Every Picture Tells a Story: 2013 to 1976 and Back – Frampton Memories – By Chris Epting

The following is an excerpt from a book I wrote a few years ago called, “Hello, It’s Me – Dispatches from a Pop Culture Junkie.”  what ties it to this picture is kind of obvious. The shot was taken in August of 2013, after Peter Frampton’s Guitar Circus played the Greek Theater. On the left is longtime Frampton bassist Stanley Sheldon. He and I were very friendly back in the early to mid 1980s back in Westchester County, NY. We played tennis together and just hung out a lot talking music. Great guy and an amazing bass player who has been in some remarkable bands. Remember him on Frampton Comes Alive?

Anyway, this photo was a reunion for me and Stanley, who hadn’t seen each other since back then. But to have Peter in here, given the story below, made for sort of an ironic moment, given our “history” from the 70s.
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“Do You Feel?” (1976)

I had a crush on a girl in high school and she, like many other high school girls, was a Peter Frampton nut. This was in the midst of the Frampton Comes Alive! insanity, 1976–1977, when that double live record represented everything to everyone. For guys, it was the catchy riffs and snazzy solos on songs like “Something’s Happening,” “Doobie Wah” and “Do You Feel Like We Do?” (featuring that mysterious talk box). For girls, it was “Show Me the Way,” “Baby I Love Your Way” and Frampton’s shoulder-length curls, sparkly eyes and charming smile.

So when I heard that Frampton actually bought a house right down the road from us, I knew I had a pretty good in with this particular girl.

The house could not be seen from the street. It sat back in the woods, and I read in Time magazine that Frampton bought the estate because it reminded him of being in England. After determining which driveway was Frampton’s (through a friend’s mom, the realtor who brokered the deal), I casually invited “Kate” over to my house so that she and I could take a romantic stroll down Spring Valley Road, over to Glendale Road where we’d no doubt spend quality time getting to know each other before we stalked our first rock star. This polite, modest suburbanite showed up wearing more makeup than an 8th Avenue hooker and I realized she was preparing to meet him, painting herself the way a tribal woman might before being sacrificed to some God in a volcano.

As we waited outside the gates (looking back, it’s hard to say for what exactly), the only sign of life was a red sports car that screamed past us, waited for the electronic gate to open, and then sped up the hill. Kate soon grew bored of this and went home, less interested in me than in meeting Peter Frampton.

Several weeks later, I was in a mall jewelry store in the nearby town of Mt. Kisco. I wanted to buy Kate a pair of earrings to surprise her for her birthday (though she’d shown scant interest in me, I really liked her). At the counter, I notice a pretty blonde woman talking with the salesman. Next to her was a petite-sized man with sunglasses silently looking at jewelry. He spoke, and though he said, “Penny, what about these?” as opposed to, “Bob Mayo on the keyboards! Bob Mayo!” like after the solo in “Do You Feel Like We Do?” I knew it was Peter Frampton. So much for stalking—he was being handed to me! There was nobody else in the little store, and so I did the bold thing—asked him to sign an autograph for “Kate.” Penny (McCall, his then-girlfriend), gave me an odd look, but he could not have been more gracious; he was totally down-to-earth and pleasant. I briefly told him it’d be given with the earrings and he said, “Good luck, mate.”

As I left the store and looked back, I could still see the two of them in there. Dozens of teenagers walked by and nobody noticed the small man in tight jeans and T-shirt with sunglasses and long hair. Many of them had probably just gone to see him at Madison Square Garden weeks earlier with the rest of us.

Earrings and signature in hand, I made plans to present them to Kate. Days later, as I had her open her eyes (this was at a tennis club), she all but jumped out of her skin when she saw the autograph. The earrings, not so much. She also told me excitedly that she’d just started dating a guy who also loved Frampton, so I’d really made her day. So I was never really in the running. It was the Frampton, not the Epting. Good luck, mate!

PS—Months later I saw Kate. I asked if she had the new Frampton record (I’m in You) and she said she’d moved on. Seemed she’d seen him at the Gemini II nightclub hanging out one night, and asked him for a kiss. He told her, “Sorry, darling, but you don’t know where I’ve been.” “What a jerk!” she said. Yeah. What a jerk.

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