interest in Rick Derringer – Free Ride grew quickly at radio, and the second single “Hot And Cool” (in the ‘Radio and Records’ top 20 for 5 months, and number 42 for the year) showed Derringer right at home in the format. It might come as a surprise, but as he explains, it’s the kind of music he’s been waiting to do his whole life. His wife Brenda is featured as co-writer on three songs, and arranger/singer on the title cut.

In 2007, Rick released Rockin’ America, featuring the patriotic song Real American,  which has been used by The President, during political campaigns, and on the hit FX series, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. In 2009, Rick released yet another display of blues talent on Knighted by the Blues, again featuring wife Jenda as co-writer on several songs. In 2010, Rick released an amazing compilation of Freddie, Albert and B.B. King on The Three Kings of the Blues. And finally, the year 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of Rick Derringer’s All American Boy debut solo album and his long journey of successes as producer, songwriter, and player throughout the years.

It seems like almost too much story to take in at one sitting, but the most surprising part is……after more than five decades he’s still going strong!

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. Derringer playing with Ringo Starr’s All Starr Band in Paris. 

Derringer went on three world tours with Ringo Starr and The All Starr Band. Rehearsals started in June 2010. He toured with Starr from 2011 to 2014. They traveled in Europe, Russia, South America, Mexico and the USA. The tour featured Wally Palmer, Edgar Winter, Gary Wright, Richard Page and Greg Bissonette.

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.

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 Tang Chengang’s 2004 song “Mouse Loves Rice”, and the actress Lui Shi Shi’s “Season of Waiting”.

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

A re-recording of 1985’s The Wrestling Album’s “Real American” with updated lyrics was released on May 28, 2017, debuting on Alex Jone’s radio show.”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.” The same year, Derringer appeared on Alex Jones’ show where he was interviewed by the political consultant Rodger Stone about Derringer’s support for Donald Trump.

In 2018, Derringer embarked on a tour with Vanilla Fudge, Mitch Ryder and Badfinger  under the name “HippieFest”.

Recently he played the guitar solo to an anti-bullying campaign version of “Hang on Sloopy” by The Love Love Kids.

2024 marks the release of two albums featuring new material mixed with original hits since the 60’s until now. “Rock the Yacht” is geared toward a yacht rock genre with couples music, while “My Double Gold Life” spans five decades of music with 50 songs equal to five albums.