"So yea, I got lines on my face now. But do you feel like I do?...."
I was on vacation for a few days this week, so I only had time to write two new columns instead of the promised three. But here’s something I wrote 10 years ago that I felt like sharing. So my OCD has been dealt with….
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It's 2012 and I'm old. I think it's ok now to admit that I've always thought Peter Frampton kicked ass. I used to stand in front of my mirror, tennis racket as a guitar, and sing along to "Lines On My Face". I was 17. At the time Frampton was toxic (6 million records sold, that hair, the Sgt Pepper movie, and his reluctance to wear a shirt during the 70s made people really mad)...so I had to be discreet. I've felt guilty ever since, so I'm coming clean now, offering this public apology. As penance I picked up a copy of his latest record from 2010, and it's pretty damn good. Not as good as "Lines on My Face" or "Do You Feel Like We Do", but the young punks could learn a thing or two from the bald guy.
Hey, he wrote some killer melodies. Had a pleasing voice. And could play a guitar like it stole something from him. He was cursed with youth and good looks, and after the aforementioned movie with the Bee Gees and being talked into posing for the cover of Rolling Stone bare chested....well, that was pretty much that. No longer was he a contemporary of David Bowie who had been playing in bands since he as 16 years old.....a prodigy who was the main reason Steve Marriot broke up the great Small Faces. Marriot wanted to play with Frampton. All that was gone. He was now a Bay City Roller without the tartan scarf. The dreaded teen idol. Even the Eagles got better press. You had to feel bad for the guy.
But still, that live record.
I was home alone....in the living room with the stereo blasting. I had just gotten together with my first serious girlfriend, which for a guy means my first girlfriend. She and her parents were going to take me out for pizza. Old Forge pizza. Going all out for their baby girl. They wanted to find out if all the stories they'd been hearing were true I suppose. Most of them were, but still it was nice to be fed and looked upon as a potential menace.
I was gonna win her over. And them. But I was pretty nervous. Loud music has always been good for my nerves. I was leaping around the living room to "Do You Feel Like We Do".....playing that voice-box solo note for note. When Frampton reaches the end of it....drawing out the word "weeelllll" as the band crashes back in, it's a singular headbanging moment that rivals anything any metal band ever threw down. There were lots of reasons I wanted to become a guitar player. This record (hell, this one moment) was one of them.
They'd be here any minute. I needed to wind down. I was pretty sure I was in love, and the feeling both thrilled and terrified me. Yea, I'd marry this girl and I'd feel like this every day. And then when we'd wrung all we could out of it, we'd lay down together like Romeo and Juliet and go out together. And in between I might even get laid. It was incredibly exciting.
So, "Lines on My Face". I knew all the words.
Ice in her eyes, frozen tears would never be a surprise
You can't erase a dream you can only wake me up
My mind is turning slower, never to accept defeat
It don't matter where I live I still got a house to heat
To a kid with zits on his face and a recovering bowl-haircut, this was heavy shit. Had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but I wanted to stand up on a stage and sing this too. With my girl gazing adorably at me from the wings. I didn't have a stage but the large mirror over the living room couch allowed me to practice in case one came along.
Then I saw them pull up outside. They didn't let her come to the door....not that I would have heard a knock or a doorbell anyway. As I said the music was a bit loud. Probably best that she didn't spy me pretending to be Peter Frampton anyway.
Funny thing about that night is that I don't remember a thing about the pizza or what we talked about or feeling awkward at the restaurant or anything like that. The girl didn't last nearly as long as I thought....but we both got over it pretty quickly. Kids are pretty resilient. What I remember was my time waiting for it all to happen, with Frampton Comes Alive as my soundtrack. A record I couldn't really plug for fear my friends would think I had female organs. At the time my best friend would wear one shirt every single day. A Ted Nugent tee with half sleeves. Even in the winter. He wouldn't wear a jacket over it for fear Ted would think he was soft. Imagine what Ted Nugent might do to the 5 foot nothing Peter Frampton? He might shoot and eat him.
Let me tell you girls, it wasn't that easy being a guy back then either.
But so much for all that. Those days are gone. For all I know the guys I used to hang around with back then are all listening to Neil Diamond on their Ipods while standing in line with their kids for "Hunger Game" tickets. Time does strange things to dudes who used to write the words to "Cat Scratch Fever" on their math notebooks.
So yea, I got lines on my face now. But do you feel like I do?
In a bit..