Jimmi Seiter's recollections
David Cassidy The Way I Know Him
By: Jimmi Seiter.
I was working in the recording studio with Equinox Records at RCA in Hollywood producing records, playing percussion and running the daily in-studio operations when I received a call from my partner songwriter, singer and sometime Beach Boy, Bruce Johnston, regarding a new artist that he was going to produce for RCA. David Cassidy was the artist. Bruce had called me because he knew that I had taken David on his world tour as production Manager and that I could help to make him feel comfortable in the studio.
David Cassidy - When I first met David it was several years earlier and I had no idea who he was and I never watched the Partridge Family TV show. So I was working with him and I hadn't yet met him. It was set up that we would meet at the TV studio in the Valley where the Partridge Family was filmed. His manager thought that it would be a good idea if I met him this way and get to know him and he could get to know me as I drove him home from the studio.
I arrived at the security gate and there were about 50 girls lined up outside the gate all with posters, photos and books to be signed. I was escorted through the gates and into a small office area. About 2 minutes later David walked in and introduced himself to me. We shook hands and he asked if I was ready to leave. He was still wearing his stage makeup and asked me to please just get him out of there as it had been a hard day. I said sure let's go and we headed for the car. As soon as the young ladies saw him come out they all started screaming his name, which made him get to the car even quicker and we started for the gate.
As we approached the gate David told me to not stop because he did not want to sign autographs today. I said okay and the hope was that we could get through this wall of young ladies without hurting anyone. The guards moved forward with the car and we made it into the street. That's how David and I met and got acquainted. He knew my history of being on the road for many years with the Byrds and other music acts and he asked me a lot of questions about my history. The ride to his house was just a ride in a car with 2 strangers getting to know each other.
Now here I was years later after taking this artist on his International Tour to Asia, Australia and Europe and seeing those thousands of screaming fans everywhere. I was going to have him in the recording studio for the next few months. Well I was hoping that it would not be as hectic as the tours had been.
That tour of Australia was almost like the Beatles shows that I had done many years earlier. I know that those days are over but those Cassidy fans were just as fanatical as in the days of the Mop top band from Liverpool.
The tour with David had started in New Zealand with a show in Auckland it was indoor in a concert hall and the fans were a bit under control as they were in seats and the security tried hard to make them stay there. They screamed David's name all through the show and all night after the show outside the Hotel.
Now here we were in Australia and at a race track in Sydney and there was a lot of open space and no seats for the audience. This was a challenge to be sure as the security wall was not that high and neither was the stage. I had a talk with the promoter when I arrived at the venue about the stage height as he was doing all the shows in Australia. I told him that I thought it was too low and that we had to use it but if there was a problem after this show the stage needed to be raised so that the audience could not get on stage that easily. There was also a problem with the security wall it was too close to the stage and was tied to the stage support posts. He agreed but there was no time to redo it now as the audience was already there and about to be let in and my setup began.
Listen to Jimmi as the stage is collapsing.
About noon I think the audience was let into the venue. They were screaming from the second they arrived. I got applause every time I walked out on the stage and we were still many hours away from the show. It was hot and I remember getting the sun burn of my life that day as I did not have a hat on. Many of the young ladies had problems with the heat as well. Quite a few fans went to the hospital tents that were setup in the backstage area. We even sprayed water on the crowd and they loved it. They were too hot to stand it but they would not leave to give up their locations to get water or get out of the sun.
The show went on about 4pm I think and man was the audience loud. So loud in fact we on the stage had to wear ear plugs just to keep from loosing our hearing. There was some advanced publicity in Australia about how David liked Koalas, well after the show there were about 20 large trash bags full of Toy Koalas collected from the stage. During the show there was a constant barrage of flowers and toys and then a shoe came up on stage, David picked it up and added it into his lyrics and of course the audience responded by throwing a lot of shoes on the stage. The band and the singers as well as David had to duck for cover and then David asked them to please stop with the shoes.
Only about 5 or 6 fans got to the stage and none got to David thanks to me tackling a few and the security taking the others off the back of the stage. David was very impressed by the reaction of the fans but he was not free to go anywhere without all the security that we had arranged for him. Nearing the end of this show the front wall was pushed on so hard that the front of the stage started to collapse. I took David back off the front and we had to stop as it was not really safe to continue. We made a few announcements to get people to push back from the wall but it was not easy to do. All I remember is that at the end as the band walked off the stage there was a constant bombardment of Koala's and flower's and some under garments too.
The picture on the left was taken at the MCG, March 10th 1974. The author, Jimmi, can be seen removing the tangled mass of streamers.
The remaining Australian dates were much the same except the fans seemed to get more organized in the later shows, they would attack the stage in waves as it was harder to catch 3 or 4 at a time. The stages were also higher at the other shows which helped a lot. The security also got to be more familiar with how to protect the stage and the fans. I found a charity that was more than happy to get all those bears that did not have homes. Was this what I was to expect at RCA?
That first day at RCA was a bit strange as some of the other's were not sure what to expect. It was calm and there was not a lot of fan fare really. David came in we said hello with a hug and he was introduced to all that were there. David and Bruce Johnston had a brief talk and headed to the piano for a bit of music. The band sat around and listened to what was being played. Bruce sat in and they started to work on an arrangement for a song. The engineers were setting up microphones as we started to work on a track. They had set up the booth that Elvis would use so that David could sing along while the band laid down the tracks and his vocal would not leak into the other microphones.
I had my little area of the studio where all my percussion instruments were setup and as needed I played on the tracks that were recorded. I had my camera with me as well so I recorded moments as they occurred. I was only really comfortable taking photos at certain moments. David was not that fond of a camera in the studio but since it was me he didn't seem to mind most of the time. I always shot all of my photos with available light which is why many do not look to be in perfect color. The flash of a camera always made everyone a bit nervous but the click of a camera was hardly ever noticed. I used to wait for the mood to be just right and then take my photos. After a week or so we had a full day of work to do in the control room on cleaning tracks and preparing for over-dubs so the band used the time for some rehearsals in the studio. David was a performer to be sure as he entertained the band.
David grew up musically a lot during the making of this album. I do however think that we recorded material for two albums there. We just cut the songs, what happened to them after that was not up to us.
The album's that we worked on were titled "The Higher They Climb" & "Home Is Where the Heart Is" these were David's first attempts at being his own artist. We had some very seasoned professionals that worked with David on these songs and we spent a lot of time trying to get it right. I am not sure whether it was a success or not but we all tried to do our best as we always did.
David was under a lot of pressure during these times as he was stepping out on his own as Artist and Producer. The band consisted of Steve Ross on guitar who has known David since before he was Keith Partridge. Rickey Fatar on drums as he was one of David's favorite drummer's. Brian Garafolo on Bass, he had been with us on the world tour and I had known him for many years myself. Bill House on guitar, he was new to David but Bill & I had worked together for many years. There were many other's that played and sang on the records but I hate to guess who they were. I of course played percussion on many of those tracks as that was my chosen field of music in the studio.
Those of you that are the true fans can read the credits to know who did what and all the rest.
Written for Australian fans
by Jimmi Seiter
We would like to thank Jimmi for taking the time to write this article and allowing us to use his photos. You can contact Jimmi Seiter regarding his wonderful collection of photos.
Photo from 'Home Is Where The Heart Is' inner sleeve. UK release.