Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Peter Frampton reunited with lost guitar after 31 years

Three decades after it was presumed destroyed in a plane crash, Peter Frampton has been reunited with the Gibson guitar he played on “Frampton Comes Alive.”

The New York Times reports a November 1980 cargo plane crashed on takeoff in Caracas, Venezuela, on its way to Panama, where Frampton was to perform. The guitar was pulled from the ruins and later sold to a musician on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao.

The guitar was returned to Frampton in Nashville last month after a two-year negotiation involving the local musician who had the guitar, a customs agent who repairs guitars in his spare time, a diehard Frampton fan in the Netherlands and the head of the island’s tourist board.

“For 30 years, it didn’t exist – it went up in a puff of smoke as far as I was concerned,” Frampton said in a telephone interview.

Peter was originally given the guitar by a fan in 1970 when Humble Pie played the Fillmore in San Francisco. “I used it for both sets and my feet didn’t touch the ground,” he recalled, saying he thought, “This is the best guitar I have ever played.”

After the show he tried to buy the instrument, but the fan, Mark Mariana, insisted on giving it to him. It became his favorite guitar; he went on to play it on the Humble Pie albums “Rock On” and “Rocking The Fillmore,” and on all his solo records, and used it in sessions with George Harrison, Harry Nilsson and John Entwistle.

It was also the guitar he played on the 1976 solo album “Frampton Comes Alive!”, one of the best-selling live albums of all time. “It’s all I ever used for 10 years,” he said. “That was it. That was part of me.”

Frampton said he hopes to play the guitar again when he appears at the Beacon Theater in New York in February. For now, he has left the instrument at the Gibson Custom Shop in Nashville to have some minor repairs made. The neck is still straight, he said, but he must replace old pickups with new ones, made to the same specifications as the original coils.

Frampton will leave the burn marks and scrapes alone. “I want it to have its battle scars,” he said.

Check out the full story at the New York Times here.

Peter Frampton Peter Frampton

Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like We Do
The Midnight Special – aired December 19, 1975

See also:

Peter Frampton sues label over digital royalties
Peter Frampton talks Frampton Comes Alive 35 tour
Peter Frampton rocks KLOS’ Mark & Brian Xmas Show
Peter Frampton to tour ‘Frampton Comes Alive 35’ in 2011
Peter Frampton rocks The Midnight Special