Rick Derringer's Story

Posted by: lifestory in Music

Tagged in: professionals , marriage , faith , addiction

 Rick Derringer's testimony

As written by Rick Derringer 

 I went to Catholic school through the eighth grade. They taught me many good things. They told me I could go to the confessional and ask for forgiveness. Most often the priest would tell me to say six "Our Fathers" and six "Hail Marys" for the repentance of my sins. But he didn't stress that I shouldn't sin in the first place, and he didn't encourage me to say thank you to the Lord! 

In 1962, I began secular public high school and started a "garage band" called The McCoys. That's also the year I started thinking less about the Lord.

The McCoys got better musically and in 1965, the year of my graduation, I recorded a song called "Hang On Sloopy". That period was called Beatlemania. It was also remembered as the summer of love - but it wasn't the love of Jesus that they were talking about. The world had discovered psychedelic drugs. People had fallen in love with marijuana and LSD.

It took me a little while but, playing music at pop festivals and love-ins, I was eventually encouraged to begin taking drugs myself. 

I was overwhelmed with success in the music business and getting farther and farther from the Lord. I had forgotten where my talent came from in the first place. I'd forgotten who it was that blessed me with all that success. So, once again I didn't say thank you to the Lord. 

By all earthly standards, I was very successful. My records were selling like hot cakes! I played on the entire 1966 American tour of the "Rolling Stones". I played music with John Lennon. I became friends and jammed with Jimi Hendrix and, later, Stevie Ray Vaughn. I played on most of the records by "Steely Dan", recorded with Barbra Streisand, and began writing and touring with Cyndi Lauper. Duane Allman of the "Allman Brothers" band told me that my guitar playing influenced him to play slide guitar. I have to admit, though, that some of the people I worked with seemed pretty ungodly - people like "Kiss" and Alice Cooper. I was getting farther and farther from the Lord.

I knew there was something missing in my life. I checked out other ways of thinking, Buddhism and Taoism. Ravi Shankar introduced us to the sitar and to meditation.

That's about the time I started drinking a little too much, and in that weakened state I began taking cocaine. I also became a friend with Mylon Lefevre; but did we pray together? No, we took cocaine and smoked pot. We were both lost together!

By earthly standards, I was still becoming more successful. I discovered Weird Al Yankovic and started producing hit records for him. I won two Grammy Awards for those records, but I was also involved with a wife who encouraged me to take even more drugs.My life began falling apart. 


Because I had forgotten the Lord.

It all came to a head around 1997; and even though my troubles at that time seemed overwhelming, I finally remembered there is someone to turn to – Our Savior, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

I got down on my knees and started praying. I asked forgiveness. I asked for advice. I asked for Divine guidance and help. The Lord keeps His promises. Ask and you shall receive. He gave me the answers I needed and the strength to do what I had to do. But, you know what? Although I still hadn't said thank you, the Lord didn't give up on me. He had a plan for me. He has a plan for us all.

It was at that time the Lord sent someone to help me right here on earth, for the rest of my life. Her name is Jenda. She has become my wife. Jenda reminded me, finally, to say thank you to the Lord. Jenda said, "Rick, you've got to be reborn," and she took me to the river to be baptized. I was washed of my sins and began a relationship with Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior.

I have come to realize that the Lord allowed me to survive drugs, alcohol and sins of the flesh so that I can stand here today as an example. A living, breathing example for all of you who think there's no way out; for all of you who think you're trapped in your addictions. The Lord can fix it all! He can bless you with the strength to beat any addiction. He died on the cross for your sins and gave you the opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven.

Now you and I have a debt to repay. Say thank you to the Lord. Ask Him for His forgiveness and ask Him to come into your life. He will be there before you can finish the prayer.

The Lord loves you.

You are important to the Lord.

Share your life with Him so that you too
can be a Christ filled example for others. 

   -  Rick

At Life Story Foundation, we are continually looking for inspirational stories that describe a person's life before and after they found their Christian faith. If you know of a Christian testimony story or video online, please email us the link so we can post it on our site.

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Comments (3)Add Comment
February 08, 2011

I do'nt have much to say other than I'm born again today! I am safe in the shadow of the Lord.Amen.

April 23, 2011

Wow ... was always a big fan since way back and played guitar in various bands. Stumbled on this post and was so blessed. I was rescued by the Lord radically in '83 and never looked back. See you in the next life for sure Rick.

October 23, 2014

When, was very young I attended a concert including a number of bands and saw a Rick Derringer preform who was hardly able to stand up let alone play guitar. I'm glad you found your way and thank you for your honesty.

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