Richard Francis "Rikk" Agnew, Jr. (born December 9, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and artist. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Agnew has been a member of some of the most influential bands of the Orange Countyhardcore punk genre, as well as the influential deathrock band Christian Death. During his years with the Adolescents, Agnew became known as one of the best guitarists in the Southern California hardcore punk scene.
Agnew has also pursued a solo career and released his debut album, All by Myself, in 1982. He later released Emotional Vomit in 1990 and Turtle in 1992.
Agnew was born half Irish and half Mexican-American and raised in a blue-collar neighborhood in Fullerton, California. He attended La Vista High School. Because he was shy, Agnew gravitated toward music, and along with his younger brothers Frank and Alfie played various instruments that they found around the house.
With Casey Royer, Agnew played in Social Distortion and the Detours in 1979. He joined the Adolescents in 1980. His guitar style and writing dominated the Adolescents' Blue Album, released in May 1981 on Frontier Records. Agnew left the band soon after the album's release due to personal and creative differences.
In 1981, Agnew attended a performance by Christian Death in Pomona, California. Attracted by their style and sound, he approached them after the show and asked if they needed another guitarist. Agnew joined Christian Death soon after leaving the Adolescents, writing and playing guitar on the seminal Only Theatre of Pain album, issued by Frontier in March 1982. He also performed on the band's Deathwish EP, recorded before the album during the sessions for the compilation Hell Comes to Your House but not released until 1984.
In 2000, Agnew again regrouped with the Adolescents and continued to play with them until 2003.
Agnew toured with the reunited 45 Grave, in place of original guitarist Paul B. Cutler, in 2004 and 2005. He also played guitar in Poop (with Scott Hoogland, former frontman of the influential Orange County band The Mechanics) and the reunited Detours.
After playing in Christian Death 1334 with James McGearty and Eva O, Agnew joined the new lineup of Voodoo Church as second guitarist and performed on their 2009 album Eminence of Demons.
In 2013, Agnew was active playing in Wrong Beach, producing bands and recording solo work and various projects. He also rotated between guitar, drums and bass for Chaotic Stature. In 2015, Agnew was listed as active with the Detours and also had a touring band of his own, the The Rikk Agnew Band. In Los Angeles he occasionally works on film soundtracks.
In 1982, Agnew released his first solo album, All by Myself (Frontier), on which he played all the instruments. Agnew went on to release two more solo albums, Emotional Vomit (under the name Rikk Agnew's Yard Sale) in 1990 and 1992's Turtle, both on Triple X Records. About the album Emotional Vomit, Agnew said, "A lot of (the songs) I wrote while I was in a very bad state, a very lonely and self-abusing state. It was a way of letting it out."
Agnew struggled with alcohol and drug use over much of his career, but in 2010, had a health crisis and started an effort to stay sober. Besides being a musician, Agnew is also an artist, working in painting and sculpture.
In 1990, Agnew was engaged to Karen Mountain, with whom he had a daughter. He became engaged to fellow former Christian Death member Gitane Demone on May 3, 2013. Each has a daughter from a previous relationship.