Derek Sherinian (born August 25, 1966) is an American keyboardist who has toured and recorded for Alice Cooper, Billy Idol, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kiss, and Joe Bonamassa. He was also a member of Dream Theater from 1994–99, is the founder of Planet X and also one of the founding members of Black Country Communion. He has released seven solo albums that have featured a variety of prominent guest musicians, including guitarists Slash, Yngwie Malmsteen, Allan Holdsworth,Steve Lukather, Joe Bonamassa, Billy Sheehan, Zakk Wylde and Al Di Meola.
Sherinian has distinguished himself by his aggressive "guitaristic" approach to his keyboard style. He has appeared on the cover of numerous keyboard magazines around the world, including the November 2011 issue of Keyboard Magazine, which declared Sherinian a "Keyboard Hero for a new generation". He has also been called the "King of the Keys" by Guitar World magazine and the "Caligula of Keyboards" by Alice Cooper. His musical influences include Elton John, Van Halen and Jeff Beck.
He is of Greek and Armenian descent and has a special interest in Armenian history.
Sherinian's first professional gig after leaving Boston was with ex-Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsies drummer Buddy Miles touring the Chitlin' Circuit. Sherinian received his first big break with Alice Cooper in 1989 to tour in support of the platinum selling Trash album. Sherinian toured and recorded with Cooper on and off until 1998. Sherinian played offstage keyboards on the 1992 KISS Revenge tour.
Since 1999, Sherinian has recorded seven solo albums, featuring performances by numerous highly acclaimed musicians. Sherinian's first solo album, Planet X (1999), written and recorded with Australian drummer Virgil Donati, led to the formation of a band of the same name (Planet X). Guitar virtuoso Tony MacAlpine was recruited to complete the band. Sherinian has stated that his intention when forming Planet X was to create a group of musicians that "played their instruments so fiercely, that they would strike fear in the hearts of all musicians".
In 2001, Derek teamed with drummer Simon Phillips and guitarists Steve Lukather and Zakk Wylde to record Inertia, followed by Black Utopia (2003). For Black Utopia, three new faces joined Sherinian's group: bassist Billy Sheehan, rock guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, and jazz fusion guitarist Al Di Meola.
Sherinian extended further into the fusion realm by collaborating with guitarist Allan Holdsworth and violinist Jerry Goodman (formerly of the Mahavishnu Orchestra) onMythology (2004). In addition to another appearance by Phillips, other musicians appearing on this recording were Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Steve Stevens, and Tony Franklin.
Since 2002, Sherinian has toured with several well-known artists, including Billy Idol and Yngwie Malmsteen. Derek's fifth solo album, Blood of the Snake (2006), features contributions from Idol, as well as former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, John Petrucci of Dream Theater, and Brian Tichy; Phillips, Franklin and Lukather make return appearances. A video for a cover version of Mungo Jerry's "In the Summertime" was released along with the album. Sherinian also worked with dudukmaster Djivan Gasparyan on the song "Prelude To Battle" on the release, written for his great grandmother who survived the Armenian genocide. In 2009, Sherinian released his sixth solo album, Molecular Heinosity, again featuring Zakk Wylde, Tony Franklin and Brian Tichy. Later that year, Sherinian also performed a one-off acoustic gig with Alice in Chains to launch their Black Gives Way to Blue album.
In September 2011, Sherinian released his seventh solo album titled Oceana, reuniting with Simon Phillips and Steve Lukather, and featuring a guest appearance from BCC bandmate Joe Bonamassa.