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Peter Frampton at Freedom Hill, 5 Things To Know
Peter Frampton may not have the full head of blond locks ingrained in pop culture iconography since "Frampton Comes Alive!" in 1976, but he has plenty of laurels to take their place.
Forty-five years into his solo career, the onetime "face of '68" with his band The Herd has amassed a reputation as one of rock's finest, and busiest, guitar players, from his time in Humble Pie through to his Grammy Award for the instrumental "Fingerprints" album in 2007 and up to the present day. All these years along he's still coming alive every time he steps on stage, or in a recording studio...
Though it's been 45 years since he released his solo album Frampton, 67, has no plans to commemorate the mark. "We did the 35th; I'll see what happens in another five years," he says by phone from his home in Nashville. "It's celebration enough to be going out with Steve Miller this summer."
Touring with Miller and his band is, in fact, a bit like old rock 'n' roll home week for Frampton. "We're talking about someone I've been friends with since I was 20 years old," he explains. "We go back a long way, played many shows together over the years. WE did a couple of shows a couple of years ago, a couple of amphitheaters (including the DTE Energy Music Theatre) and loved it, and Steve said, 'We've got to do a whole tour' and I said, 'I’m ready,' so here it is. I'm just thrilled."
Frampton and Miller do play some songs together during the shows, and Frampton was pleasant surprised by his tourmate's level of preparation. "Steve is, like, unbelievably together," Frampton notes. "I'm very Type A when it comes to organizing stuff with my band, and I think he's got me beat. He said, 'You want to come and do two or three numbers with me each night?' and I said, 'Oh, absolutely.' He said, 'I'll send you a couple of songs;' He sent me, like, 40 songs to choose from, and then once we'd narrowed it down to three blues-ish numbers to do I got the arrangements, the words, the emails. It's just great. He's so thoughtful, and that's the way I work. Being prepared, I think, is his motto, and I don't think I've worked this closely with the act I'm touring with, ever."
Although he took a critical beating for his starring role in the film based on the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," he still calls it "my favorite album ever" and has been enjoying this month's 50th anniversary celebration of the landmark set. "I actually experienced it before the (release) date," Frampton recalls. "My girlfriend and I went up to Petticoat Lane on a Sunday, which was a flea market, basically. They had records, new and old, and I noticed that there was this new Beatles album right there, and I said, 'Look at this! It doesn't come out 'til next week or the week after.' And the guy sort of gave me a wink and said, 'Yeah, we've got these.' So I bought one -- obviously not an official one. A lot of this stuff fell off the back of the truck, y'know? We took it back to my girlfriend's house and played it, then played it again and kept playing it until my girlfriend's mother came in and said, 'I think it's time for you to go...'"
Frampton released a new single and video, "I Saved A Bird Today," earlier this year and he's starting to hatch plans to make his first album of original material since 2010's "Thank You Mr. Churchill" (not counting the "Hummingbird In A Box: Songs For A Ballet" project in 2014). "I'm probably going to take the fall off and work on new material, maybe some more instrumental stuff because that seems to be something I really enjoy doing," Frampton says. "But there might be other stuff as well because you don't have to do a full album these days; People just seem to want more and more stuff, so you put it out as you've got it. So that's what I plan on doing for the fall, just taking that time off to work on new music."
The Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton
7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 1.
Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill, 14900 Metropolitan Parkway at Schoenherr, Sterling Heights.
Tickets are $79.50 and $45 pavilion, $29.50 lawn.
Call (586) 268-5100 or visit palacenet.com.
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