Peter Frampton on a ‘Musicians’ Career

On July 22, 2012, in Advice, News, by Magnolia Guitar

Peter Frampton’s 1976 double-live album “Frampton Comes Alive!” was the best selling album at the time and raised him to rock legend status.

Recently, I saw an interview and story about Frampton being reunited with his equally legendary black three-humbucker Gibson Les Paul Guitar that was lost after a plane crash in 1980. He ended up losing nearly all his guitars in the crash, but when he discovered that among them was his prized Les Paul (as seen on the full open cover of “Frampton Comes Alive!”) , it was like he “lost his mojo”.

It’s not a new story, but quite interesting to hear it from his own words and see him reunited with it for the first time. As one does when confronted with their past, either with a memory or an object, Frampton admits to CBS Sunday Morning correspondent Anthony Mason that it all seems like it was a completely “different person.” And in a way, it really was I would think. We’re rarely the person we think we are in the moment. And there’s no way we could have imaged the person we were in retrospect or who we will be in the future. Funny how life works.

One of the most memorable bits of insight Frampton reflects on was when talking about how, in the “lean years of the 80s”, he accepted the job as the lead guitarist for a tour with David Bowie. “He was now reintroducing me as the guitar player”, which seemed to suit him just fine.

Frampton continues, “a pop star’s career lasts 18 months. A musician’s career lasts a lifetime. And that’s what I’ve learned.”

Peter Frampton displays the once lost Les Paul guitar, now returned and restored, to Anthony Mason on CBS Sunday Morning.

It’s very good advice to anyone who is looking to become “rich and famous” overnight by playing music. If you have the good fortune of hitting it big by either accident or design, you better have the good sense to save all your money, because like Frampton said, it’s not likely to last long. When you’ve reached #1, there’s really no place to go but down. Everything falls short after that and what can easily be seen as “failing” other working musicians would consider hitting it big. Perspective.

But conversely, if you seek a career of making long lasting music that you’re proud of, constantly learning and improving perhaps as a writer, singer, guitar player or what have you, then you’ll likely have a nice long comfortable career as a musician. And if you do that, sometimes, when you’re not looking, the fame and fortune finds you. And then, maybe, you’ll be ready to handle it.