When Peter Frampton Stopped Washing to Escape ‘Cute Problem’
Peter Frampton recalled the period when he stopped washing in a bid to escape his classification as a “cute” pop star.
He became known as “The Face” while fronting the Herd in the mid-’60s, but in a new interview with Classic Rock, he said he hated the designation from the outset.
“They didn’t put the Herd on the covers of the magazines, they put me on,” Frampton said. “And instantly it started discontent in the band. I felt terrible. The die was cast. ... Being chased and having your clothes ripped off by girls was all very exciting, but it got old very quickly. And I could see what that was doing to the band. And as I was to experience later in life, a teenybopper in the band can rid you of your credibility.”
In 1968, after two years, he quit and formed Humble Pie with Steve Marriott – another performer who’d suffered misjudgment as a result of his looks. “The first thing was, we decided that we wouldn’t shave or bathe,” the guitarist said. “We all grew beards and didn’t wear groovy clothes. We wanted to be accepted for our musicality. We released our first single, ‘Natural Born Bugie,’ and guess what? We’re back on Top of the Pops again and we’re being screamed at.”
Marriott found an interesting way out of the situation when the band released their single “Big Black Dog.” "Steve was rude to Tony Blackburn, the DJ on Top of the Pops," he said. "He kept calling him by the wrong name and would answer his questions with, ‘Dunno. Ask our manager, mate.’ The result of which was we were never allowed back on the show. I guess we just hated that we were in the same predicament as the two bands we’d been in before.
“So at our next band meeting, we said, ‘We need to get out of here. Let’s go to America.’ They didn’t know us there. That’s when we met Dee Anthony. He started managing us and things really started happening.”