If you want to see Peter Frampton, it might be wise to see him at his Oct. 13 show as part of San Diego’s Walden Family Services Wine D’Vine gala. If plans hold, he won’t be back on tour in the states for a while.
“I’m thinking probably at the end of the year doing some writing and recording, or writing I do every day, but recording,” Frampton said in a recent phone interview. “And then next year (I’ll) go out of the country (to tour) hopefully and maybe take it a little easier next year in this country at least and do some other things … I’m probably going to take the next year off touring America.”
Fans have seen a good deal of Frampton over the past couple of years, but in a different setting than his usual full-band plugged in format. Instead, aside for on his recent summer run with Steve Miller, most of his shows have been stripped down acoustic presentations with his long-time songwriting partner Gordon Kennedy.
The idea of doing a full acoustic show was initially daunting for Frampton.
“I’ve always done, when we have the time, I’ll do an acoustic spot, two or three numbers, but never the whole evening,” Frampton said. “This was scary, the thought of carrying the whole evening with acoustic.”
But Frampton said he quickly found his comfort zone and saw audiences responding.
“After the first few minutes out there on the very first tour we did two years ago now, I just felt so at home,” he said. “And it was a different feel in the audience because it was more of a ‘Storytellers’ meets ‘Unplugged,’ as opposed to a regular rock show with the band. So lots of stories, life stories and life is funny. It’s sad and funny and everything else in between. You just have to tell it like it is, and everybody can seem to relate to it.
“It’s 180 degrees different from the band and I enjoy it so much,” Frampton said.
In fact, the shows were so rewarding that Frampton decided to do an all-acoustic album, “Acoustic Classics,” creating new stripped down versions of some of his most famous songs (including “Show Me The Way,” “I’m In You” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” — alas the latter without the talkbox guitar solo). Frampton said it took some work to find his stride in recording the songs.
“When I first went into the studio and did a couple, I thought this will be a piece of cake,” he said. “But I went into the control room and listened and realized it wasn’t what I wanted at all. This was 40 years on also, and it sounded like me without the band — and I missed the band. So I wasn’t doing it in the correct way. So it wasn’t pleasing to me at all.
“That’s when I went home and realized I had to reverse engineer my own songs and do them the way that I hoped I remembered how they sounded when I did first write them,” he said. “Once I came across my M.O. for this, everything started to fall into place.”
The songs on “Acoustic Classics” date back to the early 1970s when Frampton went solo after achieving an early measure of fame with Humble Pie, gradually building a following with four solo albums. Then came the 1976 double album, “Frampton Comes Alive!”
Songs like “Show Me The Way,” “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Do You Feel Like We Do” became radio favorites, and sales of “Frampton Comes Alive!” soared, reaching some 18 million copies, while Frampton’s boyish good looks helped make him a bona fide pop star.
But pressured to capitalize on his success, Frampton rushed his next studio album, “I’m In You,” and the uneven effort was viewed as a disappointment, and he faded from the spotlight in the 1980s. But a turnaround came with Frampton’s 2006 instrumental album, “Fingerprints,” which won a Grammy. A fine studio album, “Thank You Mr. Churchill,” followed in 2010, and in 2014, he released the EP, “Hummingbird,” which features seven songs Frampton composed for the Cincinnati Ballet.
Material from throughout Frampton’s career figures to be part of his show for the Wine D’Vine event. Then it’s time for him to figure out his next move. One distinct possibility is some soundtrack work.
“Someone has asked me to play guitar as a soundtrack for a movie,” Frampton said. “It’s a small-budget movie and they’re working on it right now, and it should be something, what they want me to do is look at the movie and play the first thing that comes to my head. And I think that’s going to be, that’s how I roll. I’m a one-take, something new. I don’t repeat myself because I don’t remember what I played and don’t wish to remember what I played. I want it to come from inside. And the emotion that is created from the screen, what’s coming off of the screen, it’s going to be so phenomenal. I’m so excited about doing that.”
San Diego’s Walden Family Services Wine D’Vine gala will take place Oct. 13 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. For more information, visit waldenfamily.org/wine-dvine-2017.