Kevin Rutmanis was born Kevins Roberts Visvaldis Rutmanis in the Bronx, New York, United States in 1958 to Latvian immigrants. Kevin's family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska afterwards. Rutmanis completed a public school education where he excelled in music playing the piano and cello. He moved to the Minneapolis area in 1976. Rutmanis attended the University of Minnesota where he befriended Thor Eisentrager.