RIP: Michael Rivinius, musician

This week, thanks to my pal David at, I received word that musician Michael Rivinius had died.

I first met Michael back in 1989 when he arranged a show with Richard Berry at JJ’s Blues Cafe in Mountain View, CA. Michael assembled his band, The Simplistics, to back up Richard, and they put on a helluva good show, which luckily…. I was able to capture on videotape, albeit with one camera.

Raymond Jax wrote up a nice little notice for Michael:

Please forgive the mass email but there are many who should be aware that we lost a true Sonoma County institution this week.

I don’t know if you are aware of this man but he was a part of the fabric of the Sonoma County music scene for the last 3 decades as the leader of the Simplistics and as a “little guy” who was always out there beating the bushes for gigs, creating showswith The Drifters, The Platters and numerous other bands. He was, as Candi Chamberlain (of KRSH, KNOB, The Pointlyss Sistars and other projects) told me this morning, a musical “facilitator”. He put a lot of different musicians together through his network of friends, players and his never ending heart and souls.

He died in SF on Tuesday awaiting a double lung transplant, he was poor as a church mouse but was rich in spirit and loved playing his music above all. I would think his passing and life would merit a mention by anyone of numerous San Francisco, Press Democrat, Bohemian and other paper’s columnists, radio personalities, a glowing obituary and a big send off from Sonoma County.

For every local musical luminary such as the highly respected and much lauded Tom Waits, Jack Blades (Night Ranger), Chris Hayes (Huey Lewis), Les Claypool (Primus), Mickey Hart (Grateful Dead, Planet Drum etc), Vince Welnick (Tubes, Grateful Dead), to name but a few, there are dozens of guys like “Muddy” who work hard all of their lives making a local music scene happen. I was not an “intimate” but I can provide anyone of you who is interested some contact numbers to learn more about this “character” who has departed from our musical community and who will be sorely missed. The musical fabric of Sonoma County is weaker today for the loss of “Muddy Rivers”.

Thank you.

Raymond Jax

Comments are closed.