Peter Frampton has dived into his approach to improvisation when playing live, and how it draws influence from jazz artists such as Miles Davis rather than other rock guitarists.
Speaking to Guitar World, Frampton revealed his mindful approach to improvising parts: “I don’t really think about or even want to know what I’m going to play,” he said. “I blank my mind out and let it happen.”
He added that technical proficiency wasn’t his priority: “I’ve never been one that relied on or wished to be a shredder of speed, because the notes go by so quickly you don’t enjoy them. For me, it’s about the choice of notes.
“There’s no guitar on the Miles Davis records I listen to, but it doesn’t matter because I’m listening to his choice of notes. And he’ll play one note over seven chord changes, but it’s the right note. It’s so important to me – not how many notes I play but which ones. Some people have told me I never play the same thing twice and I always say, ‘I hope I never do!’ That’s what I want to achieve as a guitarist.”
“Every time I play a solo, even if I’ve been playing it for 20 years, I want a fresh canvas. I want to go somewhere I haven’t been before; otherwise, what’s the point? I guess I’m a jazzer at heart.“
His comments echo what he told Guitar.com back in 2020, when we talked to him about his views on the end of his live career. He said of what inspires him most about performing: “I like playing on the edge, always have. I never play the same thing twice – I’m always searching for something different, unique. That’s what makes it enjoyable for me.”
In 2019, Frampton announced a farewell tour for 2020 – however, this was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, he spoke about the possibility of the tour going ahead due to his inclusion body mitosis.
He told Grammy.com: “We’ve got two clocks right now, worldwide, that we live with. One is our life-clock and one is the COVID-19 clock. The COVID-19 clock is stopping everybody from being around each other, for good reason, right now, obviously. And the more we stay away from each other, unfortunately, at this time, the better it is.
“But I have a third clock, which is my IBM clock. Slowly but surely, unfortunately, I’m losing strength in my hands, my arms and my legs. It’s specific muscles it hits. It picks and chooses the muscles and there’s no rhyme or reason for it. They don’t know; there’s no cure. If it takes another year before we can reschedule any dates, I will have to be realistic to see if my hands work or my legs will keep me up.”