Posts Tagged ‘Peter Frampton’

Twenty-Four F-in Years

June 20th, 2012
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I started my current gig, overpaid lazy autoworker (and if you have ever used the phrase you should be sentenced to 8 hours in a car factory on a day like today) on June 20, 1988. I remember it like it was 24 years ago yesterday. If I could have my life to live over again, I would never had set foot in the dump, but truth be told, things have turned out pretty good overall.

Strangest thing is, every year on this day, I get Martin Mull’s This Takes the Cake stuck in my head, and can’t get rid of it. Not sure why…

For the record, Peter Frampton is playing the nice lead guitar licks.

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The Freedom of Music: Frampton’s Guitar Comes Alive

April 15th, 2012
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One likes to believe in the freedom of music.
Rush – Spirit of Radio.

Guitarists and their guitars. It can be a special bond. One guitar can be such a perfect fit, so in tune with it’s player, that a guitar player who can afford, and owns hundreds of the instruments, can spend years using mainly one.sidebar-7

In his book, One Train Later, Andy Summers tells how a student came to a lesson when he was teaching in LA in 1974, and offered to sell him an old ’61 Fender telecaster. Disinterested, Summers strummed it a few times and “something stirs within” him. He takes the guitar home with him, spends a few hours with it, and finds he can’t put it down, can’t stop playing. A failed musician who had lost the desire to play, he was playing with Tim Rose within’ a few weeks. The guitar that sparks something within’ him, the ’61 Fender telecaster with the stratocaster neck and the Gibson pickup, rewired with an overdrive unit built in the body of the guitar would carry him through his career with The Police, ending in 1984, and beyond.

Andy Summers was a one guitar guy for the highest point in his career, as was Peter Frampton. Frampton was playing lead guitar with Steve Marriot’s Humble Pie in 1970 when he borrowed a 1954 Les Paul Custom with triple humbucker pickups for a show. He would later say of the guitar:

I used it for both sets and my feet didn’t touch the ground. This is the best guitar I have ever played.

After the show he tried to buy the guitar from it’s owner, but it wasn’t for sale: he gave the guitar to Frampton instead.

Frampton’s 1954 Les Paul is now iconic, having been used in the remaining Humble Pie albums, including Rockin the Fillmore, and all of Frampton’s solo albums until 1980. It is the guitar Frampton is playing on the cover of his multi-million selling Frampton Comes Alive! and, of course, the guitar Frampton plays throughout the album. Have a favourite Peter Frampton song? Chances are he played it on that ’54.

In 1980 it was aboard a cargo plane that crashed in Venezuela. There we no survivors, including, presumably, the guitar. Burnt, beaten and battered, the fine Mahogany instrument would have made great fuel in a burning wreckage and, as far as anybody knew, that was it’s fate.

It didn’t die a fiery death, however, and a couple of years ago a Dutch Frampton fanatic (who will never again want for Frampton tickets or, presumably, have to pay for them) and a Curacaon customs agent that moonlights as a guitar repair man, began investigating (based on what information did they decide to investigate, I have no idea). Late last year they found the guitar, which had been salvaged and sold to a musician in Curacao.

On February 18th Peter Frampton stepped onstage at New York’s famous Beacon Theater with his black ’54 Les Paul for the first time in more than 30 years. A musician and his guitar, reunited after all these years.

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Happy 60th Birthday…

April 22nd, 2010
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Peter Frampton is much maligned as an artist. He played with Steve Marriott in Humble Pie, before beginning a solo career in 1971. Considered by many to be the king of soft rock, example A for all that is wrong with music and the guy who ruined rock and roll by selling so many damn records, the truth is Frampton is a very good guitar player and an excellent performer. But more than anything else, Peter Frampton brought the talk box to millions of people who otherwise never would have heard one.

So happy 60th birthday, for Show Me the Way and the rest of Frampton Comes Alive!

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Saturday Fluffernutter: Jon and Kate plus the babysitter; Them Crooked Vultures; Les Paul 1915 – 2009

August 15th, 2009
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Saturday Fluffernutter – all the fluffy news about those nutty celebrities.

fluffincolorOh, oh! Jon and Kate’s separation has turned to the ugly side. Kate arrived at their Wernersville, Pa. home Friday when Jon was supposed to be having his quality time with the Plus Eight. melissa-glick-warhol-fluff-for-webTurns out Jon called in a babysitter; turns out Jon has been tutoring the babysitter, or so says a) the tabs b) Kate. Which is odd, because Kate keeps using her couch time on their TV show, “Jon and Kate Plus Eight,” to talk about how the tabloids make all this stuff up. So suddenly she believes them that Jon is boffing  23-year-old Stephanie Santoro, the “babysitter” in question? Well if it’s good enough for her, well I guess it’s good enough for me, Kate is the torrential bitch the tabs have been saying all along.

fluffincolorLed Zeppelin rumour of the week, courtesy of Ramble On:

John Paul Jones new band, Them Crooked Vultures, premiered last weekend at a post-Lollapalooza show at The Metro in Chicago. The Vultures (TCV in the appropriate newsgroups) feature Jones, Foo Fighters singer/guitarist/ Nirvana Drummer Dave Grohl on Drums and Queens of a Stone Age guitarist singer Josh Homme on, well, guitar and vocals. Reviews are suggesting that TCV are the greatest band since, um, Led Zeppelin.

Them Crooked Vultures are said to be releasing an album on October 23rd titled  “Never Deserved the Future.”

fluffincolorLes Paul (1915 – 2009): Three summers ago the family and I were in New York. After dinner, we decided to stroll to the Borders in Chelsea. For the first time in two days, I didn’t have a 5 pound camera slung over my shoulder. We walked in the store and this little old man was wrapping up a book signing. “Hey, that’s Les Paul,” I said.

“Who?” the family asked.

“You know my guitar at home, the Les Paul guitar?”


“Les Paul,” I said, waving my hand in his direction.

As I said, he was wrapping up, talking to his rep and, well, he looked 100, so I didn’t want to bother him. But there I am without my camera. The family established a new New York rule after that, never go out without a camera.

Last fall I was back in NYC, and passed a club with 20 or so people lined up outside. “Who’s playing?” I asked.

“Les Paul.”

Ninety-three years old, and still playing. That’s what they call a working musician. But it’s not for his playing that Les Paul will ultimately be remembered – even now he’s barely remembered for that.

Les Paul was an innovator. In the Buddy Holly Story, a studio tech asks Buddy (played by Gary Busey), where he learnt to overdub? “Same place as you,” Holly says. “From Les Paul.” The whole idea of using two or more tape heads to layer sound one upon the other. In the early 50’s, Paul had specially made an 8-track tape recorder. By the late 1960’s, the Beatles where busy making Sergeant Pepper on a four track player, half the player Les Paul innovated out of thin air more than ten years earlier. A remarkable improvement in the way recorded music was produced. But really, who will remember him for a technical innovation, no matter how significant.

Les Paul invented the solid body electric guitar.


As Paul McCartney sang, “Who’s that movin’ cross the stage, it looks a lot like the one used by Jimmy Page.”

There can be no mistaking the visualization: Jimmy Page moved across the stage with a Les Paul Guitar. In rock and roll circles, it is the guitar. A stunning visual and audio instrument, the Les Paul is a perfectly balanced hunk of Mahogany that drove rock and roll from the mid-60’s to the present day. Jimmy Page, Slash, Cream era-Eric Clapton, Early Jeff Beck, Comes Alive era Peter Frampton to name just a few. The Les Paul guitar is the face of rock and roll.

Les Paul passed this week at the age of 94. He is being remembered for his music, especially his work with his wife Mary Ford. He is being remembered for his technical innovations that have altered how music is made. It will be, however, his namesake  guitar for which Les Paul will achieve immortality.

More importantly, Les Paul was a true musician, working to the end and  man who lived a full life worth living. May the same be said of all of us.

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