Randy Z (Zehringer) – Drums, Percussion
Randy Z is Randy Zehringer and he is Rick Derringer”s brother. Rick changed his last name.
Janice Zehringer: “Randy had encephalitis. After he got out of the hospital, he came home from Connecticut and stayed for maybe six months. Then he went back to New York. He was going to try to work. And he called me one day and said,
Can I come home?' I said,Of course, you can come home.’ And we realized that he wasn’t going to be able to play. It was too much for his nervous system. The noise from the drums was one thing. And then the huge amplifiers and everything. He takes medication to this day. Not anything powerful or anything like that, just pills that keep him a little less nervous. He was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown probably five or six times after that.”
Randy Z was finding that his body was beginning to deteriorate due to the excesses he had put himself through the previous few years. Physically, he was starting to fall apart. Whether these excesses were relevant to his contracting encephalitis is a matter of opinion.
Liz Derringer: “Very relevant. He just broke down. He was going too crazy.”
Randy Zehringer: “We were supposed to play as The McCoyssomewhere in Connecticut. We were sitting in the dressing room and all of a sudden I didn’t feel well and told them that they couldn’t go on with me that night. So I was in the hospital there in Connecticut for three or four days or a week maybe. Then I went to Dayton. I was in the hospital there for a couple of weeks.”
Liz Derringer: “He didn’t remember a lot back then. He was too screwed up. But we were too young to know it was a serious problem. We did see it coming. There was a lot of signs. I remember we were in L.A. and Rick and I drove back to New York. Randy didn’t come with us. He said he was going to get on a plane the next day. We didn’t hear from him for a long time. And we were all pretty worried about him. I heard he was hanging out with Danny Hutton, Jim Morrison, all those people and going wild. And he came home and we asked him where he was and he said Arizona. He said the TV told him to go there. He was so out of it. Couldn’t make any sense out of something like that.”
When Randy Z was originally admitted into the hospital the nature of his problem escaped medical detection.
Liz Derringer: “They didn’t know. He was in some sort of catatonic state. They kept a curtain around his bed. They opened it during the day and he would get up and close it. He was not eating or anything. They were feeding him intravenously. Very bizarre, you have no idea.”
Janice Zehringer: “He’s lived with us ever since. He does everything he wants to do. Goes everywhere he wants to go. Drives a car and everything. He volunteers at the Mental Health Center not too far from where we live. He’s there about three or four days a week and he gets along fine. But it’s too bad. He still loves music. He still enjoys going to see Rick. But as far as being a part of it, no, he can’t. But he’s fortunate because he could be dead. We’re just glad he’s here.”
Liz Derringer: “She (Janice) blamed a lot of it on me. She just didn’t know what was going on in New York City. It wasn’t just me. It was everything. I certainly didn’t do as many drugs as Randy did. And I didn’t hang out and go crazy with the people he did. He did it on his own. In those days it was
sex, drugs and rockn’ roll’ of the 60s. And Randy was a victim of the 60s. We were all doing the same crazy stuff. Eventually he (Rick) got pretty screwed up. But Rick’s screwup was drugs and drinking. I didn’t do drugs and drink, no matter what was going on. It was a very confusing time for everybody. Everybody was doing everything. I regret a lot of that now but what could I do? That’s what was accepted then. And I think it hurt a lot of people.”
Albums: Johnny Winter – And