Peter Frampton says “Frampton Comes Alive,” which turns 35 this year, “seems like a long time ago” in his life for a variety of reasons.
“I get these 12-year-old, up-and-coming guitar players on Facebook or at the shows who want to get some pointers,” Frampton tells Billboard.com with a laugh. “And they’ve got the talk box solo down to ‘Do You Feel…’ or they’ve learned this part or that part. It’s a very honorable position to be in when these kids still today, 35 years later, are still using it as an inspiration to start to play.”
Frampton is celebrating the venerable concert souvenir this year with a show that features the original 1975 setlist in its entirety. “It’s a lot of fun,” Frampton says. “Just for laughs, I’m gonna try to throw a few of the ‘Thank yew!s’ and stuff like that in, spoof it a little.” He’s opted against donning a wig of his considerably longer locks from the period — “People have asked,” he notes, “but I’m not going to do that” — and Frampton is particularly looking forward to playing some of the songs that disappeared from his shows during the intervening years.
“As soon as ‘I’m In You’ came out (in 1977), the act changed,” Frampton notes, “so the last time we played all these numbers together was in ’76. We haven’t played ‘Nowhere’s Too Far,’ which was on the deluxe edition, since then. We haven’t played ‘Doobie Wah’ in 20 years. ‘Something’s Happening’ has been 15 years. Certain things you just retire — been there, done that. But to do the whole thing, it’s pretty exciting, actually. I know the audience will love it. And what’s cool is we have people coming that haven’t been to see us since ’77, ’76. It’s pretty awesome we’re getting them out of the house.”
The “Frampton Comes Alive” show has added authenticity with the return of bassist Stanley Sheldon; the other two members of that band, keyboardist Bob Mayo and drummer John Siomos, both passed away in 2004. Sheldon wrote and played on Frampton’s Grammy Award-winning 2007 album “Fingertips” and also joined the band for the 2011 U.K. tour supporting the “Thank You Mr. Churchhill.”
“When the idea came up of doing ‘Comes Alive’ in its entirety, I thought it was time to ask Stanley to be part of it again, so we’ve got half the original band,” Frampton explains. “It definitely gives it a different feel. Stanley played the whole (original) show on a fretless, and he’s playing fretless again for the whole of that (‘Frampton Comes Alive’) set. So it’s all pretty special.”
The U.S. leg of the “Frampton Comes Alive” anniversary tour begins June 15 in Red Bank, N.J., and runs through Oct. 22 in Nashville. Frampton then moves on to Europe in November. Each night’s show will be recorded and available for purchase that night, while Frampton is planning to film one of the shows for a possible DVD.
Meanwhile, Frampton — who’s daughter, Mia, appears in the new films “Bridesmaids” and “That’s What I Am — has started working on material for his next album, and he’s part of William Shatner’s upcoming “Searching For Major Tom” album, playing on a cover of Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.” “He’s wonderful,” Frampton says of Shatner. “He’s so funny, naturally, and crazy. Who would’ve thought I’d ever be friends with Captain Kirk, you know? He’s a lovely man.”