While still in high school Jimi started his professional career at the tender age of 17 with well-known Bay Area blues men, Paul Durkett and Byrd Hale. At 19 he joined Mark Hummel and the Blues Survivors, starting what would be the beginning of a perpetual life on the road. On his 21st birthday he auditioned for and won the gig of his dreams with Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, the very same band that had inspired him to become a professional drummer. After a total of 8 years with The Fabulous Thunderbirds Jimi has left the band to take a break
from touring, and to work in his Portland
based studio, Roseleaf Studios.
Currently he is playing with his new band, Woodbrain, in Portland and in the Pacific Northwest. His discography boasts impressive credits to over 60 CD's and countless live performances with other blues greats.
Born in San Francisco on August 13, 1965, some would say that music is in his blood. His father, Ken Bott, was his earliest musical influence. He would sing and play guitar every night after work entertaining Jimi, his brother Jere, their mom and two dogs (the audience was nearly spellbound each evening). Ken bought Jimi his very first drum and paid for his lessons. His mother Lee, though often rattled by his constant practicing, was always encouraging and supportive. Later, he and his brother Jere would record and produce their father's very late debut CD entitled The Blues From Bottsville (click here for more information and to buy a copy). At the age of 72, Ken was finally able to realize his life-long dream to write and record an album. The Blues From Bottsville features Jim Wallace, one of Portland's most seasoned blues musicians, on harmonica as well as Marc Ford, famous guitarist for the Black Crowes & Ben Harper. Only released as a limited pressing, the CD was very well received on the west coast and in blues magazines, such as Blues Revue. The CD also won Ken his first professional gig at the renowned Portland Riverfront Blues Festival. Ken was backed by Jere and Jimi's local band (featuring Jim Wallace and young guitarist, Wayne Morely) and they tore the house down!
Jimi was privileged to be schooled by two of the best drum instructors in the country. From 1980 to 1983 he studied with the Bay Area great, Forrest Elledge. Later, while living in Los Angeles, he was one of the famous Murray Spivack's last (and according to Murray, one of his best) students ever, an incredible compliment considering Murray's list of students includes world-famous drummers such as Joe Morello (Dave Brubeck), David Garibaldi (Tower of Power), Louie Bellson and Chuck Silverman. Hand technician geniuses, both Forrest and Murray befriended Jimi and passed on their vast knowledge of stick control, musicality, and sense of rhythm. Forrest and Murray's influence flows through every performance of Jimi's.
Although Jimi's first love is blues, as a drummer he excels in many other genres. Check out his now-defunct band, Mad Hattie (Soul Fishin'), and hear him play different styles that bridge jazz, country, punk and electric bluegrass (click here for more information and to buy a CD). Jimi is also one hell of a rock drummer and he has played with several mainstream players including rock guitar hero, Marc Ford (The Black Crowes & Ben Harper). While on hiatus from The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1998 to 2000, Marc and Jimi, along with Luther Russell and Fred Trujillo, formed the crushing rock band Federale. A blend of The Band meets Neil Young, Federale never made a commercially released CD. They became a cult Internet sensation and toured the country with other underground greats Government Mule and The Mother Hips. Only a handful of demos and live recordings remain. Jimi is currently working on gathering these together as another possible archival project.
A current resident of Portland, OR, Jimi is a regular on the music scene there. He can be seen playing with many of the city's great musicians. Among his favorites are: Jim Wallace, Marco Savo, Curtis Salgado, and Lloyd Jones.