Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Quote of the Day (Peter Frampton, on Musicians With Longevity)

“People who have longevity in music are usually the ones who never think they’re that special, so they keep pushing the envelope, listening, and learning more. I'll never be as good as I want to be, because the goal posts are always moving. If a player ever starts to think they're hot s—t and stops trying to improve themselves, it's curtains, or stagnation at the very least. But my friend and yours, B. B. King, was the most humble man, till the day he died.”— English-American rock ‘n’ roll guitarist and singer-songwriter Peter Frampton with Alan Light, Do You Feel Like I Do?: A Memoir (2020)

B.B. King would find a kindred spirit, I firmly believe, in Peter Frampton. Few entertainers have known his level of fame as a teen idol after the release of his multiplatinum album Frampton Comes Alive in the mid-Seventies. 

But few have reacted with as much modesty and gratitude after his richly deserved election to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame last month.

There was a time when I would have gagged on that phrase “richly deserved.” I had purchased and enjoyed Frampton Comes Alive, but been deeply disappointed with his solo follow, I’m in You, as well as with his participation in a film project I still regard as sacrilegious, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

To his credit, Frampton has acknowledged these creative mistakes, along with the substance abuse that put his career and life at risk for a long time. He rededicated himself to his work and reminded listeners why, ever since his days with Humble Pie, he became one of the elite rock ‘n’ roll guitarists.

Memoirs can be a fraught genre, filled at times with artful trimming and deception, but Frampton’s strikes me as one written by a musician who takes pride in his work and the friends he’s made along the way without yielding to overweening ego. In short, he seems as likable as they come.

Fans naturally value skill in performers, but honesty, humility and thankfulness can be in far shorter supply. These latter qualities shine as brightly with Frampton as the prowess with the “talk box” that made him a music-industry phenomenon nearly a half-century ago.

(For further information on the inflammatory muscle disease through which Frampton has persevered over the last half-dozen years, inclusion body myositis (IBM), see this July 2020 post from the Myositis Association blog.)

(Photo of Frampton performing at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, FL, taken on Sept. 26, 2006, by Carl Lender)

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