Musician Rick Derringer to perform benefit show for local medical charity

Rock legend Rick Derringer
Rock legend Rick Derringer

Musician Rick Derringer will be the featured artist in “A Night of Music” charity rock concert Saturday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts.

This will be the fourth annual benefit concert held in memory of Keith Lebo and Jim DeSantie. Net proceeds from the concert will go to the Lebo-DeSantie Center for Liver and Pancreatic Disease at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport.

Derringer has had a four-decade career in the music industry. He has written, produced and performed hits in a variety of genres, such as rock, jazz, blues, and spiritual songs.

Additional performances will be given by Christopher Robin, the Doug Wahlberg Band, and School of Rock.

Meet-and-greet event offered

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with refreshments, a cash bar and silent auction, followed by the concert at 7. A special meet-and-greet session with Derringer will begin at 5 p.m. for ticket holders of $100 seats (other concert ticket-holders may attend the meet-and-greet for an additional $20).

Concert tickets are $100, $75 and $50. Purchase tickets at or, or by calling 203-254-4010.

Gained fame in 1960s with ‘Hang On Sloopy’

Derringer was just 17 when his band The McCoys recorded "Hang On Sloopy." The band merged with Johnny Winter in 1969, forming Johnny Winter And (the “And” referred to the McCoys).

Derringer was the producer of all gold and platinum recordings of the Winter Brothers (Johnny with his sibling Edgar). He also is known for making “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” a hit.

Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Derringer appeared on albums with Alice Cooper, Richie Havens, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Barbra Streisand, Kiss, Mason Ruffner and Madam X.

Worked with Weird Al Yankovic

In the mid-1980s, Derringer discovered Weird Al Yankovic, and produced music for his Grammy-winning albums and videos, such the Michael Jackson parodies "Eat It” and "Who's Fat.”

In the 1990s, Derringer produced, wrote, and performed “I Am A Real American,” which was the theme song for the World Wrestling Federation and wrestler Hulk Hogan’s entrance theme song.

Over the last two decades, Derringer has recorded a number of blues CDs In addition, he and his wife, Brenda Jean, produced a song entitled “Aiming 4 Heaven,” which expresses their devotion to God.

The host and other performers

“A Night of Music” will be hosted by radio personality Brian Smith, who was host of WPLR-FM's longest-running morning show.

Smith also hosted his own afternoon talk show on WICC-AM, and more recently was a news anchor on a New York City FM station. He writes for various publications as well as his own website,

Here is brief information on the evening’s other musicians:

Christopher Robin, who has played with Gregg Allman, the Marshall Tucker Band, Robert Cray and B.B. King, will travel from Arizona to perform a few songs. Robin has supported the concerts in all prior years and is an avid supporter of the cause.

Members of the Doug Wahlberg Band have traveled internationally and members have performed with the likes of The Doors and Peter Tosh. Wahlberg has worked on projects involving such legends as Rick Derringer, Elton John’s lyricist Bernie Taupin and David Bowie’s guitarist.

School of Rock is an after-school music program focusing on music education and performing rock music for youngsters as well as adults. The House Band from the School of Rock in Fairfield is a collection of the school’s most talented students from this region.

Proceeds benefit pancreatic cancer patients

Concert proceeds will be used to help those who are fighting pancreatic cancer. Funds will support education, screening and patient support services through the St. Vincent’s Lebo-DeSantie Center for Liver and Pancreatic Disease at St. Vincent's Medical Center through Swim Across the Sound.

Keith Lebo was a lifelong area musician who started playing clubs at 14 years old. He played in several area bands during his musical career. Lebo died from pancreatic cancer in 2009.

One year later his brother-in-law, Jim DeSantie, also died from pancreatic cancer. DeSantie had served in the Marines and was known for having high moral standards.

The annual benefit concert is organized by their wives, Charlene Lebo and Suzanne DeSantie, in memory of their husbands.