Mike Hinton

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Michael David Hinton (May 4, 1956 – August 1, 2013) was an American guitarist, residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. During his career, he played with numerous bands, including Norton Buffalo and the Knockouts, High Noon, Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band, to name a few. He appeared on several albums with the Rainforest Band and other Merl Saunders projects, including It's In The Air,[1] Fiesta Amazonica,[2] Still Having Fun, Merl Saunders With His Funky Friends - Live,[3][4] and Still Groovin' .


Hinton played with Country Joe and Friends,[5] and recorded with Rick Danko on A Tribute To Jerry Garcia: Deadhead Festival in Tokyo, Japan, 1997.[6] He was also on the Roky Erickson albums, Don't Slander Me and You're Gonna Miss Me: The Best Of Roky Erickson.[1] Among his other credits are his involvement in the Mickey Hart and Merl Saunders band, High Noon,[7] and Freddie Roulette and Friends.[8] He co-wrote the music for the films Stacy's Knights (1982) and Eddie Macon's Run (1983), and played on the score for the 1980s remake of the television program, The Twilight Zone with Jerry Garcia, John Cipollina, David Grisman and others. Hinton also co-wrote several songs with the late Norton Buffalo, world-renowned harmonica player, as well as playing lead guitar in Norton's band for approximately seven years, beginning in late 1980.

Hinton played several Merl Saunders tributes since the keyboardist's death in October 2008.[9][10][11] A re-launch of the Rainforest Band as a tribute to Saunders took place at the 29th Starwood Festival on July 25, 2009, the site of their last performance, featuring Saunder's son and bassist Tony Saunders, Hinton, Sikiru Adepoju and other members of the Rainforest Band and other Saunders' projects.[12]

Performed or recorded with[edit]

Television appearances and work[edit]

  • "Q" for KQED (Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band live)
  • KGO Curethon (Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band live)
  • Tales From The Crypt (TV series) (HBO) "On A Dead Man's Chest" Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist)
  • Rediscovering The Amazon - Filmed on the Amazon River (Documentary for Moondragon Pictures)
  • The Twilight Zone (CBS) "The Girl That I Married" (with John Cippolina), "Shelter Skelter", "Joy Ride", "The Junction" (with David Grisman), "Dead Run" (with Bob Weir, Brent Mydland)
  • Studio Cafe (Norton Buffalo and Michael Hinton duo live)
  • Norton Buffalo and the Knockouts live (KRCB)
  • Sports America (Abe Lemons and Eddie Sutton — NCAA Basketball Coaches)
  • "Revenge Of The Insects" (for PBS with Barry Melton and Mickey Hart)


  • I Ain't No Angel - Lindy Gravelle (1982)
  • Don't Slander Me - Roky Erickson (1986) Restless Records
  • You're Gonna Miss Me: The Best Of Roky Erickson (1991) Restless Records
  • It's In The Air - Merl Saunders & the Rainforest Band (1993) Summertone Records
  • Still Having Fun - Merl Saunders (1995) Summertone Records
  • Fiesta Amazonica - Merl Saunders (& the Rainforest Band) (1998) Summertone Records
  • Merl Saunders With His Funky Friends - Live (1998) Summertone Records
  • Still Groovin - Merl Saunders (2004) Summertone Records
  • San Francisco After Dark - Merl Saunders
  • A Promise Kept - Jim McPherson (2009)
  • Keystone Revisited - Tony Saunders, Michael Hinton, Bill Vitt, Steve Abramson, Jeff Pevar (2013)
  • Sonoma Soundtrack - Schellville Southside Blues Band
  • Joan Baez (unreleased tracks) - produced by Mickey Hart (Featuring members of the Grateful Dead and High Noon) (2001)



  • Stacy's Knights (1982) (with Kevin Costner) co-wrote the music with Norton Buffalo and performed, Crown International Pictures[13]
  • Eddie Macon's Run (1983) (with Kirk Douglas, John Schneider) co-wrote with Norton Buffalo and performed soundtrack, Universal Pictures/ MCA


  • Saunders & Friends by John Metzger - The Music Box November 1998, Volume 5, #11[14]
  • Chet Helms: Tribal Stomp (with Country Joe McDonald and Friends)
  • 2B1 Multimedia

Laser disc[edit]

  • A Tribute To Jerry Garcia: Deadhead Festival in Tokyo, Japan, 1997 (1997/8) Japanese Laser Disc NTSC - VAP Video Super Rock series VPLR-70650


  1. ^ a b "It's in the Air - Merl Saunders - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  2. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Discography: Fiesta Amazonica". Deaddisc.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Artist". Artistdirect.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  4. ^ "In Music We Trust - Merl Saunders With His Funky Friends: LIVE!". Inmusicwetrust.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  5. ^ "Michael Borbridge". Michaelborbridge.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Various Artists: A Tribute to Jerry Garcia - Deadheads Festival, Japan 1997". Theband.hiof.no. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Remembering Merl Saunders 02/14 Great American/SF". Jambase.com. 6 February 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  8. ^ "Hillbilly Music: January 2006Hillbilly-Music.com - Home of Old-Time Country Music". Hillbilly-music.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  9. ^ Metzger, John. "Merl Saunders - Garcia Tribute - Leadville - August 1996 (Concert Review)". Musicbox-online.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  10. ^ Photo of Mike Hinton at Merl Saunders' 75th Birthday Bash Archived 2009-07-15 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Great American Music Hall Website Archived 2010-12-17 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ "Reprinted from Modern Drummer Magazine, June 2009". Rosencomet.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Stacy's Knights (1982) | Movies". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-25. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  14. ^ John Metzger. "Merl Saunders - Fiesta Amazonica, Keepers, Funky Friends, Twilight Zone (Album Review)". Musicbox-online.com. Retrieved 2013-08-06.

External links[edit]