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Fame: Peter Frampton

You were described as The Face Of 1968 when you were in The Herd. How did you cope with that?

Not well. I’d joined the band as guitarist and backing vocalist. Our management pushed me to the front. It made me uncomfortable.

Did you enjoy being a teen idol?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I was seventeen and had all these girls screaming at me. They all wanted to be with me – and I have to admit that some were.

What sort of fame did you have to cope with in Humble Pie?

Both Steve Marriott and I wanted to get away from the pop-star status we’d previously had. But when Natural Born Boogie was a hit in the UK we were back with the screaming girls. So we went to America, where we were comparative unknowns, and that allowed us to be accepted as musicians.

Did your profile in Humble Pie win you respect from musicians?

Definitely. I got to do sessions with so many top musicians. Getting the recognition of my peers meant a lot.

How did you cope with going solo and not having early success?

I was lucky to have a label like A&M, who were very supportive and didn’t care that I wasn’t making them any money. I had the artistic freedom to do what I wanted, without commercial pressure.

When Frampton Comes Alive! exploded, were you able to deal with the massive fame that came with it?

How do you cope with that? For a time I was the biggest artist in the world and was selling more records than anyone had ever done. I got flowers from Elvis and had more attention than I could ever have imagined. It was overwhelming.

Did you become addicted to being famous?

I have an addictive personality anyway, so yes. Anybody would.

What was the worst part of fame for you?

The fear of losing it. The realisation that when you are at the top there’s only one way to go.

And what about the best?

I could do anything I wanted, and people would indulge me. But, of course, that led to me making terrible mistakes.

What’s the most outrageous thing you got away with?

When I got my first royalty cheque for Frampton Comes Alive! it was for a million dollars. I bought an entire studio’s worth of equipment on the spot. I’d dreamed of having my own studio.

What did fame teach you about yourself?

Irrelevant things easily distract me. But I can fight against my addictive tendencies and remain true to myself.

Dave Ling
Dave Ling

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.