Miami People

Sigi Ammann's Rock-Star Resemblance Is Far From the Most Interesting Thing About Him

Tucked in the back of the Fillmore Miami Beach, Sigi Ammann's office is enough to give any neat freak anxiety. Posters from nearly every one of the venue's past decade of shows coat the walls — some autographed, some so badly worn it's impossible to tell Jay Z from AC/DC. A single-file line of bras hangs from the ceiling. They were not, Ammann notes with a hint of sadness, removed in his office, but rather plucked from the Fillmore's stage. Many, surprisingly, were flung during a Tom Jones concert. (Yeah, Ammann doesn't get it either.)

Ammann's official title at the Fillmore is now "maintenance manager," although it's a bit unfair to corral him into a single job. Ammann is an octopus, completing a hundred little tasks a day.

"Even when the Stones were playing and Keith Richards was onstage, they thought I was Keith Richards."

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He's been at the Fillmore since 2008 and working in Miami nightlife since the '80s. Now, at the age of 64, he's become a local icon in Miami thanks in part to his unique and effortlessly cool fashion (including many clothes he makes himself), as well as his uncanny resemblance to Keith Richards. It's so uncanny, in fact, that when Ammann went to watch the Stones' debut performance in Cuba last March, he was nearly torn to shreds by manic Cubans.

"Even when the Stones were playing and Keith Richards was onstage, they thought I was Keith Richards," Ammann says.

Ammann grew up in western Austria, sandwiched in a village of 5,000 between Zurich and Munich. His parents owned a carnival and traveled across Europe during the summer. "That's how I kind of got introduced to music at an early age," he says.

He traveled to the States in the late '70s to visit friends and soon landed a gig at a club in D.C. When that joint closed, his manager opened a new club, Crobar (which would later become Cameo), in Miami Beach, and Ammann followed, working as a VIP host.

"When I first came here in the '80s, there was really nothing happening," he says. "You had to go to Broward to see a band."

Options have since improved vastly, which is good news for Ammann, a regular presence at Live Nation events in Miami. Though he says retirement is in sight, he's not quite ready to clean out the office yet.

In June 2015, Ammann was tending to a curtain on a ladder during soundcheck when he slipped, tumbling down and breaking both hands and a wrist. The doctor advised him to stay away from work for a year. But five weeks after surgery, Ammann asked his boss if he could come back.

Sure, he was told, just stay off the ladder. "I'm fine with that," he says.

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Ryan Pfeffer is a contributor and former Miami New Times music editor. After earning a BS from Florida State University, Ryan joined the New Times staff in November 2013 as a web editor.
Contact: Ryan Pfeffer