Music, fireworks and fun activities will be a part of the second-annual Broad Street Blast, which will be held on Saturday, July 2, at Smith Park. Rock guitar star Rick Derringer will headline the city’s annual fireworks display.
The event is a partnership between Broad Street Bash and the City of Middletown. Last year, nearly 15,000 guests attended the festivities.
Many locals may remember that Fort Recovery, Ohio-native Derringer — way back when he went by Rick Zehringer — was a member of The McCoys, who used to play often for teen dances at LeSourdsville Lake on Saturday nights. The McCoys’ hit No. 1 in 1965 with the song “Hang On Sloopy.”
In the ’70s went onto Derringer went on to continued success, including the hit “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” as a solo act and playing with the Edgar Winter Group.
We caught up with Mr. Derringer in a phone interview last week:
Q: What have you been working on musically?
A: “My life started when I first picked up a guitar at 9 years old. What I’m doing now is exactly what I was doing then. I love to play guitar. I love to go out and perform for people, that’s one of the best things about playing guitar. It’s a tool for communication. Whether or not you are doing a good job is quickly seen at every concert. If I play a song and it just doesn’t go over, I know, ‘Uh-Oh, I screwed up somewhere.’ I still play concerts all the time, regularly. I’m coming to Ohio, and I just got back from Texas. I continue making records, and I’ve released a lot of new songs on YouTube.”
Q: You’re from Ohio, and this will be a homecoming concert for you. Can you talk about being from Ohio?
A: “I’m an Ohio native. I was born there, went to school there, and I learned to play the guitar in Ohio. In some ways, I feel like Ohio is really the birthplace of a lot of good music. Ohio is the only state in the union that has voted in an official state rock ’n’ roll anthem and that’s “Hang On Sloopy.” … Every time I play it in Ohio it gets a special response that it doesn’t get everywhere else. I’m looking forward to coming home.”
Q: Will you be playing “Hang On Sloopy” in Middletown?
A: “We have to. We have to play all the big hits that I’ve been involved in, so we’ll play “Hang On Sloopy,” “Free Ride” and “Frankenstein,” and we’ll play “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” and “I Am a Real American.”
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