Peter Frampton has had over 40 years too look back at how his late-'70s career quickly fell apart. The victim of bad career advice, the guitarist was the biggest solo star of 1976, but with the rushed followup of to Frampton Comes Alive!, coupled with his participation in 1978's disastrous Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band film — his career simply sailed away from him for a good decade.
Frampton gave a new, revealing interview to Mojo and took time to name and number his post-live album mistakes, recalling, “As much as I loved Herb (Alpert) and Jerry (Moss) and A&M Records — and that was the best label to be on, the nicest people, and they stuck with their artists — but after Comes Alive! hit, everyone had their own agenda. A&M’s new publishing building, they called it 'The Frampton Building' to my face. And A&M started profit sharing at that point. That’s why (1977's) I’m In You was released way too early. I really believe that. It had taken me six years to come up with the material that was on Comes Alive!. Now they wanted another album in six months. In hindsight I could’ve waited two, three, even four years. Because you’re only as good as your last record.”
Frampton remembers knowing that I'm In You was nowhere near as strong as it needed to be to follow the biggest selling live album of all time: “When I finished I’m In You, I came into the (A&M) offices and threw the two tape boxes on the sofa and said, 'That’s it. I don’t like it, but there it is.' I was not happy with it. That said, it still sold over three million. But if it had sold only one copy less than Comes Alive!, it would still have been a failure. There was nowhere to go but down.”
Peter Frampton was forced to quit the road upon discovering he's suffering from a degenerative muscle disease called Inclusion-Body Myositus (IBM), that slowly weakens the body's muscles. His recently cancelled European tour was to be mark his final tour dates. Despite that, Frampton seems busier than ever: “I’ve been writing a book that comes out this fall. I’ve started a film company; we’re doing our own documentary.”
Frampton's former label chief, A&M Records co-founder Jerry Moss, remembered the post-Comes Alive! period as the beginning of Frampton spreading himself too thin, beginning to wear out his welcome with fans, and ultimately heading for a career meltdown: “I think the year pretty much exhausted Peter. I think he worked so hard and did so many things; y'know, he wanted to remember the disc jockeys, he wanted to remember the press. Y'know, it's a lot of emotion when you put on shows in front of 200,000 people, and he never took any time off — and I think it took it's toll and he got pretty exhausted. And so, I don't know if I could've said anything or done anything, but this was the way it was. People were hungry for him and he answered their call.”
Peter Frampton recalled to us that the long shadow of the Sgt. Pepper movie has at times shown itself in some comedic situations. “Well, I was with Ringo (Starr) — 'cause I've know them, except for John (Lennon) — I never met John — but I've known them all since the very early-'70s and Ringo got me to do a couple of tours of duty with All Starr Band, which was phenomenal. So, I got interviewed and Ringo was in the room (laughs) and so, the journalist said, 'How do you feel about your version of Sgt. Pepper's and the movie?' And I didn't say a word, and Ringo just said (imitates Ringo) 'Oh, we don't talk about that.' (Laughs) And I thought — 'Thank you! (laughs)”