“I’m a fighter and I’m not giving up”: Peter Frampton on why he keeps performing despite suffering with a degenerative disease

“Every note I play now is so much more important to me because I know one of the notes I play will be the last I play within my lifetime.”


Image: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

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In case you haven’t realised, saying goodbye to touring isn’t exactly guitar legend Peter Frampton’s strong suit.

In a new interview, Frampton shares why despite being diagnosed with inclusion body myositis (IBM) – a progressive muscle disease that leads to muscle weakness and wasting, he isn’t hanging up his guitar for good just yet.

In 2019, Frampton announced a farewell tour and subsequent retirement after revealing his IBM diagnosis. The tour was eventually completed in 2022 due to Covid-related delays. The guitarist then surprised fans last year with a new Never EVER Say Never Tour, for which he recently completed the spring leg of.

Speaking to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Frampton, who now uses a cane and performs seated, explains why he isn’t calling it quits just yet and shares how the disease has transformed his relationship with the guitar.

“Every note I play now is so much more important to me because I know one of the notes I play will be the last I play within my lifetime,” says the musician, who’s recently been nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s class of 2024.

“But what I have to do now is create new ways (to play) because I’m a fighter and I’m not giving up. I have weakness in my fingers, yes, but I have created different paths to get to the end point of what I want to play.”

“And I am inspired by all the musicians I’ve read about that don’t have full use of their left hand on the guitar, or any instrument, and how they have altered their way of playing and fingering and stuff like that.”

Explaining that he ‘savours every note now’, Frampton says that “For the things I think of that I can’t play, I quickly work out what I can do at that point, and it’s different and I like it. So, there’s an upside and I’m always looking for an upside.”

“I think: ‘Wow, I wouldn’t have played it that way (before).’ And if the end result I want is not there, it’s very sad. But right now, I’m basically having the time of my life. I can’t believe the audiences and I can’t believe where I am at in my career at this point. I never thought I’d be back playing at this level. So, every day is a great day for me.”

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