Valley's renowned guitarist dies at 56
Bruce Fessier • The Desert Sun • June 11, 2008
Richard Mikuls, who played with legends of the music world, had a
Richard Mikuls, who reigned as the Coachella Valley's guitar king in
the early 1990s, died Monday at an Ironwood Country Club condo in Palm
Mikuls, who had been in poor health for years, died of a heart attack.
He was 56.
Mikuls had been touring and recording for five years with Peter Tork
of the Monkees. Before that, he was the lead guitarist in a band that
pioneered the unplugged concept in the Coachella Valley called
Unplugged, the Band. Led by John Stanley King, it was named the
valley's favorite band two years in a row by Desert Sun readers.
Randy Hewitson, owner of Musicians Outlet in Palm Desert and a rhythm
guitarist in that band, said Mikuls had been in demand in Los Angeles
since he was 17. That's when blues great Albert Collins had to get him
off the stage of the Roxie nightclub because "the union man is
But, even while playing regularly in L.A. studio sessions, Mikuls
would drive to the Coachella Valley once or twice a week to play with
"He was, in my opinion, the best guitar player I've ever heard in my
life," Hewitson said. "It was unbelievable when he played. There'd be
guy groupies - four or five guys who would be standing in front of him
to watch him play."
His friend Tim Riley of L.A. said Eric Clapton once heard him play in
Palm Springs and exclaimed, "This man could teach me blues guitar all
Mikuls grew up in the Palos Verdes area and played in his teens with
jazz guitar great Lee Ritenour.
He went on to play with Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Donny Hathaway,
Freddie Hubbard, B.B. King, James Moody, Stan Getz, Chuck Berry, Sly
Stone, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and
the Pointer Sisters.
Mikuls recorded two solo CDs, "Evil Secret Agent" and "Blow and Go."
He also made a compilation CD, "Songs from The Boneyard," and a DVD of
his art work.
A life celebration for Mikuls is planned from 1 to 4 p.m. June 21 at
CopyKatz, 200 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs.
daughters, Melody Garrard of La Quinta and Carrie Mikuls of Hemet; and
a sister, Carole Mikuls of Hemet.
Videos of Richard playing.
Bloggers post about Richard.