Whenever this would get played on classic radio stations, I always assumed that part of the reason was that the DJ had to use the bathroom.
My wife and I spent a goodly portion of the past weekend watching the Midnight Special compilations on Youtube. Lots of good stuff out there. What’s weird is she saw a lot of the show when it originally aired, but I never knew it existed.
To see a human being at the height of, in this case, his creative powers, like Frampton was at that particular moment in time, is just plain awe inspiring. And amazingly hot.
Talking guitars – human as resonant chamber and formant processor. Always liked that trick. All it takes is a small, LOUD, speaker with a cover over it so it’s driving its output into a hose. Route the hose up next to the microphone so it blasts the soundwaves into the “singer’s” mouth. Play and lip-synch, have fun, and try not to think about how silly it is.
Much cheaper than a spectrum follower, which is the high-tech way to apply formants to another sound source.
Dunno. The late Gary Moore used to do guitar face better…
(Not by any stretch the best quality video, but roughly the same vintage, and, I think, it gets across enough of Gary’s grimacing.)
I did see Frampton live in Montreal on the tour he used for the Comes Alive album, as the lead-in act for the last version of Mahavishnu Orchestra. Come to think of it, John McLaughlin gives pretty good guitar face too, so we had good examples that night. <wry grin>
So many 53 year old brains have a chunk devoted only to the perception of this one song. Those neurons are useless for anything else, but they partly overlap treehouse neurons.
Did he say ‘I want to fuck you’ with the voicebox around 6:30?
This is pretty limp compared to the live album version, which was in front of an audience of fans. You can tell that he was trying to get the lox of a crowd excited and into it.
Sounded like “I want to thank you.”
A Zeppelin tribute then.
I saw his white pants from that era at the Grammy Museum in L.A. Christ, that guy was petite!
I’m pretty damn sure guitar heroes will be the height of cool again one day; the knee-jerk against em was fundamentally baseless; mere fatigue at too many wannabes.
I’m surprised Frampton’s talkbox wasn’t more of a thing. I’d love to hear what say, Kirk Hammet would do with one.
Also sounded, and looked, like he was very aware that some people were going to mishear it and he was enjoying pulling a few chains.
Talkboxes were all over pop music for a brief period. Then, like any other effect, they burned out and became actively uncool for a while. Now, they’re a somewhat-retro sound used for deliberate effect when appropriate. Just about every new instrument goes through that cycle; it’s basically the musical version of The Hype Curve, which see.
Agreed. He still smiles like that when he performs, which is absolutely wonderful (and life-affirming) to see (for me at least).
A surprising part of this video is that, as I understand, no one in the audience has a clue who they are. “Frampton Comes Alive” was a recording of basically their first time headlining a real show; this performance is before the album was released.
And yet, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Peter, if you’re listening, please tell us what the deal is with this fantastic performance?
Thanks for posting, David!
Heard an interview with Joe Walsh one time, where Joe claimed to have turned Frampton on to the talk box. The story goes that Frampton went wild for it after hearing Walsh use it and wanted to know how it worked. I remember Joe saying in the interview: “…and the kid never even thanked me!”
It’s rather sobering to consider that a whole two-record set that was the biggest selling album of all time at that point can basically be boiled down to this one song. Even back in the day, I’d skip my 8-track to this one and a couple of others and then eject. Frampton was a weird convergence of mediocre talent at its artistic peak, plus a technical gimmick. Anybody who bought the album fell for the hype, hook line and sinker.
A few years ago I went to a multi-act concert where a bunch of bands played short sets (and collaborated in various configurations). Frampton was there and ended up doing this song, talkbox and all, with Guster (of all bands) as his backing band. Everyone on stage seriously looked like they were having a blast.
I’ve seen a lot of older acts over the years, and way too many of them just go through the motions so they can cash a check. But Frampton seems to still find joy in performing this same silly gimmick decades after you’d think the novelty would have run out. And I think that’s just wonderful.
Well, waddya know, here’s the very end of that very performance (I forgot that Martin Sexton was involved, too):