Peter Frampton revealed that his childhood buddy David Bowie once carried him off a burning plane. Frampton, whose father was Bowie's high school art teacher — which led him as a teen to playing guitar with Bowie in the stairwells in school — says he's forever indebted to Bowie for taking him on the road in 1987 during his Glass Spiders tour.
He told Mojo that when his street cred was nearing its lowest ebb, Bowie shined a spotlight on him to showcase his talent: “That’s the gift that he gave me. I couldn’t redesign myself like Dave did every few years. He saw I’d gone from the credibility of a musician and a guitar player and had become this fallen pop idol. So what could he do for me? Take me around the world and re-introduce me as a musician in stadiums and arenas. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was a very conscious act on his part.”
Frampton, who just turned 70, recalled, “I remember on that tour, we had private planes, and on one particular flight, we were taxiing and smoke started coming out of (the vents). Dave stands up and goes, 'Smoke! Smoke!' So the pilot stops and the flight attendant pulls the back stairway down and we’re all gonna go down the chute. And I’m in my seat and Dave literally lifts me out of my seat and carries me down the chute. I’ll never forget that. He coulda run out, but he wanted to make sure I was OK. That was the kind of guy he was with me, and in general. He was a lovely man.”
David Bowie biographer Marc Spitz told us that Peter Frampton was able to shed new light on Bowie's teen years, having known Bowie since his childhood when Frampton's father served as Bowie's first creative mentor: “Owen Frampton was the art teacher at Bromley Tech where David Bowie went to high school — whatever the British equivalent of high school is. And Owen Frampton was the father of Peter Frampton who obviously went on to become one of the biggest rock stars of the '70s and then was brought on tour in '87 on the Glass Spider tour as the lead guitarist. So just to have that range of perspective from the late-'50s and early-'60s up until the late-'80s, was really valuable and a great interview. And Frampton was just the nicest guy. I'm sure people say that about him. That was one of the pivotal interviews for the book, where I knew stuff was coming together and I knew that it was probably going to work.”