The rock guitarist Peter Frampton said on Saturday that he was planning to issue a double album this summer, his first release in three years. He hinted at another mysterious project in the works. And he said he was going to go on tour for about 50 dates across the country.
Yet Saturday’s most significant news was what Frampton, the British star best known for “Frampton Comes Alive!,” one of history’s best-selling live rock albums, revealed as the sobering motivation for his musical frenzy.
In two interviews released on Saturday, one with CBS News and one with Rolling Stone, Frampton, 68, said he had a degenerative muscle disease called inclusion body myositis, also known as I.B.M. The disease causes muscles to weaken over time but generally does not affect life expectancy.
His condition will not affect his singing voice, Frampton said, but it could slow his fingers and his ability to move around.
“In a year’s time, I might not be able to play,” Frampton told Rolling Stone, adding, “I want to record as much as I can in the shortest space of time.”
A publicist for Frampton said he could not be reached Saturday evening.
Frampton became the lead singer and guitarist for the Herd at 16, and two years later co-founded Humble Pie. His popularity in the United States skyrocketed after the 1976 release of “Frampton Comes Alive!,” a double album that has sold more than 17 million copies. It features songs like “Baby, I Love Your Way” and “Show Me the Way.”
Frampton did not always receive the critics’ praise, but he has played on albums by George Harrison and David Bowie, and in the 1970s he helped popularize the talk box, a device that creates the effect of a “talking” musical instrument. The Musicians Hall of Fame, which inducted Frampton in 2014, has called him “one of the most celebrated artists and guitarists in rock history.”
Frampton recounted to Rolling Stone a series of warning signs regarding his health: He noticed tightness in his ankles about eight years ago, and there were times his legs felt weak; four years ago, he fell while trying to kick a beach ball off a concert stage; shortly after, he tripped over a guitar cord onstage; and he could not easily put things in overhead compartments on airplanes.
Frampton told Rolling Stone that for four years, his children and his band knew about his diagnosis, but that he did not tell anybody else. He said that there was no traditional medicine to treat inclusion body myositis, but that he was exercising every day and hoped to participate in future drug trials.
He said he thought the time was right to reveal his condition to the public because his talents may soon ebb, hence the new album and the announcement of the tour, which he is calling the “Peter Frampton Finale — The Farewell Tour.” He said that he may tour in Europe in the spring of 2020, but that this summer’s tour will most likely be his last.
Frampton declined to elaborate much on his double album, and said he probably would not play “Frampton Comes Alive!” straight through on the coming tour.
Frampton told Rolling Stone that $1 from every ticket sale on the coming tour would go toward a fund he had started with Johns Hopkins University to research myositis.
“Maybe a huge door is closing in my life, but then there’s lots of other doors that open,” he said.
He told CBS that the condition had already affected his fingers but that he could still play guitar well.
“If I’m going to do a farewell tour, I want to play good,” Frampton said. “I want to rock it. I know that this tour, I will be able to do everything I did last year and the year before. That’s the most important thing to me. I want to go out screaming as opposed to, ‘He can’t play anymore.’”
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