Alaska Native/Indigenous People

Derek Derendoff – Athabascan Musician

Derek Derendoff is Koyukuk Athabascan from Huslia, and currently lives in Fairbanks with his significant other Carol Douglas, and their two sons. He has a full-time day job working for Doyon Drilling on the North Slope. He has a great sense of humor. I’ve known Derek since he was a young boy. He is an excellent baseball player.

Original members of the One Night Stand Band include the late Kenny Sam, Jr., Willis Derendoff, Derek Derendoff and Ryan Olin. Courtesy photo
Original members of the One Night Stand Band include the late Kenny Sam, Jr., Willis Derendoff, Derek Derendoff and Ryan Olin. Courtesy photo

In his free time, Derek is a part of the One Night Stand Band, formed in 1997. They mostly play popular cover song, like Indian Rock & Roll. Derek plays the guitar and sings, but he also manages the band and is in charge of booking gigs. Band members include Ryan Olin, Willis Derendoff, Joshua Koyukuk, Gerald McCarty and our late drummer, Kenny Sam, Jr. (who was a part of the original band). The One Night Stand Band may not be the most well-known band in Alaska, but they are popular in the interior Alaskan villages. Derek says, “Our band plays classic rock, like CCR, Rolling Stones and Del Shannon, etc.”

The One Night Stand Band performs Indian Rock & Roll in Fairbanks. It is a popular song among Alaska Native people, especially Athabascans.

Derek learned how to sing and play guitar from other musicians from around Huslia. His love of guitar playing started when his dad showed him how to tune and play a few songs. Derek’s role models include his uncle Bill Derendoff, Marc Brown, Herbie Vent and the late Pete Wholecheese. He said, “Pete Wholecheese helped us start our band and travelled with us on gigs.”

Derek also makes his own songs while he practices playing guitar. He says, “I just do it for my own entertainment, never really share them.” One song did share is called, Beautiful Alaskan Ladies. Carol Douglas shared it below.

Derek says, “My parents drilled it into me to not do drugs when I got older and that’s how playing guitar became my hobby.” As a teen, Derek could often be found playing guitar at his home or at a friend’s house. His parents, Frances and CeCe Nollner, encouraged his musical interests.

The One Night Stand Band performed in Nulato on New Year's Eve in 2011. Courtesy photo
The One Night Stand Band performed in Nulato on New Year’s Eve in 2011. Courtesy photo

Being a part of a band gives Derek something to look forward to on those long winters and short summers. He says, “It makes you feel proud when you see people dancing to your music. After a while it’ll be all you want to do.” Derek encourages people to learn a few chords if they have a guitar or have access to one.

Derek was fortunate to grow up around and in a family of musicians. They taught him how to play for free. Derek says he is willing to teach anyone who is interested for free as a way to pay it forward.

“When I play music I feel accomplished because when we first started we didn’t know anything about timing. After the years have gone by, our music sounds a lot better. Something we worked so hard to learn is paying off every gig we’re offered.” – Derek Derendoff

It is important to support local musicians, like Derek. They all have to start somewhere. Many of my friends and relatives enjoy the music and can even sing along with the musicians. Find the One Night Stand Band on Facebook. I admire musicians like Derek and his fellow band members who have the discipline to practice and perfect their craft.

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