Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton has opened up about his battle with a muscle-wasting disease that will leave him unable to play the guitar.
The 69-year-old told People Magazine the incurable condition came on subtly, starting around eight years ago when he found his legs couldn’t handle a hike as easily as before.
‘At first I thought, “I’m just getting old!”‘, he said. Over the next few years, with a series of falls on stage, he realized ‘there’s a problem.’
Soon, he won’t be able to play the guitar – and Nashville-based Frampton is savoring every last moment he has.
As well as writing four albums in the past year, he told People he even sleeps with the guitar he used to write Baby I Love Your Way.
Peter Frampton, 69, pictured rounding out his four-month farewell tour in July in Michigan
Frampton, who became a rock icon with hits such as Baby I Love Your Way, has written four albums in the last year and sleeps with his guitar as he nears a time when he won’t be able to play
What is Inclusion Body Myositis (IBM)?
IBM involves the inflammation of the muscles and affects associated tissues – such a blood vessels.
Overtime, IBM slows and weakens muscle functionality, sometimes even affecting someone’s ability to swallow.
It’s a non-fatal but incurable disease that can severely demobilize a sufferer.
Progressive weakness of the muscles, wrists and fingers, the muscles of the front of the thigh, and the muscles that lift the front of the foot are all symptoms of IMB.
Unlike in other inflammatory myopathies, the heart and lungs are not affected in IBM.
He said: ‘I hope I’m still writing lyrics and playing a new riff, if I can, when I’m on my last legs. Because that’s what my life’s all about.’
Frampton, who ended his career with a farewell tour in June, is now embarking on a clinical trial with Johns Hopkins to test a drug that, scientists hope, may stave off the effects of IBM.
The disease, which affects roughly 24,000 Americans, fuels inflammation of the tissues, gradually weakening muscles.
Frampton, fortunately, has not been affected in his throat, like 50 percent of sufferers, meaning he can still speak and sing, though his wrists, fingers, arms, and legs are gradually weakening.
But, he says, he is staying cheery.
‘My cup is always half full. I’m very positive about it,’ Frampton said.
Frampton found modest success in Britain in the 1960s with his teenage band, The Herd, followed by a number-one single with Humble Pie, a band he co-founded with Steve Marriott of Small Faces.
However, the Kent-born virtuoso conquered the US as a solo performer after his blockbuster fifth album ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ spent ten weeks atop the album charts.
Though, in the album’s wake, commercial success proved hard to come by for Frampton.
The title track of his follow up album, ‘I’m In You’, managed to reach number one, but the decade that followed was plagued by a series of misses and flops.
According to Frampton, it wasn’t until his old school Friend, David Bowie, reached out to him in 1987 that his career saw a resurgence.
The Kent-born virtuoso conquered the US as a solo performer after his blockbuster fifth album ‘Frampton Comes Alive’ spent ten weeks atop the album charts. Pictured: Frampton in 1968
According to Frampton, it wasn’t until his old school Friend, David Bowie, reached out to him in 1987 that his career saw a resurgence. Pictured: Frampton in 1968
Frampton (pictured in 1977) said: ‘I hope I’m still writing lyrics and playing a new riff, if I can, when I’m on my last legs. Because that’s what my life’s all about’
Frampton was invited to serve as Bowie’s lead guitarist on his ‘Glass Spider’ world tour, thrusting him back into the front-lines of musical consciousness.
And his triumphant return from 10 years of darkness is the inspiration behind his positive mindset as his battle with IBM intensifies, Frampton says.
‘I’m think of all the times in my life that something devastating has happened to my career, or in my family, or [to] me,’ he said to CBS.
‘I’ve brushed myself up and changed directions.’
Frampton admits that he hesitated to tell his children, who, though were initially devastated by the news, have provided an incredible network of support for him over the past few years.
If the Johns Hopkins trial works, he promises there will be a global ‘miracle tour’ to celebrate his successful recovery.