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PETE FORNATALE INTERVIEWS PETER FRAMPTON
CLOSE UP OF PETER FRAMPTON BEFORE INTERVIEW
PETER FRAMPTON RECORDS A PROMO FOR MIXED BAG RADIO
FORNATALE INTRODUCES GUEST. PETER FRAMPTON IMMEDIATLY LAUNCHES INTO A PERFORMANCE OF "ABOVE IT ALL"
Hello again everyone and welcome to another edition of mixed bag radio. This is paid for in a towel on location at the Gibson and Baldwin showroom in New York City with my special guest today. Peter Frampton.
Pete Fornatale 6:07
Peter Frampton accompanied by Bob Mayo on a live version of the song that closes out his latest CD now. It's called above it all. Gentlemen, welcome to mixbag Radio.
Pete Fornatale 7:10
Peter as a first time visitor to mixbag radio let us begin at the beginning. What is a banjolele and why was it important to you?
Peter Frampton 7:22
banjolele is a banjo shaped ukulele. So some bright spot came up with that idea. And my my grandmother had one that I guess she played, played when she was listening to George Formby, who was an English music whole star who was very, I think, was very influenced Tiny Tim in a lot of ways later on. But very sort of poppy type little songs he used to do with with the banjolele, and I found it in the attic. When my father was getting down, when I was seven, I found it in the attic when he was looking for the suitcases to take for our summer vacation. And I said, What's that dad? And he said, Oh, that's your grandmother's. She thought you might want to see it, you know? So I said, Well, yes. So we opened it up. And there it was, and I brought it down. And I said, Do you can you play it? And he said, Well, he tuned it up. He said now was the tuning my cat's got fleas. That's it. That's how you tune it. So he tuned it up it's got the four gut strings, you know, and he played guitar in college dance band in the war, before the war, sorry, and second mobile and so he he showed me hang down you had Tom Dooley, which is, which is basically those chords, you know, so that's all it so that was pretty easy. And that's that was it. The rest, shall we say is history. That was all I need? It was those first two chords,
Pete Fornatale 9:13
where did it go from the banjolele? What was next musically for you?
Peter Frampton 9:19
Um, well then I'd already been aware of American music on the radio and then we got we were late with our TVs over there. So you'd had them for years but no, seven or eight years probably. And then we got a TV and I started watching this program called six five special which was our one of two rock and roll shows. Our contemporary music shows that we're on on British TV
Pete Fornatale 9:52
was Ready steady go he other one
Peter Frampton 9:54
that was a little late later. That was later and so We would have there wasn't a plethora of British stars to start with, then there were to be obviously but so we saw quite a few American artists Buddy Holly, Eddie Cochran. That for me, was it you know, that was nirvana. You know, I wanted to write songs like both of them and definitely I'd like to have both of their guitars. Because Buddy Holly had this two tone sunburst strat, which of course, I have a two tone Samba strat now and, and Eddie Cochran had this hybrid Gretch which had one Gretch pick up on it and one Gibson pick up on it and was very strange looking. And so that those were the first two people that that influenced me I wasn't as interested in what they were singing about as to what they were playing and the sound it was the sound of the electric guitar that just was very seductive for me. And really, the the next person that just put me over the edge was the lead guitarist of the shadows, which was Cliff Richards backing band right. And they were like the instrumental he was like our Elvis in a much smaller way. And so if he wasn't number one, the shadows were number one with a patchy FBI or KonTiki all these instrumentals say that they you would have called them surf records. So like the ventures here, the shadows were really like the Beatles they would have it would be number one would be patchy number two would be a girl like you by Cliff Richard and then there'd be three or four in a row by the shadows it would they were that popular.
Pete Fornatale 11:47
Are we talking about Apache by Juergen Ingerman the instrumental song
Peter Frampton 12:01
Yeah, so Jerry Lordan Wow. Wow, the wind is coming back straightened up and it all comes back. You know, we're not all of it. Thank God so yeah, so Hank Marvin, who was trying to be like, buddy holy with the reds. Well, he had a Red Strat and then the horn rimmed glasses and the whole bit you know,
Pete Fornatale 12:27
you were very precocious though. Obviously. playing in bands as early as
Peter Frampton 12:33
10 Wow. Yeah. So that might that was my my first performance actually was when I was eight. For we had a thing known as a scout gang show, which sounds worse than it actually is. It's sort of like the Ed Sullivan of the of the scout and Girl Guides and the whole the whole thing you know, so but there used to be national ones once a year. On TV. Well, we did a local one in in Beckenham, West Wycombe, that area. And I got because I play guitar and I had my music proficiency badge from the Cub Scouts. I failed the fire lighting one because I was raining when I only had three matches. But so they asked me to not only come along and bring the guitar but to accompany some other people because they didn't want piano all night, you know. And the piano player was a bit of a drunk so. So they wanted me to play guitar. But I said, Well, if if being precocious. I said if if I'm going to if I'm going to accompany all these people, when do I get my spot, you know? So they gave me a spot. And I did actually a girl like you by by Cliff Richard. They wanted me to sing. I did one other song that I wrote myself. My mother wrote the lyrics. I don't remember if something about water. And then I went down rather well, you know. It was my first taste of I'm completely in charge here. And it was a packed hall of about, you know, 250 parents. And I apparently I said, Well, seeing as you liked me so much. I'd like to do you another one. So that was it. It was it's been downhill ever since.
Pete Fornatale 14:31
So you were hooked. You you you are a lifer early on yes. No question about it. Who were George and the dragons,
Peter Frampton 14:41
George and the dragons were actually George Underwood was a really good friend of mine. And best buddy of David Jones, who we now know is David Bowie. They were in the third form the third year, so they would have been 1415 and I was in the fall. First form at Bromley Technical High School. And my father was the art teacher there, he was the head of the whole art block. And so David and George were both in the art group. And my father was the teacher for three years. And so at the end of the year that I spent at the school, the school wanted to put on a variety show, you know, again, now smaller version of Ed Sullivan. And my dad got to be the, the producer of the show. So the David fish off of, of the of England. Really, so. So he took care of the whole production and everything. And so that's how I got a spot. And I had a band called The Little ravens on there, which was this very, out there piano player who I had to reel in to play shadow stuff, and a bass player, and we had no drummer. George in the dragons was George Underwood, and David Bowie and some other people in that I don't remember their names, and they were the headliners. And so they didn't have the bass player and I didn't have a drummer. So they gave us their drummer, and we gave them our string bass player. Very nice. And that was it. You know, it was we supported them.
Pete Fornatale 16:35
I thought of two Bowie questions as you were speaking, one is since he was a bit older. Did he take you under his wing? Or was it more of sometimes how the older students can harass the younger students? How would you describe the early relationship?
Peter Frampton 16:55
No, I mean, I had those unfortunately. We are the harassment. Yeah. But being the son of a teacher isn't good. So luckily, he was a well liked teacher. But no, David and George, in fact, both. Think they wanted good homework grades. So now, they knew that I played guitar, because even before I came to the school, I knew about them. And I'd met them because they were in bands together, then, you know, at school. And so no, David and George, we'd all bring our guitars to school, actually, George and I would bring guitars, I think David brought his sax and we would put them in, put them in my father's office, and then in the morning, and then at lunchtime, we'd sit on the artblock stairs, which were, you know, beautiful echo, you know, because stone stairs, and they would teach me, you know, Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran numbers. You know, that's great.
Pete Fornatale 17:56
No, no recordings of this existing now too bad.
Peter Frampton 18:00
Yeah, yeah. So yeah. And then, you know, David and I have have sort of journey together. But separately, yeah.
Pete Fornatale 18:11
We'll catch up with some of that later on. But the other Bowie thought I had was, isn't it interesting to think that your father might have been an influence on his sense of style and art and theatrics? As as he evolved into the performer that he became Did you ever think?
Peter Frampton 18:30
Well, yes. I mean, in what way? I don't know. But he has to have been well, the thing is, he still keeps in touch with my parents, you know, to this day, so. So yes, I obviously I think that had some effect on him. Probably steering him in the way that you know, that he wanted to go.
Pete Fornatale 18:50
Lovely. We're going to jump back and forth here a little bit between the past and the present. And the present is represented by your brand new CD. now. There's a song on here that you said you just recently heard on the radio and sounded terrific to you. So we would like to recreate that experience on mixbag radio tell me about the song.
Peter Frampton 19:11
Yes, this is a song that Bob myself and writer and really a partner in writing on this whole album, Gordon Kennedy wrote at my house while the studio was being built in the basement, we were writing it while that we were hearing saws and drills and all stuff going on. And just one of those things I had I had the verse chords and this little opening lick and and presented it to them. They had come up from Nashville to Bob's from New York, obviously, but he's now moved down to to Nashville, and where I was living for a while and they came up and we wrote this together it's and and the very first time we actually played it, we put it down very roughly, luckily, on a digital machine, sort of like the demo, you know, while the original guitar that was the demo is actually and the bass is actually on the master. It's just you, I never like to make demos, you know, because you'll, you'll do something that first time you play it, because you're so excited that you've finished the song. And that you like it, that you're going to do something that is, is special, and you might not capture that again. So I always put what we call CMT code on anything that we record on, because just in case you can, you can always link that up and and play you know, replay stuff and add stuff to that later. But I think it's the one I'm most proud of as far as the production and the mixing on this one. It's called Love stands alone.
Pete Fornatale 20:55
Before we play it. I just want to ask Bob, this is a reunion of sorts for the two of you correct?
Bob Mayo 21:02
Well, reunion that started in 1992. So it's 11 years since I've been back
Pete Fornatale 21:09
Bob your name of course is recognizable from the Frampton comes alive album which we'll talk about in in just a bit. When did you how did you first cross paths and get together musically
Bob Mayo 21:22
I met Peter in London in the fall of 71. I was over there with a group recording at Olympic Studios and Peter and his management were involved and his engineer at the time were involved in the production of that album and he and I just kept in touch during the ensuing years and fortunately for me the keyboard share became available and I jumped to it jumped right into it and then we've been together pretty much on and off ever since
Pete Fornatale 21:54
we're going to talk about that roller coaster ride that he took you on a little later on but right now let's listen to love stands alone from now the new CD by Peter Frampton on mixed bag radio
Pete Fornatale 22:10
that's love stands alone from now the new CD by Peter Frampton This is Pete Fornatale on mixed bag radio. I'll have more with Peter after these words.
Pete Fornatale 24:23
Pete Fornatale back with you on mixbag radio with my guest today Peter Frampton accompanied by his longtime collaborator, Bob Mayo. Peter, were going to pick things up with your time in the herd, which was I guess the first taste of of success for you?
Peter Frampton 24:41
Yes, commercially. That was definitely the first professional band I was in and I left I dodged college and went because I got the offer of it was I had the prospectus for the Guildhall music in one hand and an offer From a rock band and the other, yeah, wasn't too much thinking about that one. So, yeah, that was that was a fantastic band. It was a local band. I had known of them. They were very big locally in South London, and had been through a metamorphosis of players. And they asked me to join and actually it was the smallest version of the herd. It was a four piece. And we, we got a residency at the marquee club in London, the summer of 66, I think so I was 16. And then they said, Well, if you get the residency at the marquee club, this is where all the record producers and the managers come and all that. So basically, this is what happened. We had a tremendous following there. And one day a record producer called Steve Roland, an American who actually was in a band who sang the he was the Hollywood Argylls. He sang he was the lead singer on Leu. Yes. And so he'd gone to England and he'd produced quite a few hits of different bands. And he was linked with the management team and writing team of Howard and Blakely who wrote the honeycombs have either right, and which was big here and also the band many hits with the band Dave Dee, dozy beaky, Mick and Tich. Remember? Yes, not many people do. It's a mouthful. So anyway, what happened was this, Steve Roland introduced us to Howard and Blakely. And to test us out in the studio. We started doing Dave de mas have had, etc. Their their demos and might say the demo sounded a lot better. But then that's it public to decide. You didn't
Pete Fornatale 27:06
have that technology that you do now, though, to save it.
Peter Frampton 27:09
Right we couldn't save it. No. So in fact, one of them was quote, save me actually. And it went on to be a huge hit for them. And so came the day when Ken Howard and Alan Blakely said, We've written a song called I can fly for you. It was it was 67. Because it was when Sergeant Pepper came out. And there was a part at the end of it, where they said, Look, we don't know how the Beatles did this backwards thing. But can you just sing I can fly backwards at the end? I said no. So anyway, we're going Miang knee. Now I know you turn the tape back, which is silly thing, you know, and it's very easy. But then we didn't know how to do it. So it was a mystery. So that sort of opened the airwaves to us, but not very much. And then right after that. They wrote a song for us called from the underworld, which I remember doing a show the Simon D program in London and then getting on a very bumpy boat ride to we all ended up on deck over the side. You know what, and going to Ireland for a tour there? Oh, yes. So we were there for about 10 days, we came back and we were in the top 30 And the British, the British charts, you know, so we and everything changed. Sure. And then we got on Top of the Pops, which is everything's much smaller there. So there's that one program that if you get on that program, you've got to have sold something to get on it in the first place is a catch 22 We got on that. And you soon as you're on that, if it's a good song that you're going to be watched by millions of people, there's hardly any good songs aren't hits after they're on there. So we got our first hit. And we were on there week after week.
Pete Fornatale 29:08
It's also the one that made an impact here and where I became aware of you not necessarily by name, the group name the herd. Am I remembering this correctly? Was it Fontana requisite well in this country, I think I still have my 45 Philip of the herd. And it was right at the time that FM was on the rise here and got quite a bit of exposure. But now you're 17 years old. You've got a hit record. Did it change your life?
Peter Frampton 29:39
Yes. It changed my life in as much as the milkman wanted to know why I didn't have a nicer car. Basically. They were people expect you to make millions straightaway, you know and but now we obviously we were sold out everywhere. Our price went up and We were traveling a little better. It was staying in nicer hotels and stuff like that we were basically touring Europe nonstop. Then
Pete Fornatale 30:09
the next step for you musically was the group Humble Pie. Now, I'm going to tell you something that you probably don't remember. But I will never forget. As long as I live,
Peter Frampton 30:21
what did I say to you? I didn't mean it.
Pete Fornatale 30:26
I introduced humble pie at Shea Stadium. Oh my god in 1971. Opening for grand friend Funk Railroad? Yes. I'll just give you the quick version. I was on the air that day, I had 102 Fever. But there was no way that I was going to miss this happening this event. Yeah. And I think the stage was constructed around somewhere around second base. Yes. And we were ushered through the DJs from the station I was working for ushered through the dugout. And I was burning with fever and walked up to the microphone, and didn't realize that there's like a second delay or so between what you say and when the people hear it. And I said the typical 1971 DJ thing. Are you ready for rock and roll? And it seemed like an eternity. It seemed like silence from 60,000 people. And I, you know, I think I started to physically Shake until they obviously heard the message and roared back. Yes. Takes a while Oh my God. Now, you know, that I've had an experience like that once or twice in my life. There was a period where you were having that experience every night. Does it ever become old, the ever get used to that roar of approval from a crowd
Peter Frampton 31:54
a stadium is a very dramatic place to play. I mean, it's the adrenaline doesn't run much faster than that. It's, I think you'd have to agree. You know, it's, it's, it's pretty amazing. And just the thought of the fact that these people are there to see you, you know, and your names on the ticket is. It's a fantastic feeling. Absolutely. Yeah.
Pete Fornatale 32:23
What was memorable for you about the Humble Pie years?
Peter Frampton 32:29
Well, humble pie was probably the best band a lead guitarist could have ever been in because I didn't really have to sing that much. Which is was fine by me. Because you've got Steve Marriott, who, every time he opened his mouth, this huge voice came out. And he didn't need a microphone. And he ooze soul from every pore of his body, you know. And he was like my mentor, in many ways. As a, as a singer, not that I could ever hope to come close, I wasn't blessed with that, that voice those chops. But he was a tremendous writer with Ronnie Lane in the small faces, but then, you know, on his own in his own right. And then we wrote together, which was just an honor to write with him. And I was a huge, you know, small faces fan. And so you know, that combined with you've got the bass player from spooky tooth, Greg Ridley, and Jerry Shirley, who was sort of his idol was Kenny Jones from the small faces. So it was like, and John Bonham, like every other drummer. And so it was like, it was the greatest apprenticeship I could have ever had for developing and guitar style. And also, it really, Steve taught me how to deal with an audience. And the enjoyment factor was on about 12 Plus, you know, out of 10. And, you know, what can you say it was just that the uniqueness of humble pie, I think was was the combination of the fact that we all love, so many different types of music, and we all like the same, you know, but it would be if I or Steve or Greg came up with a rock riff that we would get, we used to write a lot of stuff, or four of us in the little rehearsal hall, in Essex, and someone would start jamming on a riff, somebody else would come in, and we would finish the song, we'd take a tea break, go to the kitchen, have some tea, and there was what I was doing, and then and then we'd we'd each write our verse, and we'd each write a verse of the song, you know, and, and then you know, we'd go That would be it and we'd play it and, but it would be a rock riff, with Steve singing r&b over the top of that. And me playing quasi jazz rock over the top of that, too. So very lyrical, as opposed to the very bluesy, hard harder edged melodies.
Pete Fornatale 35:22
I asked you what we should play from Humble pie, and you immediately suggested
Peter Frampton 35:27
stone called fever
Pete Fornatale 35:28
Peter Frampton 35:29
Because that is exactly what I just said. It's, it's a rock riff that that I came up with, probably after hearing Led Zeppelin. And, and then Steve is singing he takes full lead on that which he should. And it breaks down into a very, very jazzy sort of solo segue into this jazzy PA, which I think that really for me while I was with the band, that was the epitome of of us in the studio and what we did,
Pete Fornatale 36:03
let's listen on mixbag radio.
Pete Fornatale 36:08
That's Humble Pie and stone cold fever. At the time when my guest Peter Frampton was a member of the band. Peter, is it also true that your writing style changed during the Humble Pie years?
Peter Frampton 36:24
Yes, I mean, we started off as a band being very overly democratic. And as much as anything anybody wrote, We all whether it was Jerry, Greg, Steve or myself, we just did it. And that was it. Because we'd all been in bands where there had been someone that was like the guy that said, You're doing my songs, and that's it. You know? So it was an and Steve was very, very much aware of that, you know, that he he didn't want to, he could have written everything at twice the speed of everybody else. He was Austin. He was he was really prolific, you know. And, but he didn't, and he wanted to write with the band and everything. So he we sort of did I think we belittled ourselves to start with, in as much as we didn't what Glyn John's was when we did our third record, Glyn John's was the person that took us aside and said, Look, I think what we should do for this album is you can all write the songs. That's not not a problem. He said. He pointed to Steve said, You're the singer. Greg, you're the bass player. Jerry, you're the drummer. And Peter's the lead guitarist. Why don't we approach it that way for this album, and it was the first one that made any noise and it sort of narrowed our direction. And it was the way it should have been to start with, you know, but we experimented until we found the way we should go, but he was absolutely 100%. Right.
Pete Fornatale 37:52
But you were also hearing different influences at that point. Then the Buddy Holly
Peter Frampton 37:57
Oh yeah, we were listening to Dr. John the night tripper, the band, Buffalo Springfield, you know,
Pete Fornatale 38:06
Mary, it was a sponge for that stuff. Right? And, yes, pass it along to you.
Peter Frampton 38:11
Absolutely. And country stuff as well. He was very much into into good country.
Pete Fornatale 38:18
In one of those odd situations, Humble Pie had its biggest success with that live album recorded at our own Fillmore East here in New York. And you had already left the group ever have any second thoughts or regrets about that?
Peter Frampton 38:35
Well? Well, I was obviously a part of that show and part of the record. And, in fact, we all make some of it but I mix most of it with Eddie Kramer, the, the great engineer in New York at Electric Lady, you know, Jimmy's Jimi Hendrix studio. And so then, when, when de Anthony came over to London to bring us the cover, to show us the cover, I said, Can I have a meeting with you alone first, and so I laid it out for him. I said, like, I'm, I think I'm gonna, well, I know I'm gonna leave, you know, before the album comes out, because I think now would be an easier time and he said, You're nuts. You're crazy. This is going to be a big album. I said, maybe it is and and I hope it is. And if it is, I'll probably think I've made the worst decision of my career already. But I say I gotta go do my own. I'm ready to do something else. And I, we then called Steve and he called me every name in the book, you know, I was hurt, you know, and I was, it was, it was not an easy decision for me because it was like I said, it was it was such a fantastic band to be a part of. And it wasn't because I didn't like humble pie at all. It was that I had to, I felt the need. I wasn't being as All filled as I figured I could be I was I'd come of age. And I needed to lead my own situation.
Pete Fornatale 40:07
So it was in a sense, like starting all over again, constructing that, that solo career. One of the things you did in the interim was some session work with some very beloved musicians. You want to tell us a little bit about that?
Peter Frampton 40:22
Yes, well, I started off doing some sessions, actually for a musical director called John Paul Jones, who was then going to be in Led Zeppelin, the bass player. I did some sessions for him, and became like his guitarist of choice for a couple of different things and, and then I bumped into a friend in Wardour Street, who worked for George Harrison. And he said, Do you want to come down and George is recording in, in in Trident studios down around the corner? So I said, Yes. So we went in, and I'll never forget it. We walked into the control room, and George was like, where that chair is over there. And he just looked up and he said, Hello Pete, you know, and I thought, oh, gosh, I look back. I thought Pete Townsend was behind me or something. But it was like, I guess he does know who I am, because I've been on the telly too, you know, so it was a very strong moment. And he said, Look, I'm producing this, this album for Doris Troy right now we're in the middle of cutting this, this track, would you like to play guitar, you know, and so he handed me his cherry, sunburst 1959 Les Paul and said, off you go sort of thing. And I walked down and there's Ringo, on drums. And Klaus Volman on bass and Nicky Hopkins on piano usual suspects. Yes. Just and I'm going you know, Chris Spedding was the the other guitar player. I mean, just, I thought, you know, I died and gone to have it. You know, it was unbelievable. Unbelievable. So then I very quietly started playing rhythm. Once George had shown me the chords and he stopped the band. He said, No, date. I want you to play lead. So that was it. I thought, Oh, dear. So, you know, that was, that was one that I'll never forget. And then through that, I got introduced to Harry Nelson. And the same old suspects. Were on that one and the son of Milson. We toured with the herd with the who, so the ox, John Entwistle was doing a solo album, and he asked me to play on that. So I played on that played on Nicky Hopkins, and then I go blank, but I did so many sessions, but those are the ones that really stand out.
Pete Fornatale 43:03
I want to stick with George for a second for an obvious reason. But you played on the All Things must pass session to you does a specific track from that album that you were involved with come to mind?
Peter Frampton 43:18
Well, it's more that I mean, I mean, a lot of things happen. I'm sitting in, in, in Abbey Road, the big studio where they did Sergeant Pepper, and I'm sitting next to George and the rest of band Badfinger. And we're all on acoustics. And he brought over Pete Drake, Bob Dylan recommended because they wrote if not for you together. And he recommended that he bring Pete Drake from Nashville who played on Nashville Skyline who was one of the top pedal steel session players in Nashville. And, and Pete in a slow moment, got out a homemade TalkBox and, and even had a hit in the 60s a country hit called I Am the guitar and he started doing it for me. And I I almost went myself. Yes. Oh, yeah, absolutely. That sound you know, it's like, Oh, my God. And so I said, where do you get those? He said, why I made my mon you know, so it was an Pete remained a friend until we've lost him now, but he was a fantastic person. So that's where I first saw that but I think the thing that I remember most was after we'd lay down the tracks, I think I played live with everybody on about six tracks, mostly the acoustic country type ones. And then George called me up and I live around the corner. I still say it's only because I live around the corner. He got me on the record. I was close by and he called up and said Uh, Phil, Phil Spector. Phil wants more acoustics. So I said, Oh God, um, I'll be right there. So, jumps in the car literally. And just 10 minutes later I'm back at Abbey Road with the old acoustic. And it's done. I realize it's just him and me, you know, and we're sitting in front of the glass, Phil Spector's in there complaining about his stomach ulcer, you know, and and we're going through every track that's got acoustics. And I, when people say how many tracks Did you plan? I don't know. But a lot, you know, anything that there's acoustic on? I'm probably somewhere in there. And between between reels. George started jamming and what do you do your join in? And then that is probably people say, well, what's the greatest moment in your career? And I say, well, it's not what you think it is. It's sitting next to George Harrison in front of Phil Spector and Abbey Road jamming.
Pete Fornatale 46:08
Wow. You have paid lovely, lovely tribute to George on the new CD now by covering one of his most famous songs.
Peter Frampton 46:19
Yeah. A bold move. But we we were doing a benefit in Cincinnati for 911. And I was trying to introduce reintroduce local Cincinnati talent, which is King Records was was there which Freddie Freddie King James Brown. All the kings recorded their blues. Yeah, it's so much so much history, and they don't really know you know, that. It's it. It was right off. 71 right there. So anyway. So we were doing we set up i i partnered with the local promotion there and team and we put on this benefit for 911. And then we when we would do as we were doing it, we lost George in the end of November in 2001. And so before we hit the soundcheck, I asked everybody to just freshen up on on While My Guitar Gently Weeps. And so we did it the soundcheck sounded pretty good. And I thought it would be a nice way to leave the audience with that one, too. It is our last number. And it will be a nice tribute, say goodbye salute to George Harrison. And we played it. And I felt like it was one of those really strange moments when you feel like you're miming to a record didn't feel like it was like, I think it was the emotion of the evening. And it sort of played itself. I felt like he was there with us. You know, it was really a wonderful feeling. And there was that, you know, when something affects an audience and they don't know, it's finished for a second or two, and there was this like, sort of Pin drop silence for a second, and then they just went nuts, you know, and it was, obviously, everyone got caught up in the emotion of everything. But I think that was the reason we all came off. And I think Bob and Chad John just said, we should try that. When we do the album. What don't you think? And I said, I got a little thing I'm a little worried about there. Eric Clapton played the solo on the original. And so that's a little bit of a stumbling block for me. So anyway, I, I sort of put that out of my mind. I quoted him but then I went off and did my own style.
Pete Fornatale 48:50
Not that you need to hear it from me, but it's a beautiful, beautiful version.
Peter Frampton 48:55
Well, thank you.
Pete Fornatale 48:56
Let's listen on mixbag radio.
Pete Fornatale 49:01
Peter Frampton from his latest CD now and a cover version of George Harrison's While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Peter, our guest today. Time and time again on this program. The notion of loss comes up for very obvious reasons. It's an natural part of the life process. When you're in your 20s you feel immortal, I suppose. But as you mature, you do lose people, whether it's friends, lovers, family, whatever. But also you lose musical heroes, as happened with with George and so many others that we could name at this point. I'm listening to your new album, and very early on the fourth track, stops me in my tracks in the way that it addresses this issue, you know, the one I'm talking about, please tell me about not forgotten.
Peter Frampton 50:06
Not Forgotten was a little melody that I had a chord sequence that I had for a while. And it was the spring of 2001. And Gordon Kennedy came up, we do like a week at a time together, and you know, writing for this record, and he came up, and I played him a few other things. And then I played and not forgotten, what was to be not forgotten what I had, I hummed the melody and, and he just said, Stop, that's it, we've got let's work on that. And what we would normally do would be that we would get together, and sit down, put the coffee on, and the first day would usually be just catching up and, and what you've been doing, and then gradually, we would get around to what we were, you know, out of what we would be talking about, just life would come an idea or a title. And, you know, kudos to Gordon, you know, lyrics have, have always been the most difficult part for me and Gordon is able to take my thoughts and combine them with his and, and put them down so much better than I can, I think, sometimes, I'm okay sometimes, but other times I need help. And he's just extremely, extremely good about it and with words, and between us, we came up with the lyrics for this song,
Pete Fornatale 51:52
specific inspirations for it.
Peter Frampton 51:55
I just think I know that he'd had, we've all had losses, and like you said before, and I think that it's treasuring. Basically, we were just treasuring the fact that we got you get time to spend with certain people because we're all gonna pop off some time. You know, there's there's no free ticket there, you know, so and it's I guess, coming to terms with that and how we cherish being with those people and along the way how we how our moods change and like you said, very true you know, infallible when you're 18 and talking to you know 25 You know, and you do stupid things because you think you know nothing's gonna happen to me so I think it's just generally about you know, life's experiences
Pete Fornatale 52:50
it would please me a great deal if you do that when life for us
Peter Frampton 52:53
we'd love to
PETER FRAMPTON (ACCOMPANIED BY BOB MAYO) PERFORM "NOT FORGOTTEN"
Pete Fornatale 56:51
Peter Frampton, accompanied by Bob mayo on a live version of not forgotten from the now CD. Peter, thank you for bringing that song into the world.
Peter Frampton 57:01
Pete Fornatale 57:02
more with Peter in just a minute.
Pete Fornatale 1:03:42
Pete Fornatale back with you on mixed bag radio with my guest today. Peter Frampton. Peter, you mentioned earlier that that Steve Marriott was the prolific one and that you sometimes have difficulty pulling songs out. But there was one particular day where prolific was not a problem for Peter Frampton. You know what I'm talking about? Tell that.
Peter Frampton 1:04:06
Yeah, there was I went down to I had basically three weeks to write the album that was in going to end up being called just Frampton. The one where the cover is actually me wearing playing live wearing Steve Merritt t shirt. And so by this time, this was 74. The Humble Pie had become rich and famous. Not me. But and they bought some houses down in the Bahamas, in Nassau. And so Steve lent me his his little cottage on the beach. It was literally eight feet from the water, you know, and you had a piano down there, and an amp and I brought an acoustic and I went down there for three weeks and And for the first two weeks, I, you know, I, I've been on the road so I was like, the adrenaline was still going, I hadn't relaxed at all, you know, so I was getting panic stricken that I everything I wrote sounded like I you know, I've done that before that's awful, horrible, horrible. And then one day I, I woke up and about I guess, lunchtime ish or just just before lunch I think I went out and so I'll just have a swim, whatever. And then I came back and I picked up the guitar. And I, I started with this open tuning playing what was started and was going to be showing me the way and wrote very quickly, lyrically, one verse and a chorus, because I thought, I'll finish the rest later. I'm on to something here. This isn't bad, you know. So. So I was very excited. Now the adrenaline is definitely flowing in the right way. And so I went out, had a bite to eat I know everything because I've relived that day so many times trying to recreate it. And so after lunch, came back, nothing nothing nothing went for a walk came back as the sun was setting. I wrote baby I love you way. If there was a theme to the day, the way series I call it, I do say that I'm in you used to be called I'm in your way. But I it was the trilogy. But But and then that evening I picked up one of Steve's electrics and plugged it in to his amp there and started blasting and no one could hear you I was in no way for miles. And I started playing the opening chords to no where is too far, which was known as too far from my baby, which ended up being a third track on so I, I sort of had a good start on it. And I in eight days I wrote the rest,
Pete Fornatale 1:07:12
you know, not a bad days where no at all? No and not one like it since?
Peter Frampton 1:07:18
Unfortunately not No. So you know, that you cherish those days? I mean, any day that a song comes is a great day, you know, I mean, I'm not. I don't like writing things that sound like my last song. I can't do that. I can't repeat myself song wise, at all. At least for me, a style will will be the same. And people will say oh, well I can tell that it's a Frampton song, or that's a Frampton solo or whatever. But as far as I'm concerned, it has to be completely new ground.
Pete Fornatale 1:07:51
Alright, Peter, it's time to talk about the monster. Oh, okay, it's time to ask you some questions that you've probably been asked 1000s of times before. But all of a sudden, comes this live recording done in San Francisco in the mid 70s, the biggest selling live album in rock'n'roll history. And is it 16 million to date? Is that the latest figure
Peter Frampton 1:08:22
There's a few of the early figures that we're still trying to get because they weren't computers. So because the company's a&m was bought and sold so many times we we think it's more than that. But I'm saying yeah, it's pretty much we know it's more than that.
Pete Fornatale 1:08:39
So the herd is one level of success for Peter Frampton. Humble Pie is another level of success for Peter Frampton. But then comes this phenomenon. What was it like to be in the eye of the hurricane? And, Bob, if you want to join in on this, please do.
Bob Mayo 1:08:59
Well what did you mentioned Cameron's comment
Peter Frampton 1:09:01
Oh, yeah. Cameron. After the case, Cameron said this wonderful thing that they that he did for an interview thing for me, which was great. He said because he was there. He wrote the liner notes. You know, he was the first person apart from us to hear it. You know, he was the first critic or writer we ever played it to. And he was like, you know, it was very difficult not to get be affected by instantly. I don't know what and I don't know what that is. So he he basically, you know, I've lost the drift of what I was saying. Feed me what you just said, well, oh, I know. I know that you can edit that right? Sorry. Yeah, I'm a little tired. So basically, Cameron saw the whole thing happen, and we were very good friends and we went on when I had breaks we go on vacation together without respect. Ladies. And so when it came to sum it up, I think he put it the right way that it was like I was strapped to the nose cone of a rocket. And I went where no man had been before. And when I got there, there was nobody else to talk to. Wow. You know, and that's paraphrasing what he said very closely what, and it's so true, because I just looked to everybody else for advice, when the only person I should have been asking advice from was myself. And my gut instinct at that point was to go away. And, you know, do the comes a lot, do the tour, that was booked already. And to take advantage of that year, go round the world, and then pull back and just do nothing for a while because it was so big. And this country is so big, where it first started to take off, and then the world that it got to the point where people heard it too much, and they got sick of it, you know? And that that was not good. overexposure. Absolutely. And then the normal the old rules are, which I listened to everybody are to where you got to hype this now, because it's so big. That's the last thing we needed to do, you know, was hype, or do every interview that was asked of me, which I did. You know, because, you know, it's hard to say no, when no one wants to talk to you all these years, really, except radio was my friend, you know, and all of a sudden, everybody wants to talk to me, why should I do that one? Can I do this one? Oh, Rolling Stone. Yeah, you know, so. And then the ones that I shouldn't have done, you know, like, Women's Wear Daily and cooking weekly, I did everything. Popular Mechanics. There was no way you could turn without seeing me, you know, so that was wrong. And I felt it was wrong. But I couldn't be sure that it was wrong. I didn't know. But it was very soon. I was made to realize that I was very evident that you know, we've gone too far.
Pete Fornatale 1:12:17
Bob, what was your experience
Bob Mayo 1:12:19
I specifically remember, it taken off in January of 76. And the first break we had on that tour was in July. It was the first time I had gotten home and gotten back in touch with some friends. And I thought, frankly, that we were pretty much on top of the world. And they set me straight. They said, We're already sick of this thing. We've already heard it so much. It's everywhere. We don't need to hear it anymore. It
Peter Frampton 1:12:50
It was it was it was overkill.
Bob Mayo 1:12:51
Yeah. And the and the other part of the story was that we were constantly working. We were either on the road, or we were in the studio. And that lasted nearly five years. Yeah, that period of time. So you know, so it was definitely a grind.
Peter Frampton 1:13:07
There's no period there to pull back and think about what's just
Bob Mayo 1:13:12
charged, there was no time to recharge, no time to reassess, or to just give yourself some room to come up with some different ideas.
Peter Frampton 1:13:20
Exactly. And because we were just caught up in it, there was no reality at that point. We were just like,
Bob Mayo 1:13:26
now we're gonna start Shea Stadium experience every day. Yeah, sometimes twice a day,
Peter Frampton 1:13:31
and then being told how great you are by management. You know, just to feed your ego I go on. Yeah, exactly. I'm tired. I want to go home. Yes, but we got to play another Shea Stadium and another Shea Stadium. Let's go around the world. All right, then. You know, so it's it's very hard. You know, when you waited all that time, and you've never, you've not got a clue that this could ever possibly happen. And we became Rubik's Cube. Everybody had us. And then no one wants to play with us anymore.
Pete Fornatale 1:14:00
Wow. Yeah, that must have given you what do they call it? Whiplash? Yeah.
Bob Mayo 1:14:05
Well, you know, stadium gig in the early afternoon in Cleveland and then a stadium gig that evening somewhere in Arizona.
Peter Frampton 1:14:10
Yeah, we've done that, too. So we did that. Yes, we did.
Pete Fornatale 1:14:17
success success at that level has assets and liabilities can be one of each off the top of your head.
Peter Frampton 1:14:27
Oh obviously, I got out of debt.
Pete Fornatale 1:14:31
That's good. That's an asset.
Peter Frampton 1:14:32
That's definitely an asset but I mean, an emotional asset, which is more important is that it's sort of you've got the pat on the back from the world, which is hard to come to terms with and it's it's an it's a very great feeling
Pete Fornatale 1:14:50
As you said few people get it at that at that level. How about the downside?
Peter Frampton 1:14:57
The downside? I think for me per originally was, the perception of me before that record came out by the loyal, hardened fans that were there ever since I left humble pie was that Pete was this guitar player who happened to sing and write a few songs. And that's the way I've always perceived myself. And now I became a front cover of a magazine basically, and became this personality, as, as opposed to a musician. And because of the way I looked, it was I was in a really easy sell for people wanting me on the cover their magazines, because it sold magazines, then, you know, Rolling Stone, they both times I was on the cover. Well, the first two times I was on the cover, it was they were the biggest, you know, circulations they'd ever had. So, obviously, you know, people are going to want that. And it's very hard to turn it down. But that was the downside that, then it gets the point where I got to, I came out of a gig once in the 80s, early 80s, just just before I got got off the road, and this girl just came up to me and said, You know, I didn't know you play guitar as well. You know, which was that was the worst day of my, that was it. That was the bottom? Sure. You know, excuse me. You know, why didn't you do a new? Why did you cut your hair? You know? So, anyway,
Pete Fornatale 1:16:38
if you could wipe the slate clean, and redo the year or two, after Frampton comes alive? What would you do differently?
Peter Frampton 1:16:49
Well, I mean, I'm not moaning I'm not whining. It sounds like I'm whining here. But I'm really not because I'm, I've had a wonderful career, and I've had some ups and downs. But, you know, I'm still doing what I love to do so but I think what I would, what I would do differently is I would have taken we'd have done the one that year, we'd have toured 76, we'd have probably gone to Europe, and Japan and Australia, as we did, right. But a little later, we did done that in 77. But I'm in New wouldn't have come out until 1980. You know, I mean, I would have tried to if I could have, if I knew now. Now, if I knew then what I know now, I would have become I would just sort of thought the same way as the Eagles. We the Eagles have had very few albums out, but they've just all been incredibly large records and great records, you know, everyone's a masterpiece, you know, and I think that there was no chance of me coming up with anything to compete with comes alive within the next 18 months to two years.
Pete Fornatale 1:18:03
The business was so different than as you pointed out. I mean, that was an era where the Beatles would put out two records a year with Dylan put out bringing it all back home and highway 61 Revisited. In the same year. The Beach Boys contract with capital was for three albums a year. You wonder how anybody could come through that alive and or sane. Nowadays, or as things progressed, it obviously changed Billy Joel put out a record every three or four years, Bruce Springsteen every three or four years? I think you're absolutely right, you would have profited from that lesser pace than what was demanded of you.
Peter Frampton 1:18:48
The argument made was that the longer you wait, the harder it will be. And I see I don't see that at all. That was that one that started me thinking, oh, you know, so maybe I should go in and do another one now. But I remember when I finished I'm in you. And there's some good tracks on there. I mean, great playing from the band. But I remember coming in to the management office and taking the two, Side A and Side B throwing them on the couch and saying that's as good as I can do right now. I'm going to bed that's it, you know, and I wasn't pleased with it at all, but it was there was so much pressure to get it out there you know?
Pete Fornatale 1:19:33
Yeah, yep, yep. When you've grabbed the brass ring in some way, are you always chasing it after that? Or do you come to terms with it, then not chase it anymore?
Peter Frampton 1:19:50
You've come to terms with it and you don't chase it because you realize it's like the book catch 22 It's like we've said I've said it before a Rubik's Cube. It's like, thriller. It's like tapestry for Carole King. It, it's never gonna happen again, like that, you know, you can't expect that to happen. That is a phenomenon, you know. And as a solo artist, I sometimes think if it had been, if I'd have been a band, and not singled out, and I chose that I chose to be a solo artist. But if it had been humble pie that had done that, there would have been, it would have been a committee and someone would have said, No, we shouldn't do this, like the Beatles. Exactly, yeah. And argue with management. Whereas in the record company, whereas I'm looking for advice, because I'm scared stiff of this next record, obviously, at that point, I'm thinking this is great. Now I have to do another one, you know, so yes.
Pete Fornatale 1:21:04
Do you remember where and when you made your peace with all of that?
Peter Frampton 1:21:13
Oh it was sometime in the 80s I took time off the first time I actually came off the road was 82 and 82 to 85 was when I started to come to terms with that and that's when having a family having a family having my my first two children that that brings reality right back you know, because now you're responsible for to other human beings and your wife you know, obviously, but these people these new people on this planet depend on you and it completely changes the way you think. Obviously, it did for me and then then one's priorities change and I didn't really feel like I wanted to I didn't have to do luckily I haven't hadn't been ripped off of all my money. And I didn't have to tour and I didn't really want to I wanted to spend some time with my children and see them grow up. And I think that was really the biggest thing that helped me come to terms with everything that had happened
Pete Fornatale 1:22:33
Let's play one of the non obvious tracks from comes alive. The one that actually was given life on the Frampton album and then taken into the next project as well. You picked it tell me
Peter Frampton 1:22:48
I'll give you money and that's what I give a lot of people oh, you should have been called you take my money but yeah, it's that was in we're clear well castle we were on location with Ronnie lanes mobile recording truck and John CYO Miss was in fact I wrote that song at the ice rink in Central Park Wow at a soundcheck and there were a few people of the audience that were there and we just did this sort of jam of that riff you know.....that's what we had you know, from the soundcheck and so I took that and turned it into I'll give you money and finished it and then I just remember having John Sam is in this huge huge room wood stone fireplace like a castle It was what was the cost play well castle, and that's what they call them Pete and and he does that does that wonderful intro and you can hear the wooden stone, it's just we would do in a Led Zeppelin, you know, let's face it. Everybody wanted to do that sound you know. And that's it. That's the opening of it.
Pete Fornatale 1:24:15
Here it is in all its glory on mixed bag radio.
Pete Fornatale 1:24:21
That's Peter Frampton, and I'll give you money Peter, our guest on mixed bag radio today. One of the things I've always enjoyed by you, Peter is the occasional instrumental that you've done going back to penny for your thoughts. Right, lovely, lovely little piece.
Peter Frampton 1:24:37
Pete Fornatale 1:24:39
And you were nominated for a Grammy.
Peter Frampton 1:24:44
Thank you for bringing it up. Yes, that was again I got the nod the nomination for a live version of off the hook, which was actually started on the relativity Sony record copy. Do Frampton and yeah, that was that was my first venture back into instrumentals.
Pete Fornatale 1:25:07
Well, you've put one on the new record as well, which is completely different. Tell me Tell me a little bit about it.
Peter Frampton 1:25:17
Um, a good friend of mine, Jed Lieber is a is a great, another great keyboard player and writer. And we'd written a film piece, a song for film, in the 80s, actually, when I was off the road, and I enjoyed working with him then. And we've been trying to get together ever since. And we managed to do this and I told him what I wanted to do. And he'd written other instrumentals for another guitarist, and what would Jeff Beck and so who I'm just one of my all time favorite guitar players, and I try and steal as much as I can from him when I can. And but so we got together and literally just didn't have anything and just started noodling and just playing around just keyboards and guitar. And that's what that's what came out that melody, just the beginning of it. And then we developed it.
Pete Fornatale 1:26:13
It's called greens from the new Peter Frampton album now on mixed bag radio.
Pete Fornatale 1:27:46
That is greens, the instrumental from the new now CD by Peter Frampton. As we wrap up, Peter, I want to ask you a quick question about one of the great rock and roll movies that you were involved with almost famous, reunited you with Cameron Crowe, whom we talked about earlier. Your credit in that film?
Peter Frampton 1:28:08
Well, I'm the the authenticity advisor.
Pete Fornatale 1:28:12
I love it. I mean, that that is as accurate a description of the role that you played as could be correct. Yeah. What are some of the things you did?
Peter Frampton 1:28:21
Well, Cameron caught up and just said, you know, I'm going to do a rock movie. And I said, No, you're not. And he said, I said, don't you remember, we don't like rock movies, because they're never authentic. He said, Well, that's why I want you to be involved. So I flew to LA. And I read the script. I loved it immediately. You know, it's he just is such a great writer. And, and then he said, Well, I need a song. So I called up Gordon and Wayne, Gordon Kennedy and Wayne Koch patches, that we've got an order. And so went back and wrote the track hour of need, which is on now and then came back. And we ended up writing two songs for the movie. And then basically, Cameron explained that he, you know, Billy crewed up, was going to play the lead guitarist, and Jason Lee was going to play the lead singer. And those two needed as actors needed as much input as possible as to basically why they're doing what they're doing, what they're doing. And, you know, with Billy, he'd never picked up a guitar until six weeks before we shot basically started shooting and I had to turn him into like, you know, Jimmy Page and Paul kossoff, sort of a mixture of those two in and he's just such a great actor that he threw himself into the role and became he still plays today, you know, so, I'm thrilled but that was basically the best moment for me was when And Billy had learned the solos and some of them were mine and some were Mike McCready from Pearl Jam. And he'd learned solos so much and he asked me one day said what would be now I've got my fingers on the notes at the right time. He said what would be the thing that would make me look put me over the top and make me look authentic? I said well, you got to close your eyes and put your head back and then keep your fingers in the right position. And the day he did that camera and I did the biggest high five you know and he did that and he pulled it off.
Pete Fornatale 1:30:36
That is great. You also made a cameo appearance in the film
Peter Frampton 1:30:40
as as reg humble pies road managers talk about
Pete Fornatale 1:30:44
going full circle. Peter amazing for a first time visit I've tried to steer clear of the familiar things that you've done but there's one that I particularly love you to close out with.
Peter Frampton 1:31:00
Okay, I think I might know what it is this one
Pete Fornatale 1:31:04
so will everyone else
PETER FRAMPTON PERFORMS "BABY I LOVE YOUR WAY"
Pete Fornatale 1:36:06
and that just about does it for this edition of mixed bag radio my thanks to Peter Frampton and Bob Mayo for being our guests. Thanks also to Bill Koh lar, Chris Hall and Linda fetter Special Thanks this week to the Gibson and Baldwin showroom in New York City. If you'd like to know more about our program, please visit our website at WWW dot mixed bag radio.com This is Pete foreigner Ciao. Thanks for listening. And thank you for being so generous with your time and talent. Wow. Wow that is delightful.
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