Peter Frampton Recalls David Bowie’s Biggest Gift

Peter Frampton recently opened up about the role David Bowie played in rejuvenating his musical career during an interview with the Vintage Rock Pod.

In the 1980s, despite releasing several albums, Frampton’s commercial success was modest at best. However, a turning point arrived in 1987 when Bowie extended an invitation to Frampton:

“We went out to dinner a couple of times while we were sessioning, and he said, ‘Look, I’m doing this big tour; how would you feel about being one of my guitarists?’ and I said, ‘Let me think about that — Yes!’ I mean, I’ve waited since I was 13 to play on the same stage at the same time as Dave, so it was such a thrill. And, of course, my career was, shall we say, not doing well at the time or before he talked to me. I was just starting to record and tour again after a hiatus, after a massive period.”

Revealing why he considers Bowie’s offer as the biggest gift anyone gave him, Frampton said:

“I was just super excited to be playing with David on the same stage in his band, and then I didn’t realize what he was actually doing. I mean, he could have had any guitar player in the world as we know; they would all be ‘clamoring’ to be there, and that was the last thing I ever thought that he would ask me.

But it gave my career a kick up the pants, or as we would say, kick up the backside. I couldn’t believe the difference; afterward, it was like he put me back on the map, and I always say it was the biggest gift he ever gave me, or anyone has given me, to be honest.”

Bowie and Frampton shared a connection from their youth. Both were pupils at Bromley Technical School, where Frampton’s father taught art to Bowie. As adolescents, they would often spend their lunch breaks together, jamming to Buddy Holly songs. This early friendship set the stage for their future collaborations, with Frampton’s band, the Little Ravens, and Bowie’s band, George and the Dragons, often performing at the same school events.

Joining Bowie on his ‘Never Let Me Down’ album and the subsequent Glass Spider Tour played a role in reviving his career, but Frampton faced various ups and downs following this collaboration. He announced his retirement from touring in 2019, citing health reasons, namely a diagnosis of inclusion body myositis (IBM), a progressive muscle disorder. Despite the setback, the musician launched the ‘Peter Frampton Finale — The Farewell Tour.’

By 2023, even with his health challenges, Frampton hit the road again with the ‘Never Say Never’ tour, expressing surprise at his own ability to continue playing despite the physical limitations.

You can watch the interview below.