MS: As a child growing up in England, was there any particular
person or influence that got you started?
Peter: The people that got me started were watching American musicians on TV in England. I saw a film of Buddy Holly and I think it was after he had passed away somewhere around 1958. That's when I started being aware of the extraordinary sound of an electric guitar with a wang bar (laughs). It was a bit too much. It was something that I knew I had to get a hold of. That was my pledge, as soon as I heard American music, to find me a guitar. Basically, the main band in England that was very influential were The Shadows. They were all instrumental but they had huge hits and up until the Beatles – because the Beatles happened in '62 for us and not '63 - and even after the Beatles they were still having hits. Hank Marvin, the lead guitarist for the band was a huge influence on me.
MS: I know very early on you hooked up with Bill Wyman. How did you get a
contact like that?
Peter: Pretty cool contact wouldn't you say?
MS: Yeah. How does that happen?
Peter: At that time, around the Little Red Rooster period and maybe a little bit after that, after the Stones' Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown period, I was about fourteen fifteen years old – while I was still in school- I was playing in this semi-pro band called The Preachers. I got into this band because I was precocious enough that I had made myself known to the professional and semi professional bands locally that I wasn't bad. And I was young so I would go to gigs and ask if I could sit in and they would laugh and say sure. Then I'd sit in and they would dig it. That's how I got noticed. So the drummer from our band, had been one of Bill Wyman's best friends, Tony Chatman , who was the original drummer for the Stones. So that's the connection and in the end Charlie took over and Tony wasn't in the band. But they were good to Tony and said go form a band and I owe you one. Basically, the first band that Bill produced was the Preachers and there I am. That's how I got to know Bill Wyman.
MS: Eventually you wound up with Humble Pie and left because of artistic differences.
How did that happen?
Peter: They still use that term "artistic differences'? They don't know why, so they say "artistic differences' (laughs). That's funny. No, it was basically because Humble Pie's original direction, when Steve Mariott and I met up, had much more of an open field as far as musical content. In fact you'll notice the difference in the earlier Humble Pie albums. Then the direction seemed to narrow due to what the audience went for. We were more electric live and in the end the direction was going to the point where we weren't doing any acoustic numbers anymore. Which we used to start off doing when we first went on stage as Humble Pie. So basically, that was one of the reasons. I was a little frustrated that we weren't doing a wider selection of music anymore. But it was time for me to go and, you know, do my own band. I was becoming increasingly more frustrated that I couldn't do certain numbers. I enjoyed every moment with Humble Pie and it was the best band I've ever been in. Obviously , it was a phenomenal band and I had a great time with it and every body in the band. So it wasn't bad- it was just time for me to move on.
MS: I going to skip over some things but I want to get to "Frampton Comes
Alive." Was it along road for you to finally achieve that type of commercial
Peter: Well, first of all, you never know when any sort of break through is going to come. You don't know until it hits you that you are there. So it makes you feel like it doesn't matter. Whatever it took to get there, now you've got some recognition. I think I'm just very grateful (laughs).
MS: That's good to hear from you because I'm not sure that all modern pop
stars share your modesty.
Peter: I don't know. Basically you are successful because a lot of people are buying your album or CD. That means the general public pretty much thinks that that material is good. It's obviously incredibly flattering.
MS: Well it is. And your career is incredible when you think about the unparrelled
success of "Frampton Comes Alive" and then some of the tragic events
Peter: Not so tragic. First of all you look at anybody's career relatively, there's very few if any that haven't faltered or taken a long time to take off. Everybody's career has got a jagged graft to it, you know. It's because what you do, playing music or taking photos and being an artist is down to being a whim – isn't it?
MS: That's true.
Peter: It's what they like and what they don't like. So when you hit a nerve with something you are very thankful.
MS: I know you've toured forever. Do you like being on the road?
Peter: I like everything about being on the road except being on the road (laughs). I love to play live. I love to play with the band. We have fun. That part is great. The main thing to do – a little tip that I've learned – you can get a virtuoso band and the best players and stick them together and maybe make great music but it would probably be hell on wheels socially (laughs). You know what I mean? And I've always got on the road because I love to do it but also because I enjoy it and the music needs to be enjoyed. So I'm always real careful about who I go out with. It's been a lifelong quest to work with people that I enjoy being around because you are around each other for a long time. When you are out on tour – you are out on tour.
MS: I always say that being in a band is like being married to the three or
four people that you are playing with.
Peter: Exactly. It's an art. And a band needs a lot of work (laughs).
MS: Do you miss any particular period of your career, specifically, the '70s?
Peter: You mean like old war stories?
MS: Sure. It's an open-ended question.
Peter: I guess so, when I think of funny things that went on. John Reagan has been the one I've been with the longest. He will basically trigger an event in my mind and we'll laugh about it but we don't sit around and talk about it like everybody else talks about it. Frampton Comes Alive is the last thing that we want to talk about. It's the first thing that comes out of everybody's mouth but that's OK. You learn to live with the fact that one thing completely miniaturized everything else in your career (laughs). But that's OK because I'm still here doing it. It's fun so wherever it takes me it's great. I mean I'd prefer that we didn't have to do "Show Me The Way' every night but that's not being realistic. We've got to do it. You know what I mean? Why would you not do it? That's the first one that everyone wants. Do we become self indulgent and do new songs that they probably don't know? Yeah, we do quite a few of them but we still do the numbers that everybody would want to hear. I enjoy their reaction as much as I enjoy playing them. We know we've got to do the old ones.
MS: I think that's a great attitude that you realize that. I think everyone
wants to hear the old stuff and most people also want to hear some new stuff.
Peter: Most of them have to be force fed the new stuff. They don't really want to hear the new stuff. But then I'm left standing still. I'm still writing new music. You know I still haven't gone through my blue period (laughs). I feel many more phases of my career are still to come. I've got plenty more up my sleeve.
MS: How did Sgt. Pepper come about?
Peter: You had to hit with the low blow. You were waiting to hit me with the really low blow till later in the interview (laughs).
MS: (laughing) Sorry.
Peter: What can be said about Sgt. Pepper? Whenever I put it down, I have a hundered people email me saying don't put it down. The production was so huge and the film was so bad or so ill-timed or the wrong thing. Whatever it was, it became an Achilles heal. It was just one of those things that one shouldn't have done. Too much fuss was made over it but it did have a large affect on my career.
MS: Was there a brief time of drug abuse for you?
Peter: Well, remember that we were in the middle of the '70s when "Frampton Comes Alive" was released. Anybody who was around music and lived through the '70s had a "small drug problem" at one point or another (laughs). It was pretty much, not a drug problem, but everyone was doing a lot of coke in the mid to late seventies and for me it was more prevelant. But yeah I went through that phase and I'm also not a good drinker and went through that but it's never been something that really hindered my career.and it was not for that long of a period. Basically, now I have been –well I take it a day at time – let's put it that way. I'm approaching a couple of years total so I'm pretty proud of that.
MS: That's great. Are you and David Bowie still friends?
Peter: Yeah were still friends. I send him notes and we correspond but I haven't seen him since the baby and more recently since he had this problem with his heart.
MS: What guitar do you use on stage?
Peter: Basically, I've got the Peter Frampton Les Paul.
MS: Are you reading any books lately?
Peter: I was reading most recently "Plan of Attack"by Bob Woodward to sort of find out what went on.
MS: What's your favorite website?
Peter: I google.(laughs) Find anyone, anything, anywhere. Google is my favorite. It's like the portal to the world. It's a great concept.
MS: Who are the significant others in your life right now?
Peter: Well, that would be my wife and my children.
MS: I might have missed that in my research.
Peter: What did your research say? That I'm an old badger. (laughs)
MS: It didn't really say anything. There wasn't any reference to your family
so I was curious.
Peter: I have four children. Two from a previous marriage and my wife brought a daughter with her and we've had one together as well.so that makes four.
MS: How long are you married?
Peter: Let's see – oh eight or nine years.
MS: What are some of your favorite bands today that are popular?
Peter: I don't have anything in particular. I listen to them all. To be honest, I do listen more to the older music. I still get inspired by that. There's quite a few bands but I couldn't really tell you there names. I like Foo Fighters and anything Dave Grohl does. And the guy that did Black Hole Sun.
Peter: Right, but the guy who left and is with another band now I can't think of his name.
MS: Neither can I.
Peter: Anyway, I like him. But he's not like yesterday. I mean it's been a few years obviously.
MS: Right, but their still current. Do you have new project now?
Peter: The CD has been out a year. We're still promoting it. It's out there and it's now a catalog piece as it were. Then we've also got the DVD that's out there as well which has been out for about five years now but's it's still very popular. So now it's onto the next project.
MS: This is my last question Peter. What do you hope your legacy will be?
What do you hope people will remember about Peter Frampton?
Peter: That I was good to animals (laughs). (pause) Well I'd like to be known as a pretty good guitar player. But I'm sure I'll be known as the live guy. That guy that had the big live record basically.
MS: Yeah I think it's unfortunate but I think you are being realistic about
Peter: It's not a bad thing. It doesn't matter what I will do until I can breath no more – I will always be remembered as – because even if you come close – let's just say that the chances are very slim that one would be able to have two Frampton Comes Alive in one career. And when it's something that is like a big spike like that, it overshadows everything else you've done before and afterwards. If it's a steady climb in a career, I think it's easier, but it just didn't happen that way. It's Rubik's Cube, you know what I mean. One day no one had one, the next day everyone had one. A few months later, no one had them again. When something becomes that big, there's backlash. I'm not complaining. We're still talking about it for Christ's sake
MS: Well, I wouldn't say no one has it again three months later.
Peter: Well , I mean –here today and gone tommorrow. Basically it reached so many people that it's a part of history now and it stays with us.
MS: If you talk to teenagers today sometimes they don't know who Peter Frampton
was but they all know "Baby I love your wayî. So I think the songs
are more enduring.
Peter: Absolutely. It's something I'm proud of. It was a moment in time that was captured and that was it. Phenomenal. The fact that I am now playing to a third generation of people that started listening to me thirty years later, we are talking about grandchildren - It's inspiring to be honest. It's still on the radio and I'm still able to go out there and play and they are into the new stuff. To me, it's just an ongoing career that I'm able to have because of Frampton Comes Alive.
MS: I'm done. Anything else?
Peter: No. (pause) Well yes. My bass player, John Reagan, and dear friend, and Mark Schneider, is the designer of Framptone – the pedals and electronic stuff. We have a little company called "Framptone'. We just made an alliance with another company that's going to help us distribute throughout the world. You can got framptone.com and you can bring up the products. We do a talk box. I've made my own for a while and they lasted longer so we figured we'd put out a better version of one of those.
MS: That's great. Our readers will be very interested
Peter: Yeah, Ritchie Sambora uses our products, and Dave Grohl has one so there's quite a few people. We are just about to take it up to another level right now. We did very "boutique' up until now and "boutique' means you don't make any money (laughs). We're not looking to make globs of money from it but we're trying to put quality products out there.