Peter Frampton says Las Vegas has become a place to rock. That was not the case when he was a young rocker who performed in the city in the early 1970s.
“I played here around 1972, as I remember it, and Vegas was for the Rat Pack,” Frampton says, remembering a performance that year at Las Vegas Convention Center with the supergoup Humble Pie. “But looking back, they were not even as old as I am now. But that was what Las Vegas was back then; there were not many places for rock bands to play.”
Five years later, the band played the old Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts.
“That was the place, the only place, to play rock and roll on the Strip, what was to be classic rock.”
Baby boomers are driving the live music market: “That is my theory. They want to see and experience their music, and we are that. They drive the business, and they have the money to come see us. In a place like Las Vegas, you want to make some time for something you recognize, that has nostalgia, that you can experience with your spouse. Vegas is definitely a great spot for having fun, for tourists and for the artists.”
He is a big fan of “Love” at The Mirage: “I’ve seen it twice, and it just blows you away. It’s just wonderful. Hearing them talking between takes, the shadows of them walking across the stage, like they are in the theater with you. It’s a great experience.”
He’ll play three songs with Miller, his longtime friend: “I’ll go on first and come back out later to join him. We’ve known each other since 1970, we’ve played a lotta shows together – stadiums, arenas, clubs – and when he wanted to tour with someone, I said, ‘I’m your guy.’ ”
His latest single is about an old coot: “I had a bird, a big bird, hit my window and I found it on my patio. I researched it and it’s a coot, like crazy as a coot, or a mud hen. I wrote a song about it, called ‘I Saved a Bird Today,’ which is about that experience and also about peace and love and caring for each other.”
He doesn’t talk much about his role in the film “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Frampton played the role of Billy Shears in the 1978 adaptation of the iconic album, which co-starred the Bee Gees and featured Aerosmith, Earth Wind & Fire, Alice Cooper, Steve Martin and Billy Preston, among others. The film was almost uniformly trashed by critics upon its release.
As Frampton says, “Well, as my dear friend Ringo Starr once said, when I was with the All-Starr Band and being interviewed in the dressing room, ‘Oh, we don’t talk about that.’ So, we’ll move on (laughs).”