Peter Frampton Recalls What David Bowie Was Really Like

Having an incredibly prolific career, Peter Frampton still finds his work with David Bowie to be the highlight of his work, particularly as a major learning experience. Only a few years younger than Bowie, Frampton went to the same school with the legendary singer. Eventually, their paths would cross again when Frampton joined Bowie’s band, recording guitar on the 1987 record “Never Let Me Down” and continuing on for its subsequent tour.

Appearing on a recent edition of the “XS Noize” podcast, Peter reflected on what working with Bowie was really like. Asked if any of his numerous collaborations stand out as favorites or as learning experiences, he replied (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“Well, playing with David, obviously. We went to school together, so to finally be on the same stage at the same time — we’d been on the same stage the same evening, but not at the same time — and to actually play with David after all that time, being friends, that was probably one of the most special things that I’ve been asked to do by my buddy.”

Peter Frampton on his recent live at The Royal Albert Hall album and more

At that point, Frampton admits, he wasn’t even aware of how incredibly important working with Bowie was:

“And I think the special thing about that was — I didn’t quite realize the enormity of David Bowie saying, ‘He’s good’ by having me in the band.”

Discussing this further, Frampton even adds that Bowie kind of saved his reputation. This goes back to him being featured on the “Rave” magazine cover back in 1968, being named as “The Face of 1968.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for a blues-based guitar player, it kind of felt like selling out for a teenage magazine. He continued:

“As a guitar player, I kind of lost a little bit of my reputation as a guitar player due to ‘The Face [of 1968]’ [laughs], the front [of teenage magazine] covers, the screaming girls, and all that.”

David Bowie & Peter Frampton Search for Beer in Madrid | MTV News

“So what David did was give me this incredible gift of bringing me back and saying, ‘Look, yeah, forget all that. This is what he is. He’s a guitar player.’ And I thank him at least once a day. I miss him terribly, like we all do.”

Frampton concluded by saying:

“He was kind of like an older brother to me. So yeah, it was a very, very special thing he did.”

PETER FRAMPTON - Show Me The Way (1976 UK TV Performance) ~ HIGH QUALITY HQ ~

During the same interview, Frampton was also asked about what he would like to be his legacy in the music industry. He replied:

“I’d like to be remembered for the fact that I care about what I do so much. It’s not like I ever got into music for any other reason than because of the love of playing guitar. And I think the most important thing for me is that people realize how much I love music.”

“We all like music, I just completely love it… [Laughs] And love playing it.”

PETER FRAMPTON - FULL CONCERT@MGM Casino National Harbor Oxon Hill, MD 7/20/23

Getting more into the matter, he also reflected on his latest tour and the decision to perform sitting down. Frampton continued:

“On this recent summer, we went out for three little short trips. It was probably the best ever because the audience was all sitting down — because I have to sit down to play now, and my band sits down too — and what it did was it kind of brought the audience [together], and it was like they were watching us in the living room or something.”

“And they can tell, but they know; if they don’t know, they’ll say, ‘Well, why is he sitting down?’, then someone will tell them. [Laughs] So I think it meant a completely different feeling in the audience that I treasured. I’ve really felt like the audience was one big pair of arms, and they were saying, ‘We’re here, we know you’re fighting for this, and we care.’ And so I care about the audience a lot — they’ve been unbelievable to me, especially most recently.”

Peter Frampton - 6 22 23 - Cincinnati Ohio

In another recent podcast appearance, Frampton also discussed this decision, explaining why he believes it’s the way to go for his band and revealing that he got the idea from B.B. King:

“I know it sounds so strange. We all sit down because I have to sit — I could stand, but knowing me, I’d wobble and fall over during a solo or something. [Laughs] So I sit down. I’d sat in with B.B. King before we lost him.”

“He supported me — I can’t believe I’m saying that — on one of our tours before we lost him. I would go out at the end of every show, and he was sitting at the time, so I sat down with him.”

Peter Frampton, "Show Me the Way" - San Francisco - Aug. 15, 2023

“That’s where I got the idea from. The band stood up, but when we decided to do this — the summer tour, which was three, two-week periods, basically — I said to the band, ‘I think we should all sit down.'”

“I think it adds something, it makes the audience feel like they’re in the living room with you. It’s very interesting. But because everyone knows there’s a reason for me having to sit down, they’re also there knowing full well that things are getting more difficult for me.”

Photos: ceedub13 (Peter Frampton at the 2011 Ottawa Bluesfest), AVRO (David Bowie – TopPop 1974 10)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.