Pete Townshend Asked Peter Frampton to Replace Him in the Who
Peter Frampton recalled being “hell to live with” after Pete Townshend asked him to take his place in the Who. The incident took place at a point in the ‘80s when Frampton’s career was at a low ebb. But he still wasn’t convinced that taking Townshend’s place onstage alongside Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle was a good move.
“I get this call from England,” Frampton wrote in his memoir, Do You Feel Like I Do?, which will be published on Oct. 20 (excerpt via Rolling Stone).
“He said, ‘Yeah, so I’ve made this decision that I’m not going to tour with the Who anymore. I’ll still write the songs, but I want you to take my place.’ … I said, ‘Wait a second, Pete. Have you spoken to Roger or the others about this?’ And he said, ‘Not yet, I’m going down to talk to them tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Okay, why don’t you call me back when you’ve had a chat with them about this.’”
Frampton remembered telling his then-wife, “This doesn’t sound right. This is off. This doesn’t make sense at all.” Even though he considered the offer an “honor, to say the least,” he added, “I would love to have played with the Who, but only with Pete in the band, no way on my own.” But he also knew that he had “nothing going on” at the time.
“Three weeks goes by and my wife said, ‘For Christ’s sake, call him!’" he recalled. "Because I was total hell to live with at that point." When Frampton finally got Townshend on the phone, he received an apology for the original call. “I had to make him understand, Hey, you fucked me up for three weeks here. ... It’s not been a good three weeks for me. He apologized profusely, saying, ‘I’m so sorry, I should never have done that.’”
The pair met backstage at a Bruce Springsteen concert a few months later and very quickly “moved on” from the incident. “I love Pete dearly," Frampton said. "I have no idea what was going on in his life at that time. I don’t even know if he remembers calling me.”