Peter Frampton Tells All: Life-Changing Diagnosis, New Album, Harrison, Bowie and Humble Pie

Peter Frampton performs in 1976 (Image credit: Chris Walter/Wireimage/Getty Images)

It was nine years ago when Peter Frampton first had the feeling that something wasn’t quite right. During a routine hike with his son in Big Sur in central California, his ankles felt tight. “I thought, ‘This is more difficult than it usually is,’” he says. “Every time we came to a hill, I was struggling.” But the guitarist, then in his late fifties, put it out of his mind. “I just chalked it up to getting older.”

As time went by, Frampton started to notice other gradual changes. He started having problems with his arms; it was as if his muscle responses were slowing down. Something as easy as putting a bag in an overhead compartment on a plane required more effort than usual. He considered seeing a doctor, but again thought, “It’s just age. It happens to all of us.” Four years ago, while performing at an outdoor amphitheater, he went to kick a beach ball that an audience member had tossed on stage — and fell backward. “It was embarrassing, but we all had a laugh about it,” he recalls. “It was like that TV commercial: ‘Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!’”

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Joe Bosso

Joe is a freelance journalist who has, over the past few decades, interviewed hundreds of guitarists for Guitar World, Guitar Player, MusicRadar and Classic Rock. He is also a former editor of Guitar World, contributing writer for Guitar Aficionado and VP of A&R for Island Records. He’s an enthusiastic guitarist, but he’s nowhere near the likes of the people he interviews. Surprisingly, his skills are more suited to the drums. If you need a drummer for your Beatles tribute band, look him up.