Peter Frampton

In December of 2003, I spent a week traveling around the midwest on a tour bus with Bono, Ashley Judd and Chris Tucker, photographing them while they talked about the AIDS crisis in Africa.

Near the end of the tour we found ourselves in Cincinnati. After lecturing students at a college, the group moved on to an AIDS hospice. There was a reception in the common room, and I found myself standing next to a little, balding guy with a name tag that said Peter Frampton. My first thought was “That must be pretty weird growing up with the same name as a famous English musician.” Then he started to speak in an English accent and I Realized- YIKES- that’s the actual Peter Frampton!

I bring this up because there is a note from Peter Frampton in Bob Lefsetz’s mailbag post this week. There is also a note from Wendy Waldman. In it she speaks one of the great truths of the music business:

“I know that somewhere on the net it was written that I’ve been “disappointed” that I never “broke through.” I’ve said a lot of dumb stuff in the press over 40 years, but that is ONE thing I have never said. In fact, not breaking through was probably the greatest gift of my life. It has forced me to keep pushing my boundaries, to keep studying, to make a buttload of mistakes and a few exciting successes, to search, experiment, to “ride the rails” as I said in the show the other night, to learn to produce, be a session player, a singer, a performer, a teacher, a songwriter in different disciplines, to range all over the globe in incredible musical experiences and with the greatest musicians of my time, to learn new styles of music and work in every possible configuration and discipline except for classical music, (Alas, how I wish I could have.) These boundless, wider ranging opportunities only came to me because I had no choice–I had to stay restless and to keep learning, and it made me grow. I would never have survived being a star in my 20s and 30s.”

I know that Peter Frampton is still touring.  He recently toured America playing the songs from the album Frampton Comes Alive for its 35th anniversary. I wonder what his life and career would have been like if he didn’t happen to record and release the biggest selling live album of all time in 1976!!

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