Last year it occurred to me that my universe might be converging with a rather famous person. See, there is almost no facial difference between my delightfully senior mug and that of a certain rock star named Peter Frampton.
You may recall the career of Frampton. His big rise to fame came during the 1970s with an album called Frampton Comes Alive. It was so popular on college campuses at that time one it was almost a requirement for graduation that you be able to recite the lyrics from one of its biggest hits, “Show me the way.”
Now, my rock career never went very far. In fact, it pretty much ended with a performance at a Key Club banquet in the spring of 1975. That’s when a friend of mine and I had the insane idea to play our guitars and sing in front of our peers at the annual awards event. Somewhere in the middle of playing Stairway To Heaven my friend Orland grew frustrated either with me or his own playing and launched into a massive solo bearing no real relationship to the music we had agreed to play.
I lost concentration when he went off his rocker. My voice went faint, a reflection of the already fearsome lack of confidence I had in my singing voice to begin with.
The entire disaster wound down with some dissolving chords and a clank of the microphone at the end as I sat the thing down and left the stage. One of the pretty girls that had appeared on our Key Club calender stopped me after to the banquet to compliment my singing. But I know she was just trying to be nice. It helps people to commiserate when they’ve born witness to such public pain.
My music career only started up again thirty years later with an invitation to play guitar in a church praise band. Eventually I even wound up near a microphone with the responsibility to sing. I chose a song that fit within my range and after it was said and done, a spouse of one of the regular singers told me, “You should sing more often. You did great.”
And I replied, “Thank you. But I know my limits.” I only wish that I had said, “Yeah, but I’m no Peter Frampton.”
So I was certainly no Peter Frampton back in the 70s, nor would I ever be anything close to the musical talent of a Peter Frampton at any point in my life. Yet the fact that our looks have converged at this relatively late stage in life remains amusing to me.
I did sport relatively long hair in the 1970s, but nothing like Frampton’s. His hair was long, blonde, and feathery. That’s the stuff girls dream about running their fingers through as he croons to them.
My hair was thick and tinged with blonde only in the high summer months. Otherwise it was dark and thick. Over time, some girls ran their fingers through my hair as well. But you can see that turned out to be limited engagement.
We can rightly imagine that Frampton in his rock prime must have gotten laid quite a few times. That’s what rock gods do. Yet in his interview with Howard Stern he admits that all he ever really wanted to do was play guitar. He related that he had his fair share of time with the ladies, but in his own words, “I didn’t want to be a homewrecker.”
Keeping it real
I had a chance to be a homewrecker with a sweet little red-headed runner that I met in my early 20s. She was bored in her marriage and making it obvious during our runs together that she was looking for excitement. We kissed one night but in the moment, I thought better of it. I couldn’t stop thinking about that guy at home, how jealous and hurt he’d be if he learned his wife was messing around. Granted, she made him out to be a heartless jerk, but that was not my call to make. I cut that relationship off at the bud.
The closest I came to actual rock star adoration was a period of groupie-like attention from a high school cheerleader that made it her goal to have sex with the top runner on the team each season. That was me as a junior in high school, so we flirted about and had our share of trysts. She acted a bit like the Annie Savoy character played by Susan Sarandon in the movie Bull Durham, a seductress looking to pop the cherry of the lead athlete on the team each year.
Trouble was, at the naive age of seventeen, I was just as stupid about sex as the phenom pitcher Nuke Laloosh in Bull Durham. And much like the overeager Nuke, I fumbled through our dates before that cheerleader went off to find a Kevin Costner type to paint her toenails while wearing one of her loose-fitting nightgowns. More power to her. A girl deserves what she can get in this life. I wasn’t quite ready for all that.
Or perhaps I needed a few tricks up my sleeve like the suggestive talkbox lyrics Frampton used to preach about sex and seduction in his songs. He wound up seducing the entire world instead, as his Frampton Comes Alive album has sold more than 10,000,000 copies. Think about that.
Yes, we’ve lived different lives, Peter Frampton and I. But I think he’s turned out to be quite handsome even without his flowing blonde hair, bare chest and open shirt.
As for me, I’ll take whatever Doppelganger I can get, because I know for a fact that I’ll still never be a rock star in real life.
Only in my own mind.