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Walden Comes Alive


Walden Comes Alive

Benefit features music legend Peter Frampton

Posted September 28, 2017

Listening to legendary guitarist Peter Frampton’s new single, “I Saved A Bird Today,” it’s easy to draw parallels between Frampton’s personal story of literally saving a bird after it flew into a window at his house and a broader view of humanity. After retelling his story to his longtime co-writer, Gordon Kennedy, they both saw it as symbolic of people’s need to care for each another. Performing the new song, featuring powerful lyrics like “To care for one another is the reason we are here,” Frampton says, “It’s amazing actually how when we do it live, the audiences applaud that line in the song. They don’t know the song, they’ve never heard it before, most people. And as we’ve been playing it live their reaction has been unbelievable because it I guess hits a nerve with everybody right now.”

It’s fitting, then, that the Grammy-winning artist will perform “I Saved A Bird Today” — along with classics spanning his 40-plus year career — this month at Wine D’Vine, a major annual fundraiser benefiting Walden Family Services, a San Diego-based nonprofit supporting birth, foster, and adoptive families and the community throughout Southern California. Much of the song can just as easily describe Frampton’s experience as Walden’s mission to advocate for foster youth: In both, the recipients of kindness are voiceless and navigating a sometimes dangerous or unknown path. Of being approached to headline the event, Frampton says, “I’m obviously a big fan of what they do for the caring of foster and LGBTQ youth, and the more I read, the more I love what they do, so it was a no-brainer, really.”

Walden Comes Alive
Peter Frampton

While on stage, he’s sure to get requests for the time-honored music that catapulted him to rock star status (and into music history) in the 1970s. He admits that his newer work is fresher for him and the band, but when asked if playing the older material ever gets old, Frampton says, “I don’t think so. Otherwise I’d be insensitive to the passion that people have for music in their life. I look out there when I start to play the older [songs], and I see people look at each other and you can just see their minds are exploding as to where they were [when they heard it]. I enjoy the reaction I get from the songs obviously, and seeing people enjoy them.”

Frampton’s guitar mastery and signature sound made him an integral part of the exploding rock music scene with the release of Frampton Comes Alive! in 1976 (coincidentally, the same year Walden Family Services was founded) so quickly that he remembers thinking to himself, “‘Put your seatbelt on tight,’ because it was some ride that I was just about to start taking.” The album went on to be eight times certified Platinum, and is still one of the best-selling live albums of all time. Though he didn’t fully realize just how defining the era was for music, he says now, “I’m glad I was part of it, and enjoyed just about every moment of it. It was a phenomenal period, meeting lots of great musicians, which I still do, obviously. It seems like it happened over a longer period of time, but it was all condensed. Lots of things happened really quickly in the ’60s and the ’70s.”

“‘To care for one another is the reason we are here.’ Frampton says [of the lyrics], ‘It’s amazing actually how when we do it live, the audiences applaud that line in the song’”

His talent and popularity led to numerous collaborations, but a few stand out as most notable to Frampton. Of childhood friend David Bowie, he says, “I’ve known David since I was 13, so obviously, we didn’t think of it as working together when we first started jamming together at school, but then actually recording with him and touring with him was phenomenal.” The music fan in Frampton really comes to light, though, when he mentions another collaboration, this time with George Harrison. “You can’t forget the fact that you’re sitting next to a Beatle when you’re playing,” he laughs. “Especially for me growing up with the Beatles — I was 12 when they first came out in England. So, to be sitting next to George and then becoming his friend, you know, was very — well, yeah, it’s hard not to be star-struck.”

As far as what he sees as his contribution to music, Frampton says, laughing, “That’s for somebody else to sum me up when I’m gone.” After a moment, he adds more seriously, “Guitar playing is my passion, always has been. That drove me to write songs that made me sing, that pushed me to do everything that I’ve done in my career, but if I was only allowed to do one thing, I’d say I’ll just play guitar then. If I’m known as an inventive guitar player, then I’ll be very happy about that.”

And play, he does. “I’ve got a setup in every room. There’s no way that I can’t sit down and play because they just look at you and say ‘play me.’”

Wine D’Vine takes place on October 13 at Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine. 619.727.5897, waldenfamily.org


Photo by Austin Lord



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