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Jimmi Seiter
Background information
Birth name James Duke Seiter
Born May 2, 1945 (1945-05-02) (age 64)
Origin St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A
Occupations Road manager, Percussionist, Associate producer, Architect
Instruments Percussion
Associated acts The Byrds
The Flying Burrito Brothers
Gram Parsons

Jimmi Seiter (born James Duke Seiter May 2, 1945 in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A) has worked as a musician, percussionist, tour manager, artist manager, music producer, sound designer, stage producer and architect.

Seiter is probably best known for his work as road manager, associate producer and percussionist with The Byrds and as road manager for The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Early life

Jimmi’s musical interests developed at an early age whilst growing up in St Louis. With encouragment from his parents and two brothers who were playing trumpet and piano, Jimmi decided upon drums as his instrument of choice and he quickly developed a keen sense of rhythm and natural timing. His first exposure to live performance soon followed with school recitals on the Admiral cruise boats on the Mississippi in the early 1950s.

Jimmi soon discovered the joys of vinyl as rock-n-roll music swept into Middle America, absorbing all the greats from that era such as Bill Haley, Sam Cooke, Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley. High School was to provide Jimmi with exposure to many more likeminded musicians and he would spend much time hanging out at music rehearsals with his brother Joe’s ‘big band style’ dance band.

Jimmi's elder brother John Seiter achieved success as a drummer, recording with Spanky & Our Gang in 1967.

Around this time, Jimmi received his first invitation to form a real rock-n-roll band with two High School friends that played electric bass and guitar. With the addition of a horn player the quartet were soon performing on the ‘teen town’ dance circuit, later graduating to performances at special events and local clubs. The band later added a female vocalist and became known as ‘Vince Arter and the High-5’s’. It was during this time that the band was introduced to the young Ike Turner, already a big name in St. Louis. With his help the band were taught to play R & B alongside members of Ike’s backing band and were soon playing the breaks in between Ike Turners headline shows on the night club circuit, gaining valuable musical experience along the way.

After High School, Jimmi spent a short time in the US Navy before embarking on a College course studying Architecture and Music. With this behind him, Jimmi moved to California to pursue a career in Architecture, quickly securing a job in North Hollywood designing shopping centres.

During his time in Los Angeles, Jimmi was introduced too and befriended the singer Dobie Gray and soon became involved in the stage production for Grays musical performances. Whilst embarking on a tour of North California with Gray, Jimmi was exposed to many more touring musicians and made valuable contacts, one of whom was currently working as an equipment technician with The Byrds who at this time were enjoying chart success with hits like Mr Tambourine Man and Turn Turn Turn.

In time, Jimmi was invited to assist on a North Californian tour with The Byrds, followed by a tour of Texas, and by now, had put his architectural career on hold to concentrate on a new and challenging career as Road and Equipment Manager for one of the USA’s most influential and exciting bands.

1970s

After a brief stint working with The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons in 1969, Seiter returned to working full-time with The Byrds at the behest of their guitarist Clarence White, solidifying his role as road manager and attending to the many needs of a busy working band. He was later to be christened ‘Manager by proxy’ by long-standing Byrds publicist Derek Taylor.

During their career, The Byrds underwent many line-up changes and recorded a huge catalogue of music. Seiter is an uncredited percussionist on much of The Byrds mid to late era catalogue, and was encouraged to seek acknowledgment and credit for his performances by close friend and producer Terry Melcher, who was at this time working closely with The Byrds on their studio recordings. Both Melcher and White were also responsible for incorporating Jimmi's percussion playing into The Byrds' dynamic live shows; Jimmi was now performing alongside the band.

By 1973 The Byrds had begun to self-destruct. Seiter made the decision to leave, much to the disappointment of key band members. Drummer Gene Parsons and bassist Skip Battin were soon to be fired and inevitably Clarence White would leave the band to Roger McGuinn who was attempting a re-union album featuring the original Byrds lineup and pursuing his solo career, thus spelling the end of the road for the current and most long-standing lineup of one of America's greatest bands.

Seiter's wealth of experience enabled him to move on to work with other major recording artists of the time such as Alice Cooper, Flo & Eddie, Rocky Burnette and David Cassidy, later expanding his career in Studio Design and Construction Management. He also worked on many studio-recording projects with his long-time friend Terry Melcher among many others.

Recent Years

With his experience and knowledge in the fields of show production, audio, video, lighting, event organisation, architecture and construction Jimmi has worked on many large-scale events and installations around the world including the LA Olympics ceremonies, six subsequent Olympics, over 10 worldwide theme parks and the construction of a city in Kazakhstan. He now lives and works in Macau, China and was very much involved in planning for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Jimmi has been seeking a publisher for his forthcoming Autobiography.


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