Born as Richard Zehringer, Rick Derringer along with brotherRandy formed the teenager bubblegum Pop band,The McCoys. But after many gigs supporting acts likeThe Beach Boys, The Four Seasons andChuck Berry, they were spotted by Bert Bernes, who wrote their 1965 chart topperHang On Sloopy. After success in the Pop singles market in the 1960s, and early 1970s back up career withJohnny & Edgar Winter where he subsequently wrote theirOnly Come Out At Night chart-topping album, he would go solo.
He signed to the brother's Blue Sky' label to have major success with the single Rock N' Roll Hotchie Koo in 1974. Featuring Edgar Winter on keyboards and sax, himself of guitar and vox., Bobby Caldwell (drums) and Kenny Passarelli (bass), and other guests, the parent album, All American Boy (1974), made 25 in the U.S. But the follow-up set, Spring Fever (1975) featuring Johnny Siegler assuming the bass spot, failed to achieve the same glory and he shut the act down.
Derringer would return in 1976 to form Derringer (another self-named act) featuring himself plus Danny Johnson (guitar), Kenny Aaronson (bass) and Vinny Appice (drums) to release Derringer (1976), Sweet Evil (1977) and Derringer Live, a live set in 1977. But still failing to get the audience he desired, he once again closed the operation down.
Rick Derringer restarted his original solo endeavor in 1978 to release a set of what many considered uninspiring records in the form of If I Weren't So Romantic I'd Shoot You (1978) with himself and Mark Cunningham replacing Johnson, the returning Aaronson, and Myron Groombacher replacing Appice. It would be members of Todd Rundgren and Utopia who played as session musicians for the follow-up, Guitars And Women (1979) before permanent members in the form of Benjy King (keyboards), Don Kisselbach (bass) and Jimmy Wilcox (drums) came along to release Face To Face (1980), and after a spell in production circles Derringer would return with Good Dirty Fun in 1983.
While many of his former buddies of Johnson, Aaronson and Vinny Appice went on to form Axis, Rick Derringer got Carmine Appice (ex-Vanilla Fudge/ex-Cactus) to play drums, along with Jimmy Johnson (bass) and Duane Hitchings (keyboards) to release Party Tested (1983) in an act called DNA before splitting this act up as well to become a producer for Weird Al Jankovic's Eat It album, and for Bonnie Tyler, as well as being a live guitarist for Cyndi Lauper in 1986, not to mention sessioning for the likes of Alice Cooper, Meat Loaf, Steely Dan and Todd Rundgren.
During the 1990s Rick Derringer would return now and then as a low-key soloist with such albums as Back To The Blues (1993), Electra Blues (1994), Tend The Fire (1996), Blues Deluxe (1999) and Jackhammer Blues (2000); a Blues influence and theme being clearly present.