UNION CITY, Ind. – Rainy weather couldn’t dampen the spirits of the Union City Arts and Music Community as they celebrated their fifth annual Arts Festival on Friday, Sept. 7 and 8. The highlight of the event was the unveiling of the McCoys’ Mural (of Hang on Sloopy fame) which was originally scheduled to take place outside Friday evening but instead was moved inside on Saturday.
This famous band was started by Union City natives Rick Zehringer (lead guitar) and his brother Randy (stand up drummer) and also the original bass player Dennis Kelly who was later replaced by Randy Hobbs and then Ron Brandon of Greenville as keyboard player.
The band was originally known as The Rick-Z Combo and then later as Rick and the Raiders before changing their name to the McCoys. In the mid-60s, they went big time with their nationwide hit “Hang on Sloopy” which was released on the label of Bang Records. The McCoys had several other hits through the end of the 60s early 70s before they disbanded.
Rick Zehringer went on to change his name to Rick Derringer and had an exceptional career playing guitar with the likes of Johnny and Edgar Winters. He formed his own band known as “Derringer” and continued to tour the United States. He now lives in Sarasota, Fla. with his wife and wasn’t able to attend the festival. His cousin, Michael Zehringer, who lives in Union City, noted that “Rick came back for the Arts Festival in 2015 and played on the main stage at the Artisan Crossing Park to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hang on Sloopy’s release in 1965, the same year that Rick graduated from high school. His little brother Randy who played the drums (standing up) was a couple of years behind him in high school.
Michael has assembled a McCoys’ memorabilia exhibit which he proudly displays in the museum in the old railroad building on Columbia Street which is adjacent to the Arts Depot and the Park.
The mural was painted by Artist Pamela Bliss. Most of the artistic activities at the festival were centered at the Union City Arts Depot and several bands played at the Artisan Crossing Park next to the Depot, including groups such as Nightfall and Password Reset. Ted Finnarn, Attorney (this reporter) remembers when the Rick-Z Combo, later Rick and the Raiders, played at the old Armory in Greenville at Saturday night dances. Finnarn played rhythm guitar in a rock band in high school known as “Five in a Row” and he remembers one time they opened for the Zehringer group at the Armory.
Many other artists were featured on both days at the festival and a children’s art workshop was held on Saturday.
BY TED FINNARN, firstname.lastname@example.org
PHOTO CAPTION: Pictured above is Michael Zehringer, cousin, standing in front of the McCoys’ Mural featuring (clockwise from bottom left) Randy Zehringer, Randy Hobbs, Rick Zehringer and Ron Brandon.