So I was eager to scoop up a copy of Frampton's memoir, "Do You Feel Like I Do?" when it came out last month (COVID be damned -- this was worth risking a trip to the bookstore, lol).
Frampton got the guitar bug as a child (his first guitar hero was Hank Marvin of the Shadows) and quickly became something of a prodigy, getting involved in bands when he was barely into his teens. He became friends with a guy at school who also played the guitar -- an art student of his father's, named Dave Jones, who later became better known as David Bowie. When Frampton's career slumped in the 1980s, Bowie hired him as a guitarist on his Glass Spider tour, and helped him redefine his career. Also as a teenager, Frampton was introduced to Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, who became a mentor and lifelong friend.
I'll admit, I thought this book dragged in parts, particularly through Frampton's retelling of the early years of his career. I probably could have done without the exhaustive recounting of what seemed like every gig he ever played and every musician he ever played with. There's lots of name dropping -- often prefaced by "my dear friend..." -- Peter seems to have lots of "dear friends," lol. There's the usual tales of sex, drugs & rock & roll, naivete, ripoffs, bad business decisions and just plain bad management.
The story picked up with the success of "Frampton Comes Alive," and the pressures it placed on Peter to come up with something just as enormous. He has some great stories to tell: the best is probably how he lost his favourite guitar in a plane crash in 1980 -- and then, incredibly, was reunited with it again, 30+ years later, just in time for his Frampton Comes Alive 35th anniversary tour. Frampton has dubbed it "Phenix," and the guitar becomes a metaphor for the rise, fall and rise again of his long, storied career.
Sadly, in 2015, Frampton was diagnosed with inclusion body myositis (IBM), an inflammatory disease that weakens and atrophies the muscles in the arms, hands, and legs. Since then, he's been recording like crazy, stockpiling material in anticipation of the day when he can no longer play guitar. (The UK/European leg of his farewell tour was cut short earlier this year by COVID-19.) He's also dedicated himself to raising funds and awareness for IBM and other autoimmune diseases.
Peter Frampton seems like a genuinely nice, decent, good-humoured guy who, despite some slip-ups and moments of bad judgment, eventually carved out a long-lasting career for himself as one of music's all-time greats, and who is determined to make the most of the time & remaining good health that he has left on this planet. I saw on Instagram recently that he finally met his granddaughter, born earlier this year, for the first time, because of COVID-19. He refers to himself as "Frampa," lol.
If you're a Frampton fan, this is obviously a must-read. Even if you're not a huge fan, if you grew up in the 1970s as I did, you will probably enjoy the nostalgia trip.
3.5 stars on Goodreads, rounded up to 4.
(ALI alert: Frampton's youngest daughter, Mia, now an actress, was an IVF baby.)
This was Book #39 read to date in 2020 (Book #2 finished in November), bringing me to 130% of my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge goal of 30 books. I have completed & now exceeded my challenge goal for the year by 9 books, and am (for the moment, anyway...!) 13 books ahead of schedule. :) You can find reviews of all my books read to date in 2020 tagged as "2020 books."
|First-year university dorm room, September 1979. |
On the wall: Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem on the left,
Peter Frampton in all his long-haired 1970s glory on the right. :)