OBITUARY

Richard Chavez

December 14, 1950February 20, 2021

Richard Chavez, beloved husband, father and brother passed away on February 20, 2021. Born in El Paso Texas on December 14, 1950, Rick was a life-long professional guitarist for nearly sixty years. He began playing guitar when he was twelve, after his family relocated to Los Angeles, and for almost the next sixty years, he mastered every style he could get his fingers on, including Rock, Blues, Latin, Jazz, Classical, Country, and Tex Mex. His biggest influences throughout those years were The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, David Bowie, The Texas Tornados and Los Super Seven.

As a teenager, he attended Pasadena High School, graduating in 1969. For a short time after, he attended the Pasadena Art Center College of Design, only to realize that his path was meant to be in music. His legacy was forged in countless bands during the 60’s and 70’s, and he played at the legendary Whiskey A Go-Go and the Troubador, often having to lie about his age to get in. He played with Who Cares? Beckett, Day Trippers, Shine On, Second Nature, Zero Memory, and Carmen, a British-American progressive-rock band, in which he played flamenco and rock guitar for four years. Most notably, Rick was also the original guitarist in Steely Dan, but turned down Donald Fagin’s offer to join (he never regretted this decision). As a regular studio session guitarist in Los Angeles, Rick was often in the company of the likes of Cher, and Roberta Flack, with whom he once shared a pizza in the studio break room between sessions.

During much of the 1980’s, Rick took a break from the professional music scene and worked for AT &T for several years to focus on family life with his son, Daniel Chavez. Rick brought the same uplifting energy to his co-workers that always helped him connect with others personally. In the 1990’s Rick relocated to Las Vegas shortly after his daughter, Rebecca, was born, and was the house guitarist at the well-known coffee house, Brewed Awakening as well working for Household Credit for a short time. At the same time, Rick was networking with local musicians, and playing with casino bands at night. But it was his next job at Musician’s Friend that helped him land a gig that would get him home before midnight.

In 1998, Rick was recruited to be a performer at the Bahama Breeze restaurant where he developed his solo act, weaving in a mix of Yacht Rock, Latin, Pop and standards. A year and a half later, in 2000, he was tapped by the Wynn Casino through his agent, to form the Latin trio, “Brasilia 2000,” for the Samba Grill Restaurant. It was a grueling seven nights a week, for the first four months, but Rick was up for it. For three years, the trio was a steady musical force at the Samba Grill, playing Gypsy Jazz, Latin Rock, and Nuevo Flamenco.

In 2001, Rick received the prestigious Duende Award, given by the Las Vegas Flamenco Society for his excellence in the art of Flamenco music

In early 2003, Rick’s diligence paid off as he was hired on as a House Musician with Caesar’s Entertainment, a position he held for the next eleven years. Appearing at Bally’s, Paris, and Planet Hollywood, Rick could be seen performing six nights a week at the Tequila Bar, The Cabaret Showroom, The Extra Lounge, and Napoleon’s. As hard as he worked for Caesar’s Entertainment, he never turned down additional opportunities and performed at The MGM, The Bellagio, The Tropicana, The Luxor, Treasure Island, and The Venetian, subbing for other fellow musicians and playing specialty gigs. He played the smallest private events to the largest festivals, entertaining thousands in any given performance. Rick was constantly expanding his genres and his diverse background and virtuoso abilities made him the Go-To guitarist among local bands, agents and casino executives.

In 2014, Caesar’s underwent major changes, and Rick’s role as House Musician ended. For him, it was a welcoming change, and soon after, he was snapped up by local bars such as PT’s and the Great American Pub where he continued to perform regularly for the local bar crowds. He felt especially at home with these audiences because he would have a beer or two while performing and with fans while on break.

Throughout his professional career, Rick wrote and recorded several of his own CD’s including Calor, Rough Sea, Seasons, Instrumental Azure, and Live on the Strip, and was often featured on local radio KCEP’s Smooth Jazz programming. He also collaborated with other musicians on their projects, helping with the arranging and recording process. He was recently featured for Hispanic Heritage Month on local Las Vegas TV KLAS, paying tribute to Trini Lopez, and emphasizing the impact of Hispanic music in our culture.

In 2020, all live performing came to a halt, and Rick used this time to focus on writing new material as well as to revisit his love for original art and painting.

On February 20, 2021, Rick completed his mission and purpose in this world.

It’s hardly enough to say that Rick was positive and upbeat. He was so much more: Integrous, grateful of heart, loving, generous, open-minded and always present for everyone he met. Rick loved his children, proudly watching them meet milestones of their own, and family was always first priority. Rick loved life, he inspired creativity, and he encouraged others to recognize their own greatness. His departure leaves a heavy void, but we are better for having known him.

Rick is survived by his wife, Kathryn Chavez of 21 years; daughter Rebecca Chavez, whom he shared with former spouse Elizabeth Weinstein; son Daniel Chavez whom he shared with former spouse Frances Casselli; siblings Tony Chavez, Cindy Chavez, Patricia Chavez and Sandra Derosier; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Stella Chavez. Due to Covid restrictions, an In-person memorial has not yet been planned, but details will be announced once this is made possible.

“All you need is love….” The Beatles

Services

19 March

Celebration of Life

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Palm Southwest Mortuary

Chapel

7979 W.Warm Springs Rd.
Las Vegas, NV 89113

Memories

Richard Chavez

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Kathy Davis

March 6, 2021

I was so grateful that Kathryn met and married her soul mate. He was such a genuine, fun and loving soul. I went to visit Kathryn and Rick and he and I both woke up earlier then the rest of the house. He made a pot of coffee for us and we sat and watched the craziest documentaries. We laughed and cringed as we watched the Rats of New York! I cherised that one on one time with Rick. He had an aura where you felt an instant sense of comfort and safety. I love you Brother in law. May you be happy in heaven!!

Sandra De Rosier

February 28, 2021

My dear brother who I love and will miss so much. You meant the world to me. I will miss our daily conversations and mostly how much you made me laugh. You’re an incredible human being and meant so much to so many people. I am beyond proud to have a brother like you.

Love your sister,

Sandy

Steven Goolsby

February 26, 2021

My wife and I saw many wonderful sights in Vegas when we visited, including several live performances. However, the highlight of our whole trip to the city was our evening spent with Richard and Kathryn. Richards’s live performance that evening really spoke to us, and the time we spent with Richard and Kathryn during dinner was a joy. The whole evening is still a cherished memory. I extend my heart-felt condolences to all of Richard’s family and friends. He will be remembered and missed.

Cornelia Goolsby

February 25, 2021

My husband and I have such fond memories of an evening spent with Rick and Kathryn in Vegas. It was my birthday and we spent hours listening to him play. Although others were present, he made me feel like he was playing just for me. Later we dined next door at a very wonderful Italian restaurant where we laughed and shared stories. Many thanks to Rick for taking the time to make my special day so memorable. We will miss your smile and love of life. Hugs to your family!

Elizabeth Pereida

February 25, 2021

I met Rick as a young and very naive 18 year old. I had just started my new “real” job at AT&T and he was there to greet the newbies. He had us laughing from the moment we arrived until we left. He was so easy to talk to and so generous with his time and wisdom. He made the tedious work we did as operators enjoyable, if you can believe that. I did not get a chance to see him perform but I do remember him talking about his love of music. I am glad that I have his YouTube videos to watch. He really meant a lot to so many, and he will be missed. I am blessed to have known him. I will treasure those memories forever. Love ya Rick, always.

Daniel Chavez

February 25, 2021

Words can not express my feelings so I must share my song "My Love Never Dies" I made for my Father: https://youtu.be/uzEv2SfKm8k
I
express all my gratitude for music theory, soul and the art form of the guitar whom my father showed me. I particularly chose the Lydian mode to base the theme off of which was one of my father's favorite scales, he used to always say how beautiful it is.
Memories of of my father include contemplating Oneness, Be Here Now, Science of Mind, Mindfulness Meditation (Which ultimately led me from OM to Allah - Islam), visiting MOCA Los Angeles, skate boarding & visiting the beach in Santa Monica and Venice, teaching me riffs from his favorite guitar players John McLaughlin and Django Reinhardt, and recording our experiments on the Tascam four track recording system. I'll never forget when our house was burning down and I ran back inside to save his Gibson ES-335 sunburst guitar because I didn't want him to lose it. The memories and influence from my father will be with me forever, and my love and gratitude for my father will never fade. May God The Compassionate The Merciful make it easy for us, Ameen

Amanda Ruiz

February 25, 2021

Word can’t even describe what a great loss this is to our entire family, and how devastating this is. I will miss my uncle Rick, and will remember all the fond memories we had together. Rest In Peace uncle Rick!

Patricia Chavez

February 25, 2021

I find it hard to put into words the great loss our family has received. Our brother Rick was the kindest brother a sister could ever hope for. I will miss his laughter and the way he could always come up with the best jokes ever! I miss him so much. He is with mom and dad now probably playing some Beatles, as, if anyone knows us, is the all time favorite of the family. I love you Rick. There is a new star in the sky now. Love, your sister Patricia

Karen Shaw

February 25, 2021

I wrote a memory of visiting Las Vegas, and Kathy and Rick gave me and Bill a special performance at the Paris. I am now posting pictures from that event. Kathy sang and Rick played guitar. Kathy was President and soprano of the select women's choir, Centralettes, at ACHS in the 80's. She went on with her singing career in college, and I kept in touch with her all these years. I met Rick, a most wonderful man, when we visited them in Las Vegas. My heart goes out to Kathy and the entire family for this great loss.

Kathleen (Bunny) & Jeff Kelly

February 25, 2021

Ieeeeeee.....(however you'd spell it) don't know what to say. There is one memory. #2 to 2 million....well, there is not enough room here to tell anyone who ever knew Rick the affect he had on our lives. I'm sure many would agree. If you were his friend, you were a friend forever! If you weren't, you'd likely remember him forever. From our South Pasadena days to Las Vegas times (about 45 years in all) there was never a time he was not a light in dark days and an inspiration in so many ways. He was full of talent, the gift of life, love, smiles and songs. Thank you Rick for all the laughs, music, love and great memories we can hold on to. Kathryn, we are lifting you and Rick's entire family up in prayer. Love seeing so many of his accomplishments and memories here. He's never to be forgotten.... thank you for being such a special part of our wedding and one of my dearest forever friends.

FROM THE FAMILY