We at Sweet Relief were heartbroken at the news of #SweetSupporter Peter Frampton’s diagnosis of inclusion body myositis, also known as I.B.M. Not only has his willingness to support us been incredibly meaningful, each of us also has a fond memory or two attached to his music in one way or another. Aric Steinberg, Sweet Relief’s EVP of Artist Relations, has one particular memory that stands out any time he hears the wailing of Peters guitar. See below for the trip down memory lane, written by Aric-
“I met Peter in Los Angeles in August of 2012, 3 days after my 41st birthday. I brought him a Sunburst Telecaster to sign for a Sweet Relief auction, which would be the first of many guitars Peter would sign for the charity. During the drive up, Rob Max (Sweet Relief Executive Director and one of my closest friends) and I were determined to gain as much insight as possible into the man we were about to meet, so we listened to the “Here’s the Thing with Alec Baldwin” podcast with Peter as the guest. We certainly learned plenty about Peter; his beginnings as a prodigy in Kent, his proclivity for tech, sound, engineering and the formation of the talk box, and how he dealt with massive fame at such a young age. But what I remember most about that drive is the breaks we took during the podcast to listen to Peter’s music. We bobbed our heads to the hits, Rob sang along with Baby I Love Your Way and we marveled at the guitar wizardry coming through the speakers. I joined Rob for the choruses and my air guitar was vigorously played. I was two years into my tenure at Sweet Relief Musicians Fund and I had met many famous musicians already, but I was excited in a peculiar way about the prospect of meeting Peter. His personal story was so extensive, so rich with characters and twists and marvels of achievement, it had an excitement and a gravitas that piqued my curiosity and made me more than a little nervous. We were on our way to meet the man who brought Frampton Comes Alive into the world, we were going to shake the hand that ripped the notes to Do You Feel Like We Do on that famous Les Paul. Peter did not disappoint.
He was waiting for us in an office with a round conference table and little else, but the room felt charged with positive energy. He stood up, walked around the table and greeted Rob and me warmly, with handshakes and a smile that crinkled his intelligent blue eyes. When I meet an artist for a guitar signing, I typically take a few minutes to explain who we are and what we do as a charity, but Peter knew all about Sweet Relief and he commended us right away for our efforts on behalf of musicians. He was impressed by our mission, he told us that he felt honored to be asked and was happy to help. He invited us to sit down and we chit-chatted for a bit; we spoke about his vegetarian diet and his life in Nashville, and I remember feeling quite at home shooting the sh*t with Mr. Peter Frampton. He had a remarkably grounded, humble (yep, I said it) way about him that was absolutely genuine and, well, normal. He seemed like a guy we could have lunch with, never run out of things to talk about, and have a little argument over the check that he would end up paying. After about 15 minutes of conversation, Peter hadn’t even glanced at the guitar yet. We finally brought it to his attention, he signed it with a black Sharpie, we took a few pics with him, and it was over. I felt like saying, “Thanks again Peter, I’ll give you a call tomorrow and we’ll grab some coffee and a movie.”
I’ve reached out to Peter’s manager many times since, and Peter has always said yes. Five guitars and thousands of dollars later, Peter is one of our most generous and consistent supporters.
The news of his recent diagnosis of inclusion-body myositis (IBM), which has slowly degenerated his muscles and may render him unable to play guitar, has been a blow to all of us here at Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. Rob Max passed away almost exactly 4 years after that meeting, and I cherish the memory of that car ride with Peter blasting from the speakers and into our hearts. Peter is very much in my heart as I write this, and I look forward to following his progress as he begins a final tour this year. Thank you for the generous support you give to Sweet Relief, thank you for over 50 years of extraordinary music, thank you for the enduring memories Peter, and keep them coming.”