Paco Zimmer

Artist Manager/Tour Manager/Concert Promoter

by Bruce McCrae & Rick Bellaire

Richard “Paco” Zimmer has had a stellar international career as a concert promoter, artist manager, tour manager and tour accountant. He reached the highest levels of the entertainment business providing guidance for the superstars including Boston, Jimmy Page/Robert Plant, Kiss, The Allman Brothers Band, Robin Williams and The Who.

Paco Zimmer with Gene Simmons of Kiss


Paco began his career in the music business in New York, first as tour manager for Vanilla Fudge and Cactus which included tours in 1968 with The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Led Zeppelin’s first tour of North America in 1969. He next worked as a concert promoter for Concerts East in New York, his market area comprising upstate New York, Maine and Rhode Island.

By 1976, he had moved to Rhode Island with his family as the Ocean State was most central to the locations in his market. In Rhode Island he presented concerts at the Providence Civic Center, and The Palace Theatre featuring Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, The Kinks, The Who, The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat, Earth, Wind & Fire, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles and too many others to list.

In 1978 he returned to the road as tour manager and tour accountant for the band Boston.

After his move to Rhode Island, Paco had become a great advocate for local bands and along the way, he remained true to his belief in the Rhode Island music scene. He was one of the creators and manager of Center Stage.

The showcase club in East Providence opened in 1980 and featured such diverse acts as U2, Mel Torme and Buddy Rich, Muddy Waters, Count Basie, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Iggy Pop, The Sir Douglas Quintet, Jack Bruce & Friends, Tammy Wynette, B.B. King, Pat Benatar, James Brown and (again) too many others to list. He always made a point of featuring local artists as opening acts when the name bands came through town.

In 1980, Paco opened Center Stage in East Providence. The showcase club presented national touring acts including U2, Iggy Pop and James Brown and featured a steady stream of local acts from New England’s talent pool. He is seen here on opening night, September 18, 1980, with The Dixie Dregs on stage.

From 1983 on, the lure of the road once again called and Paco was tour manager and/or tour accountant for acts including The Allman Brothers Band, Stray Cats, Peter Gabriel, Paul Young, Julian Lennon, The J. Geils Band, Yes, Lou Reed, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Robert Plant, The Who, Page/Plant, ZZ Top, Celine Dion and Kiss.

Paco was the tour manager for The Allman Brothers Band during their first reunion era of the early 1980s. He is seen here with the band’s lead guitarists Dickey Betts and “Dangerous” Dan Toler. He is featured in the documentary film of the Brothers of the Road tour.

Paco Zimmer and Lou Reed

In between touring (from 1983 through 2014), Paco also championed many Rhode Island acts and is credited with putting the music of Mark Cutler onto the national scene when he procured the Atco Records contract for Raindogs. He acted as the band’s manager from 1988 through 1990.

n 1984, Paco presented the “Guitar Greats” concert in Passaic, New Jersey in conjunction with Monarch Entertainment and Guitar Player magazine. The show was filmed for broadcast as an MTV Rockumentary. Seen here, left to right, are Link Wray, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Dave Edmunds of Rockpile, Paco Zimmer, Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers Band, Brian Setzer of The Stray Cats, Steve Cropper of Booker T. & The M.G.’s, Lita Ford of The Runaways, Neal Schon of Santana and Journey, and Tommy Iommi of Black Sabbath.

For his skills, he was named “Tour Accountant of the Year” by Performance Magazine in 1995 (for Page/Plant), in 1996 (for The Who) and again in 1998 (for tours with Page/Plant Kiss). In 1998, he was named “Road Warrior of the Year” by Pollstar for the Page/Plant tour.

From 1988 to 1995, Paco toured the world with Robert Plant including the two reunion tours with Plant’s former Led Zeppelin partner Jimmy Page to promote their “Unledded” and “Walking To Clarksdale” albums.

On April 26, 2015 Paco Zimmer was inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in a ceremony conducted by Barry Goudreau and Sib Hashian, two original members of the band Boston.


The authors and the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame would like to thank Paco’s wife and partner, Judi Zimmer, for opening up the family scrapbook for this Historical Archive entry.

Paco and Judi Zimmer with English soul man Paul Young.

Julian Lennon and Paco Zimmer

Robert Plant and Paco Zimmer

Paco Zimmer and Gene Simmons make their getaway after a show.

On tour with The Who: Simon Townsend, Rabbit Bundrick, Paco and Zak Starkey, and (below) Paco with bassist extraordinaire Pino Palladino.

You can dress ’em up…Paco (at right) seen here with Doc McGhee (manager Bon Jovi, Kiss), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) and Bill Curbishley (manager Page/Plant and The Who).