Peter Frampton talks Steve Miller, Gregg Allman and taking photos at his concerts

Peter Frampton performs onstage at the 2017 CMT Music awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT)

No matter how many hotshot guitarists claim a spot in music history, there will only be one Peter Frampton.

For 40-plus years, from “Frampton Comes Alive!” to “Premonition” to “Fingerprints,” the British ax-master is without peer.

Nearly every summer, the tireless musician, 67, hops on the road, either on headlining theater gigs — as he did last summer at Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre — or with another classic rocker or two (recent years have linked him with Gregg Allman, Cheap Trick and Lynyrd Skynyrd).

As of mid-June, Frampton has been hitting the sheds with the Steve Miller Band. The double bill comes to Verizon Amphitheatre on Sunday.

Frampton at Cobb Energy Centre in August 2016. Photo: Melissa Ruggieri/AJC

A few weeks before the tour kickoff, a gregarious Frampton called from his Nashville home for a joint interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Kaedy Kiely, afternoon drive host at The River (97.1 FM). (Frampton’s Sunday concert with Miller is part of the radio station’s annual birthday event.)

To hear more of Frampton, including the story behind his new song, “I Saved a Bird Today,” and about his advocacy efforts with the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and fellow songwriters, listen at www.971theriver.com.

On touring with old friend Steve Miller:

“Steve and I have known each other for years, and in the past, we’ve done a lot of touring together, but not much together in the last few years. We did a couple of shows a couple of years ago, and we both said, ‘We’ve got to do a whole tour,’ so here it is! Last time, he invited me to play during his show, and we’re going to do the same thing again — I’m going to join him on three (songs).”

On Miller as a musician:

“Steve, he’s a phenomenal player. He’s a tremendous blues player, but if you listen to a lot of his records, it’s all types of music — jazz, blues, rock. I’ve always rated him very highly; he’s right up there with the best.”

On his longtime friendship with David Bowie:

“I do a dedication to Bowie onstage during the acoustic shows, explaining that I knew David as a musician before we went to the same school (Bromley Technical High School in London). My father was his art teacher for four years in that school, so we hit it off over music and would hang out at school and we’d known each other ever since. He went his way and I went mine and we’d meet up at various gigs along the way, never playing together. It wasn’t until much later that we would hang out and stay in touch over the years, but it wasn’t until the ‘Glass Spider’ tour and the ‘Never Let Me Down’ record that I got to play with David in the studio and live, and that was a wonderful gift he gave me.”

Peter Frampton will perform with the Steve Miller Band at Verizon Amphitheatre on July 16 for “The Rockin’ Birthday Bash” of The River 97.1. Contributed by Austin Lord.

On Allman, with whom Frampton toured in 2016:

“The man couldn’t have any more soul … I don’t know where he stuffs it. He’s so soulful, and so talented a writer, singer and player. I’ve had the honor of sitting in with the Allmans before they hung their hats up as a band and always been a huge fan. Doing the tour with Gregg last year, he’s a gentle man; he’s a very nice human being. We sort of hit it off.” (Frampton made his comments shortly before Allman died on May 27.)

On dealing with the distractions of phones during his concerts (Frampton gives fans the first few songs to take photos or videos — the same as media photographers — and then politely asks that they put away the technology and pay attention to the concert):

“It works in the smaller theaters when we’re doing the acoustic tour. If it’s a big amphitheater, it’s difficult unless everybody is on board. Dave Chappelle has been doing this thing with Yondr pouches, I’m still thinking about that … I’m not sure how that’s going to go down with many people and I’m not sure you can go that far to be that demonstrative with what people do with their phones. It’s annoying, though. It’s very distracting, and people don’t get the full picture. It’s this little, tiny picture they’re looking at and they put it on YouTube, and I wonder how many times they look at it. We’re in super HD on stage! Live in front of you! Watch the real thing! I think Yondr is a tremendous idea. If people really experienced a concert like they used to once or twice, I think they’d go, ‘Wow, this is so much better than worrying about texting someone or the picture I just took of this guy. I missed what he just did (on stage). What did he do?’ I do ask people, strongly, to turn off the flash. Every time they video, it stays on the entire song, and that’s like looking into a ‘Star Wars’ bar or something!”

On plans after this tour wraps in August:

“I’m going to take some time to do some more writing and work on some more recorded music. I don’t know what it’s going to be yet, but probably more instrumentals involved in this one. It’s a while since we did (2006 Grammy-winning instrumental album) ‘Fingerprints’ and that did me proud. I might be going in that direction, but I haven’t made my mind up.”


CONCERT PREVIEW

Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton

7 p.m. Sunday. $39-$115. Verizon Amphitheatre at Encore Park, 2200 Encore Parkway, Alpharetta. 1-800-745-3000, http://www.ticketmaster.com.

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