Connect with us

Pete Townshend asked Peter Frampton to replace him in The Who

Peter Frampton Pete Townshend

Classic Rock

Pete Townshend asked Peter Frampton to replace him in The Who

Legendary guitarist Peter Frampton revealed in his memoir book (Excerpt shared by Rolling Stone) that he was asked by Pete Townshend to replace him in The Who during the tours. Since he had made the decision that he would still be in The Who composing new songs but would not perform with the band live anymore.


Peter Frampton recalled when he was asked by Pete Townshend to replace him in The Who:

“My career was in the toilet, basically. I can’t afford the mortgage; it’s not looking good. I was in the kitchen one day and I got a phone call from Pete Townshend. I love Pete. We’ve known each other for a long time. I wouldn’t say we’re close friends, but we have a mutual respect. So I get this call from England. “Hey, Pete, it’s Townshend here, Pete Townshend.” Oh, blimey, how are you? Long time.”

“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, and . . .” Wait, what? I remember the first thing that I said — when he paused — I said, “That’s an enormous pair of shoes to fill! I can’t do that.” He said, “Yes, you can. I’ll be there with you.”

“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. They don’t know you’re not going to tour anymore?” “No, not yet; they’ll know tomorrow.”

He continued, saying:

“So I hung up and I told [Frampton’s then-wife] Barbara [Gold], and I freaked out. I said, “This doesn’t sound right. This is off. This doesn’t make sense at all.” I would be laying myself open to scrutiny and the fury of every Who fan. But on the other hand, what a wonderful offer, an honor to say the least that Pete considered me that serious a candidate.”

“I would love to have played with the Who, but only with Pete in the band, no way on my own. I couldn’t do that! But, well, maybe I can. Half of me was saying, “I got nothing going on, and maybe this could work.” But I’m just grasping at straws; realistically, I knew this would not be good for the Who or me. No one would accept the band without “Towser.” And my windmill needed a lot of work, as well as my ten-foot jumps into the air. No way was this a good idea.”

Peter Frampton continued, saying:

“So a week goes by, nothing. Two weeks goes by and I’m losing it. I kind of knew he must have thought about the offer he made to me. But I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. Three weeks goes by and my wife said, “For Christ’s sake, call him!” Because I was total hell to live with at that point.”

“I find him in a studio somewhere in London; it took me four or five calls to get him and all I let him get out was, “Oh, hi, Pete.” And I said, “You haven’t called me back in three weeks! I got nothing going on in my career and the inventor of the Who—the songwriter, and the major player in the Who—calls me up and offers me his position in the band and then doesn’t call me back!”

“You’ve left me hanging.” He said, “Oh, I’m so sorry.” I’ve never heard Townshend like that before. 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.”

Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townshend:

“A few months later, Bruce Springsteen was playing the Garden, so Barbara and I went to see the show and go backstage at the halftime intermission. We were standing right behind the stage and guess who I see talking to Bruce? I looked at Barbara and said, “Wait here.”

“I went over, and Pete’s talking to Bruce, and I just stood there with a smile on my face. He’s taller than me, so he just looks at me, gives me this big hug, and leans over and kisses me on the top of my head. ’Nuff said—it was over. We moved on.”

“I love Pete dearly. I have no idea what was going on in his life at that time. I don’t even know if he remembers calling me.”

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

To Top