Peter Frampton on His Rock Hall Induction: 'My Phone Hasn't Stopped Blowing Up' (2024)

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"My mind has been sort of a blur ever since I found out," says the guitarist, who is finally joining the institution after three decades of eligibility

After three decades of eligibility where he didn’t appear on a single ballot, Peter Frampton was starting to think he’d never be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But once voters finally had to chance to select him earlier this year, things changed very quickly. He learned the good news over the weekend when his manager phoned him up to say he made it. “I was absolutely blown away,” Frampton says. “My mind has been sort of a blur ever since I found out, especially since the announcement [on American Idol] last night. My phone hasn’t stopped blowing up since.”

The afternoon after the news broke, Frampton spoke with Rolling Stone about the Hall of Fame, his fellow inductees, what he’s planning for the big night, upcoming tour plans, his battle with inclusion body myositis, and his hope that Cher changes her mind and shows up on induction night.

What does this mean to you on a personal level?
It’s something I never expected. Because I was eligible so long ago, I kind of put it into the back of my mind. It’s like before I got my first Grammy for my instrumental record where I didn’t sing a note. I thought, “Oh, I’m over this. I’ll never win a Grammy.” And look what happened. I got a Grammy. It’s because I keep working. I’ve never given up. I’ve kept coming back and doing more stuff, and I’ve kept touring. I’ve re-built a following that is now enormous.

The thing that blew me away the most was not actually getting in — even though that is a phenomenal, unbelievable thing. It’s the amount of people who voted for me [in the fan vote]. You don’t quite understand where you’re at until you look at the amount of people who voted for you. Those are the people I need to thank the most. That was a real wonderful shock.

Do you think playing with Sheryl Crow last year helped you get in?
Sheryl was the first person I called when I found out. I thanked her. I think most people in the public assumed I was in. I was her first concert, so I’m told, when she was 13. For her to invite me when she got in, that put me in front of a lot of people. She said, “Look, this guy isn’t in yet.” She helped me immensely.

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I think part of the problem is that rock critics had a huge voice in the nominating process for a long time. You had such an insanely big record in the Seventies, and it attracted so many young fans, that you maybe turned off some critics.
Yeah. Sometimes you can be too big. Hootie & the Blowfish, same thing. You have this ginormous selling record, and it works against you. It becomes too much of a good thing. Framptom Comes Alive! turned into Rubik’s Cube very quickly. Look what happened to that. But I can open one of those very quickly now since I’ve learned the secret.

Had you attended an induction before last year?
I went when Metallica got in. It was a much smaller event in those days compared to last year’s. I’ve watched every one, all the inductees over the years, whether it be live or on film. I always thought, “Maybe… Who knows?”

It’s a cool class this year with Cher, Foreigner, Dave Matthews, Ozzy…
It’s very cool. I think because of the new team that’s running it, headed by John Sykes…having known a little bit and spoken with some of them, things were not that realistic before…there were a lot of missed opportunities before, and some artists that weren’t maybe ready to go in.

Knowing that things are going to happen now on a much more realistic basis bodes well for the people that already should be in there, and that I will be voting for since now apparently I get a vote for the next class. I think taking care of business is what they are doing, and they’re doing it very well so far. I’m very pleased, anyway. [Laughs]

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I loved seeing John Mayall’s name. He really deserves it.
Absolutely. There I was in the front row of the Flamingo Club in London watching him and Eric Clapton, and him and Peter Green. I would always go up there. He has always been a champion of so many incredible guitar players, as well as being this guy that never faltered, never went commercial, never did anything but the blues. I applaud him for that. He very much deserves to get in.

There’s also people that grumble about R&B and hip-hop artists getting inducted. To me, it makes perfect sense to bring in Mary J. Blige and A Tribe Called Quest.
Maybe it should be called the Music Hall of Fame as opposed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They’re king of stuck now. But I agree. Mary J. Blige is an unbelievable talent. They definitely both deserve to get in.

Shortly before she was placed on the ballot, Cher basted the Hall of Fame and said she wouldn’t go even if she got in. I’m hoping she changes her mind.
Oh, go on, Cher! We want you there. It’s okay. Look at how long I waited. I didn’t wait as long as you, but it’s okay. You’re in now. You’re in! Come on, Cher! [Laughs]

Do you have any thoughts on who might induct you or what songs you might play?
Not right now. I haven’t been told. The basic thing I need to be told is how long musically I have, and how long speech-wise I have. And then I can make those decisions. I obviously have people in mind, but I haven’t spoken to anybody yet.

It’s going to be in Cleveland, which is pretty cool since it’s a great rock town, and you have so many fans there.
Oh yeah. I’ve always loved Cleveland. I did my time in Cincinnati for a while. I lived there. They can’t take the Ohio out of me.

How do you think it’ll feel to stand at the podium, take the award, and finally give your speech?
Oh, my stomach turned over when you said that. [Laughs] I don’t know. I’ll prepare for that moment. With great gratitude, I’ll step up to that microphone and accept what I never thought would happen for me.

There tends to be a big all-star jam at the end of the night. I’d love to see you play with Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Matthews, Kool and the Gang, Foreigner. Maybe they can even throw in Cher and Mary J. Blige. It would be so much fun.
I’m in! Let’s go for that!

You just finished a tour a few weeks back. How did that go?
Fantastic. In fact, it looks like we’re going to do another two-week run sometime in the summer. I don’t have any info right now. It’s been incredible going back out after I quit. [Laughs] I think the crowds are so behind me since I don’t want to give up. I am a fighter. I’m going to be playing until that time comes when I can’t.

We all have our battles. We’re all fighting something. I’m just a person who is out there, doing the best he can, and brining awareness to IBM [inclusion body myositis], raising money where I can. We’ve got a lovely foundation at Johns Hopkins, the Peter Frampton Fund. People are still sending in money, which is wonderful. It’ll help us with clinical trials. Those are expensive. I’m raising money for them so we can find that magic bullet.

I’m very optimistic. I’m speaking with my doctors all the time, and hearing all the new stuff that’s coming along, and the new technologies the scientists are finding in the lab. It looks like something could be coming around the corner. We’re always hoping for that.

If your voice works and your hand works, why shouldn’t you be onstage?
Exactly. I really want to share my time between three things right now. I have a record to make. I’ve been writing for six years or more. I have material up the yin yang. But only a few classics. [Laughs] I’m waiting a little longer, another month or two, and then I’m going to go in the studio.

In June, I’m going to England to do some stuff for my documentary. We’re going to go back to where I was born, and where I went to school with David Bowie, and the house where my brother and I grew up. We were doing some interviews with people last week in Los Angeles for the doc. We now have full funding. It’s full steam ahead. Those three projects are what we’re working on this year.

I really hope Humble Pie makes it into the Hall of Fame one day too.
I just said that to one of the people at the Rock Hall. I wouldn’t have even been nominated had it not been for Humble Pie, which put me in a position to do my own solo career. I am a big proponent of getting Humble Pie in there too, as soon as possible.

I would love to see Soungarden get in too.
Oh my God. They’re not in?

No.
I just got a text back from Matt [Cameron], who is not only Soundgarden, but also Pearl Jam. They are dear friends. I did get to meet Chris [Cornell] and play “Black Hole Son” with him, which was a dream come true. I put him up there with Steve Marriott as two of the greatest rock singers ever in the history of music. I would love Soundgarden to be in there. I will definitely vote for them too.

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It’s great seeing Ozzy Osbourne get in solo this year. He deserves to be in twice.
I agree. The man is the Betty White of rock & roll. [Laughs]

It would be fun to see you play “Crazy Train” with him.
That would be fantastic. Let’s see what happens.

Peter Frampton on His Rock Hall Induction: 'My Phone Hasn't Stopped Blowing Up' (2024)
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