My best performances are nearly always live. The most memorable playing seems to come when I'm not thinking about it and just let it happen. Even if I don't feel that great as I walk on the stage, the show will always be good but some nights are special.
I first got interested in playing music when I found my grandmother's banjolele (a banjo-shaped ukulele) in our attic -- I was seven. I started writing music and performing on guitar at the age of eight. Since then I have never really thought about doing anything else. After my Dad showed me my first three chords, I picked the rest up myself. I was then sent to about 4 years of classical guitar lesson which were not appreciated at all at the time. You see I wanted to be playing more Shadows' tunes. I now appreciate the fact that I went. Thanks Dad!
Over the next few years I was in three bands, "The Little Ravens," "The Trubeats," and then "The Preachers." Bill Wyman was the manager and producer of this band and before I turned 15 we appeared on England's TV show, Ready, Steady, Go with Bill's Band, the Rolling Stones. (In 1975 I heard on WNEW-FM New York that I was one of five guitarists on a short list to replace Mick Taylor. Driving into Manhattan at the time I almost crashed the car!)
I left school at 16 to join the local band of South London called "The Herd." We soon became the "not so local" band and scored three top ten hits worldwide except for the U.S. After being screamed at for a while because we had entered the land of "teenybopperdom," I realize that some people seemed to care more about how I looked than what I was playing. At this time I met up with Steve Marriot of the "Small Faces," a band of whom I had always been a huge fan.
After sitting in and recording with them. Steve asked that I join the band. But when he discussed this with the others, something about a five-way split didn't seem to be that appealing. So Steve left the "...Faces," joined up with me and "Humble Pie" was born.
This was a great band to be a part of and really helped me develop my guitar style. I had always loved blues and jazz guitar but I seemed to be listening to more and more jazz. People like Kenny Burrel, George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. This influenced my style and the music of "The Pie." If you listen to "Stone Cold Fever" from Rock On you'll get the picture. We recorded five albums together before I left and went on to start a solo career.
In 1971, I recorded "Wind of Change" which was the first of four solo albums before the record breaking Frampton Comes Alive was released in 1976. It has sold over 16 million copies to date and they say it has earned me millions of dollars but, to be honest, I'm still trying to find out if that's true! The hits were coming, the tours were sell-outs, my T-shirt sales helped merchandising reach a new high, the magazine covers, with me on them, were all over the news stands and you couldn't listen to the radio without hearing "Yours Truly" way too much! Basically, Frampton Comes Alive change the record business forever.
It was an enjoyable yet exhausting period of experiencing everything I had ever wished for. I had become one of the biggest artists in the world seemingly over night but after 15 years of work!
So when you sell 8 million copies of one album in the first year the last thing you need to do is release another one right away. But with heavy persuasion being brought to bear from management and the record company, I made "I'm In You" right away! (Hindsight: I should have taken at least two years off to write and reflect about what had just happened.) Anyway, I'm In You sold over 3 million copies and was deemed a failure. In retrospect, I wish Frampton's Camel, Somethin's Happening, and Frampton had been failures, too.
By 1982, I decided to take some time off from what seemed like one big life long tour. And it was just something about that! During this period I kept playing and writing and actually stayed in one place long enough to start a family. It wasn't until 1986, when my Premonition CD was released, that David Bowie asked me to play on his album, Never Let Me Down. The following year I went on the road with him as part of the "Glass Spider Tour." this was a great experience for which I thank David. All I had to do was play guitar on all my favorite Bowie songs and for this I got paid!
I had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Steve Marriot one more time at the end of 1990 and beginning of 1991. We both could not believe how much we enjoyed doing this again. Four songs came from this collaboration. Three of the four were finished before Steve died, tragically, in a fire at his home in England on April 20th, 1991. I had thought how great it was to have a partner again, feeling I was back on track and all of a sudden he was gone. It was another reason I felt I had to go back on the road and play live again.
So in 1992 I went out and started to play clubs. It was to be a six-week tour but turned into seven months, ultimately growing from clubs to playing 15,000-seat amphitheaters. All this was with no album, not even a "tell-all" book out to promote. It was phenomenal to see and feel the reaction after not being out there for so long.
In the last couple of years I have released Peter Frampton on Relativity/Sony and Frampton Comes Alive II on Eldorado/IRS. Both Albums I regard as some of my best work ever. I have an instrumental CD coming out later this year on CMC International. A regular Frampton album, with Nile Rodgers producing, is slated to be recorded after that.
Ringo played on my first solo album and I played on his Rotogravure album. We both played on George's All Things Must Pass and now we are going to play live together with Jack Bruce, Dave Mason, Gary Brooker and Simon Kirke. The pleasure is all mine I assure you.
This biography and photograph was provided by Elizabeth Freund of Brooklyn, public relations consultant and publicist for the 1997 tour of Ringo and the All-Starr Band. The text was written by Peter Frampton.
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