Every once in a while, a book falls in your lap that makes you laugh, makes you cry, and leaves you feeling utterly inspired. Rarely is that book an autobiography, but it’s electrifying when it is. Do You Feel Like I Do?: A Memoir by Peter Frampton with Alan Light is an intriguing, yet supremely humble, assemblage of a life filled with moments of reflection, positivity, competition, sincerity, and a few bouts of self destruction.
Peter Frampton was, at his core, a musician. His passion and skill reached uncharted territories during his rise to stardom, but it was the peak of that success that diluted what he knew and loved. Although he does not dwell on the negative aspects of his career – or any of his life, for that matter – it is evident that having his genuine talent diminished amidst his media given pop idol status. That, among the various opportunistic managers he went through during the course of his career, took a toll on his outlook of being creative.
In Do You Feel Like I Do?, Frampton notes the likelihood of long term pop success and the journey that he was on before and after his mainstream explosion on the radio and charts. There is an exciting payoff to becoming a success, but also a draining one. Subconsciously or otherwise, the former Humble Pie member was competing with his own success – seemingly overnight success, at that. He had been around for some time, doing what he does best, prior to hitting it big, but he also made sure to pick up right where he left off the second his pop star career started to dwindle. Why? Because at his core, Peter Frampton was a musician, more for himself than anybody else.
When Frampton Comes Alive! suddenly burst onto the music scene, the guitar player went from trusted musician with immense skill to household name of rock fans and teen girls alike. (This record, as well as Peter Frampton himself, remains a memorable piece of pop culture as it has sold more than 17 million copies to date – eight the year it came out alone.) Teenage girls are headstrong and dedicated upon becoming enamored with an artist, but the media’s interpretation of this is one of physical affection (ie: ‘Movie star good looks’) rather than skill. Frampton’s intended audience and demographic shifted, which might have been a roadblock, but only momentarily, because his musical peers also in the spotlight took quite a liking to the pretty boy with more skill than any studio musician they had worked with.
It’s quite fun to read this cleverly written book and shift through the multiple collaborations and friendships Peter Frampton developed over the years. From Ringo Starr post-Beatles to David Bowie pre-Bowie, each artist floated in and out of Frampton’s life with a purpose. If he had any qualms with another musician, you wouldn’t know it. He writes about his time in the studio and on the stage with a casual tone and sense of accomplishment no matter the era in question or the people involved. Music was, and is, who Frampton is. Every speed bump along the way was momentary to a content, laid back, and pensive man like him.
The entire autobiography is comfortable to read, stylistically and personally. There is a conversational air to how Frampton writes, making you feel as though he’s telling these stories, from childhood to coronavirus, to you and only you. There is little room for bragging or judgement, as it doesn’t feel to be in his character to do such a thing. This is Peter Frampton’s life, as much of a rollercoaster as it was, and he’s going to tell it as it is. Choosing to write this as an autobiography put his story into his own hands, rather than someone else’s, of whom could manipulate his history and depict this down-to-earth rockstar as something he’s not.
Frampton speaks earnestly about his life growing up in middle class suburbia. There is no sugarcoated reminiscing about post-World War II life in the United Kingdom. He writes eloquently about his family history and journey to becoming an artist as a young teenager and quickly jumping from one on-the-rise band to another. From there, the artist chronicles life with his children, his autoimmune disease, his three marriages, new technology, bad habits, and internal demons. Little seemed to be off the table as Frampton gathered his memories, feelings, and perspectives for the writing of Do You Feel Like I Do?. Fans and critics alike are more than appreciative for being welcomed into his life history with open arms.
In the most gracious way possible, this musical icon comments on his upbringing, his success, his fortune, and his misfortunes. The jargon he utilizes is warm and decorous, as well as occasionally jocular. Peter Frampton comes across as your next door neighbor who you chat with over tea after you’ve found yourself locked out of your house during a snowstorm: inviting, transparent, and easygoing. And, of course, a musician through and through.