Peter Frampton was once a proper heartthrob who made women absolutely melt when encountering his golden locks, tender love songs, and winning smile -- just ask my mom.
However, Frampton has always been a champion of the guitar beyond anything else, as is evident by the fretboard histrionics that have punctuated just about everything the venerable Brit has ever released. Lest we forget that he was once -- prior to his rise to success as the indisputable king of the live album format -- lead guitarist of one the most cutthroat (and underrated) units to ever lay siege to an audience, Humble Pie.
The guitarist and songwriter has dedicated most of his time in recent years to his Guitar Circus tours, and as anyone who's attended will tell you, if you're not sold on the hits, Frampton the guitarist makes the shows entirely worth the cost of admission. As we noted when reviewing a Guitar Circus show a few years back, the guitarist and songwriter has aged with an astounding amount of grace, particularly relative to the lion's share of his peers. Save for a tussle involving the tossing of a rude fan's cell phone this year, Frampton has managed to avoid any real scandal or embarrassing late-career crisis.
While many artists accustomed to the gargantuan success Frampton has enjoyed have been tempted to make the recorded equivalent of hair plugs, Frampton has always kept it on point with a brilliant sense of humor and incredible chops. With another Frampton show around the corner, we can't help but ruminate on how wonderful Peter Frampton really is. The dude is really a treasure, and an underrated one at that. So, here are the top five reasons to fall in love with this legend.
5. Tossing a Tosser's Cellular Device
We here at New Times believe in the rights of fans. As long as it isn't hurting anyone or ruining someone else's good time, you do you, yeah? That said, we go to a lot of shows -- probably more than you, because it's our job -- and this cell-phone shit has gotten completely out of control. Do you really need to stand there the entire time with your phone in the air undoubtedly blocking someone else's view to capture some blown-out-sounding earthquake footage?
Recently, Frampton took matters into his own hands when a rude couple in the first row (first row!) refused to stop filming the performance after being asked several times not to. Frampton eventually halted the song and confronted the fans, taking the cell phone in question and throwing it as far as he could, reportedly with a smile on his face the entire time. In doing so, Frampton's actions spoke for all of us. Yes, we feel like you do.
4. Under-Loved Burners
Frampton has a mountain of hits to his credit, sure, but, when you dig past the radio monsters, there lies a treasure-trove of burners waiting for the casual fan or uninitiated listener to discover. "(I'll Give You) Money" or "Baby (Something's Happening)" are a good start, but even the chill deep cuts like "Rocky's Hot Club" are charming in their own classic way.
3. The Heil Talk Box
There are a lot of iconic guitarists and a lot of iconic guitar effects out there, but few artists have made an effect their own the way Frampton has with the Heil Talk Box. So synonymous is the talk box with Frampton and the bridge portion of "Do You Feel Like We Do" that people often fail to realize how many other famous records it's been used on. You have to accept that when an effect is included in your appearance on The Simpsons, it truly is yours.
2. Humble Pie
Humble Pie ruled. The band's brand of no-frills, bare-bones rock 'n' roll was one of the best sounds of the '70s, and Frampton was an integral part of crafting that sound. The guitar playing we've been gushing about throughout this article was maybe best-served in conjunction with the screaming blues the late Steve Marriott delivered. And we absolutely love it when Frampton breaks out the Humble Pie classics live.
1. The Cover of I'm in You
Let's talk about this album cover for a minute. In an era when covers have been beaten into thumbnails on screens or are altogether nonexistent, this particular cover should be the artifact that stirs the regressive revolution. When else could one get away with metallic purple leather pants, an open man-blouse, and a stare that transforms the album's title from spiritual musing to sexual innuendo? That is the only time this could ever work, and we want to live in a world where these things matter again.
Peter Frampton. 7 p.m. Sunday, October 5, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $49 to $69 plus fees. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!