interviewsofrecordingartists.com (Q)-Why is Peter Frampton still involved in rock music and being a guitarist?
Peter Frampton- The whole reason I started was I looked on TV and heard on the radio in 1957 to 1958, this great rock and roll music which was coming out of America at the time. I saw Eddie Cochran and then I saw a film clip of Buddy Holly that was it. That was, "New York", as they called it at the time. Seeing Buddy Holly with the Srat (electric guitar) and the horn rimmed glasses, singing "Peggy Sue",well that was it for me! That really was the beginning for me.
Peter Frampton-I wondered how did they get those great sounds and their playing was so great. I wondered how did they get the sounds and later on I tried to do that on my own. I didn't want the money I simply wanted to get the sounds out of my guitar that they were getting. It became my obsession. Then, I started following the man who became my biggest influence who is Hank Marvin, the lead guitarist of a band called The Shadows, who were Cliff Richards backup band in England. I adored Hank Marvin. So at a very early age I wanted to be a version of Hank Marvin, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran. So, the "Holy Grail" quest for me was to hone my skill to become a guitarist. I knew at eight years old what I wanted to do. My dad bought me a guitar in 1958 for Christmas and that was it. I got involved locally since I was a young upstart. This was with local Big Bands. I played in those Big Bands because I was a novelty as a kid who played pretty good guitar. Luckily it changed to being a professional musician with The Herd and later formed into a career.
(Q)-Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones was influential in your early career.
Peter Frampton-He was. But,my dad actually did my first managerial deal with The Herd to get paid. My dad wasn't going to let me leave school, I was supposed to go onto Music College. I would stay on in school a couple of years, get my A Levels in school and go onto college to study music. But because I joined this band (The Herd 1968) and they gave me the lead position of playing lead guitar, it was a dream come true for me. It wasn't until someone involved with the band's management (other then Peter's father) got involved and said to me, "You're going to sing", that my troubles of being a pop idol and the misconception of becoming typecast as solely a teen idol began.
(Q)-Since you were eight years old, what is the longest period of time that you did not have a guitar within your each?
Peter Frampton- The longest was probably a month whenever I was in-between touring and recording in the Seventies around the time right after I completed the "I'm In You" album.
(Q)-You had to work for years to earn the event when you recorded the legendary and record breaking live album, "Frampton Comes Alive" in 1976.
Peter Frampton- Yes I did, didn't I?
(Q)-Your released a very special cover version of the George Harrison's song, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", as a tribute to George, who was your friend and fellow recording artist. Why?
Peter Frampton-When I first performed the song live at a rehearsal, I said to my band who were assembled for the moment, "I'd really like to say goodbye and do a nice salute to George."(Peter was inspired to record the song after Peter performed it at a benefit concert for September 11th victims in Cincinnati, Ohio, shortly after George's death.) So,the first time I played it in front of an audience, it was one of those moments when I swear George was playing with us. It became the emotional payoff of the evening. When I recorded the song later in the studio, it was a very emotional time for me. However, we recorded the song and we did well. Since it came off great in the studio, I couldn't find a good reason not to put it on the album.
(Q)-Do you recall when you first meet George Harrison?
Peter Frampton-Yes. I met three of the Beatles. I never met John. Especially being my age, having grown up during the era in England when the Beatles were so popular. When you met a Beatle for the first time, it is an incredible moment in your life. When I first met George, it was my first Beatle meeting. Since the Beatles were so popular at the time, it seemed like I was meeting an alien being(He laughs). I walked into a recording studio, which was Trident Studios in London and was introduced by a mutual friend of ours, who was working for George. When I walked into the room, George just looked up at me and simply said, "Hello Pete." At that moment I realized that George actually knew who I was, probably through my work in Humble Pie at the time. But I still was wondering, "How does he know me and who I am? After all, he's a Beatle!" It was a very important moment for me because he then said, "Do you want to play guitar on this track?" I went into the studio and George gave me his Les Paul (electric guitar) and plugged the guitar into an amp and said to me, "Off you go."(He laughs.) So I began playing gingerly with George and he then stopped me halfway through the song and said," No Pete no. I play rhythm and you play lead guitar.". That was when I realized, "Oh my God! The lead guitarist of the Beatles is here and he wants me to play lead guitar!"
(Q)-What was the song?
Peter Frampton- It was a song called, "Ain't That Cute", which became the title track to Doris Troy's only Apple release(Recorded In October 1969 artist: Doris Troy title "Ain't That Cute" Apple: 1820 Released: 1970). George had begun working with Doris. He liked working with her, he loved her voice and her songs. This was going to be his first production for the Apple Record label. So, when I walked into that studio room there you have these musicians, Klaus Voorman on bass and I don't think Ringo (Starr, drums) was there for the first session, it was Barry Morgan (session drummer) on the first session. Then later I ended up doing the guitar solo on the single. (He laughs.) So, that is how we met.
(Q)- Did you spend much time with George in the early Seventies?
Peter Frampton- Yes I did actually. My wife and I would go down for the weekends to Friar's Park (George Harrison's house in Henley on Thames.)and we became friends. I even went to see him in New York City when he came over to (USA) do the Concert For Bangladesh benefit concert rehearsals. I was in New York City mixing the music at Electric Lady Studios for Humble Pie with Eddie Kramer. We were working on the music that would become the album "Rockin' the Fillmore. So I went to see George while he was rehearsing for the
Concert For Bangladesh benefit concert and when I met him at the rehearsal hall I asked him, "Hey George, is there any chance that I could play in the show?". George said to me, "Well Leon Russell has brought Jessie Ed Davis so unfortunately there's no room for another guitar player." So I said, "Oh that's ok." So, I stayed there and watched. Later on George asked me to come over to his hotel room. When I arrived there, I realized that George had in his hotel suite, a couple of guitars and a couple of small Fender Champ Amps.
And, in that hotel suite, George also had every Beatles album know to man. And, here he was, there in his hotel room, actually rehearsing everything for the show. What I later realized was that George and I were actually rehearsing the actual stage show play list, to the entire Concert For Bangladesh benefit concert show. We were just playing the entire set in this little hotel room. Now mind you, George never told me what was going on in yet another hotel room in New York. Eric Clapton was also in New York City and he was very sick at the time and George wasn't certain if Eric could play the Concert For Bangladesh benefit concert. So George had me do a run through of the entire show play list. You see, unknown to me at the time, George had heard a rumor that Eric Clapton, who was supposed to be the guitarist for the show, was actually not that well. He was actually very sick. So I did the impromptu rehearsals in George's hotel room and then, it was time for me to leave New York City to go back out and tour and do more gigs for five straight days and nights with my band at the time, Humble Pie. Now what is funny is, when I told George that I as leaving New York, I told him I'd come back to be there in time for the show. George didn't say a word to me about playing at the show. All I said to him when we parted was, "OK then, I'll come back and see the show and I'll see you after the show." So a week later I went to the evening show, the second Concert For Bangladesh benefit show, I entered the backstage area in the back of the venue and all of these people who worked for George came up to me. They began saying to me, "Where have you been? Eric has been really sick and George has been looking for you all over town. Eric was so sick that we were going to leave Eric in bed if you were here! Why were you not here earlier?" So, you can understand my feeling at that moment. Here I was and it was probably the best gig I never played in my life.
(Q)- What are your feelings whenever you see a rock legend such as Mick Jagger, being Awarded Knighthood Honor By Queen Elizabeth II? How do you feel seeing someone who was scandalized in the British newspapers when you were younger, now being known in Britain as a, "pop knight"?
Peter Frampton- As far as The Stones, I think it's tremendous. I mean in the Sixties, who would have thought that would have happened, especially when The Rolling Stones were on the front page of every newspaper in the entire United Kingdom, for getting arrested for peeing up against the side of a garage? Which I'll admit at the time I thought was sort of revolting. I was living at home with my parents and I remember my father reading that in the newspaper, and I remember, I actually not only knew one of those people who was in the newspaper for peeing up against the side of a garage, he had come to the house! His name was Bill Wyman. So, when my parents saw that in the newspapers they weren't at all thrilled. My father especially wasn't all that thrilled.
(Q)-What do you think about someone who was once scandalized by the British press, now carrying around the title of a, "pop knight"?
Peter Frampton- It all started with the MBE and the Beatles (Note: The Beatles - John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr (born Richard Starkey) and George Harrison - were awarded a MBEs (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II.) of which John returned his. I think that today, this is just a testament to rock and roll music that some people back then thought was rubbish and even devil worship. And they went around saying that it would be all over in a couple of years. Now look at how wrong those same people were. The music turned into a whole new art form which is still growing. While rock music may need some help today in this day and age, rock music certainly is not going to go away and the people who, in the Sixties, said it would go away, now are wrong.
(Q)-What is your opinion about rock music today?
Peter Frampton- I love some of the rock music of today. I love the fact that we have groups still playing rock music with guitars. I just hope we don't go back to electronic music. Beause four guys playing in a garage, drums and three guitars, with angst and enthusiasm, oftentimes turns into great music along the way. I worry about new music in that there is hardly any places for new bands. The situation with the music industry now is about being more concerned with the dividend the corporation can pay out to the corporate stockholder, as opposed to the hope that the new band that is just been signed to the record company roster is really good. What's wrong is in some cases, it's not about music, it's gone off the track completely. I have a feeling that the record companies are causing the problem by being somewhat greedy. Then take into consideration that the new listeners who grew up a few years ago and now are of age to make choices, well to them everything is free because it is downloadable. We've lost that entire generation because they feel will always feel that music should be provided to them for free. But unfortunately it cannot be because otherwise, one day there won't be anymore music because the songwriter won't be able to take the time off from his or her day job to write the song. Because songwriters around the world are all going back to working day jobs, jobs outside of the music industry. And, that's not only a shame, it's a crime. The person who is hurting in this new world of the music business is the songwriter. To me it is an inverted triangle so it's a very dangerous time right now for the music business.