Monday, April 11, 2005

Chasing Peter Frampton

I have difficulty remembering a lot of things. Passwords for web sites (especially for the 9 million employment web sites I currently have my resume on), birthdays, anniversaries, due dates for bills - but one thing I never forget is the first 45 (That's a record, kids!) I ever owned.

It was given to me by my aunt when I was 3 years old. It was Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World". Apparently, the opening riff prompted me to spin around the room like a whirling dervish for the duration of the tune, looking down and marveling at the undulation of the red and black shag carpeting in our living room, which also housed our Magnavox Hi-Fi - a monstrosity that was disproportionately large to hold a radio and turntable. Little did my aunt know that she had put me on a path I remain on to this day - an obsession with music. For some reason, my aunt started bequeathing her records to me when I was about 8. The spines of all of the records were shredded beyond recognition by her cat, Rags, but the vinyl was still unscathed. I was probably the only 8-year-old Fleetwood Mac fan (this is where my obsession with Stevie Nicks began - I gazed at the covers of "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumors" and thought she was a beautiful fairy princess.)

Despite Ms. Nicks diaphanous beauty, my one, true, love was Peter Frampton. My aunt gave me the LP of "Frampton Comes Alive" and my life changed forever. I would open the gatefold sleeve and savor his blond locks and infectious smile. I played "Penny for Your Thoughts" incessantly (it was disappointing to find out that he wrote it for his then girlfriend, who ended up cheating on him. Whore.) As I got older, I only grew more enamored with Peter. I remember coming across an issue of Tiger Beat that had a picture of him with his birth date...April 22...THE SAME AS MINE! I felt an instant psychic connection to Peter - I cut the picture out, laminated it and stuck it in a keychain I carried with me everywhere (even though I did not possess one key.) When we first got cable TV, they had a channel that only showed G and PG films, and they ran "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" 43 times in a month. I was proud to admit that I had seen it all 43 times. (I don't even know how many times I've seen it since. Even on my 21st birthday, when my purse was stolen, I watched it and drank beer with one of my theater friends, who suffered through because he knew it would put me in a better mood.)

As you can see, I was certifiable. Of course, when he was in his heyday, I wasn't allowed to go to concerts. I so wanted Frampton to be my "first" (a distinction that went to Rick Springfield), but my parents didn't want their 10 year old at a rock concert. "Annie" - yes, Frampton - no. So I waited. And waited. And waited even longer. Finally, in 1993, he returned! I was working at a record store when his album came out, and I used to try to play it constantly during my shift (my co-workers always knew I was there the minute they walked in the door.) His tour stopped in Orlando, at Pleasure Island - Disney's idea of bars and such. I was married to my first husband at the time and he refused to go with me (one of the plethora of reasons he is my "ex"!) I was not going to miss seeing my hero, so I trucked on out to Disney by myself (Frampton has always been a "hard sell" to my friends.) I managed to befriend a couple while I was at the show, and, afterwards, we went in search of the man. We could only track down his drummer, which was enough for me, besides, I finally saw Frampton live.

I saw Frampton 4 more times after that (once at a big music fest, I was drinking all day, but sobered up the minute the announcer bellowed "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN...PETER FRAMPTON!" Another time was a bad blind date and once where he almost signed one of my "Sgt. Pepper" trading cards...yes, I actually have the whole set.) And now, I am happy to report that I just saw Peter for the sixth time, just this past weekend.

Fortunately, my husband now understands my obsession and accompanied me to the show. It was at an outdoor festival, and there was lots of fried goodies, Italian sausage sandwiches, beer, and all of the other gourmet delicacies you can find at your local fair. We stuck into BBQ pork sandwiches, sweet potato curly fries, and beer before the big show. There was a very eclectic crowd at this show - cocky college kids, hippies, yuppies, kids, rednecks...and us. Lots of receding hairlines, beer guts, bad dye jobs, tattoos, missing teeth and a variety of rock and roll shirts (some Frampton, some Motley Crue, and one Jackyl?) We were sitting in the reserved section, as I wanted to get as close as I could. In front of us were some of the aforementioned rednecks, who were full of Anheuser Busch goodness by the time we sat down. Over to our left was a group of misplaced frat boys, one of whom looked vaguely like Ashton Kutcher (although he had a Tim Couch football t-shirt on, which led me to call him "Ashton Couch-er".) They were taking great delight in being the only ones standing up, and pissing off the yuppie-looking ladies behind them. But, our rednecks were far more interesting. The leader of the gang had his wife beater tank off and looped through his belt loop. He smoked 2 packs of cigarettes in 2 hours and drank like a fish. He disappeared for a lengthy amount of time and came back, mysteriously, soaking wet. When he wasn't off for more beer, he was singing along with Peter. Of course, his hop-fueled brain was a little off, so he was pretty much soloing. "OOOOOOhhhh, baaaaby I loooove your waaaaay." Same with his (impressive for a drunk) air guitar skills. One of the other boys in this lot was a big boy, and his secondary responsibility (besides making alternate beer runs) was to eat every nasty fried thing available, including a massive funnel cake and a deep fried Twinkie.

So how was the show? Awesome, as usual. FRAMPTON RULES!

P.S. Thanks to You Tube, feel free to enjoy "Penny for Your Thoughts"!

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