I used to sit and drink in a small, dusty Wyoming bar, where this grizzled looking, one-man, country-rocker played. This guy was fixed with a kick drum, a harmonica, and an electric guitar. He played everything from Peter Frampton to Buck Owens – a great blend of classic rock as well as vintage country and western, with a little folk and soul tossed in as well. He was hard to peg into just one category. He had long braided hair and tattoos running up each of his sleeveless arms, replete with knee-high leather riding boots and a sweat soaked cowboy hat. So, flippantly I referred to him one day as “Buck Frampton,” discounting the silly stage name he was using. I even offered to design his next CD cover if he’d go with the new persona I had for him, but clearly, he hated the name and chose to remain true to his truly forgettable one instead. Although musically gifted, he wasn’t all that bright in my opinion. No, not because he had passed on the chance of a lifetime to BE The Buck Frampton Band – it was because he’d gotten the words “YOUR NAME” tattooed on his left knee just so he could get a laugh during his act by teasing some girl he might be eying near the front of the stage with a line like: “Hey darling, I know we don’t know each other, but will you bet me a kiss if I can show that I have “your name” tattooed on my leg …?”
It’s been about ten years now since I decided to own my own idea and create the musical persona of The Buck Frampton Band. I didn’t know what that would actually “look” or “sound” like then but I guessed it might include the influence of everything from Alice Cooper to Zamfir and his pan flute. Of course, most of the listening options I saw poking up at me from my 8-track case when I was in high school had Sharpie scribbled names such as Elvis, Led, Frank, Dean (sure, Buck was there too). The country music side was mostly my truck driving father’s doing. In fact, my early songwriting ideas were born from a desire to emulate the types of cliche’s found in a lot of the country and western music my dad listened to. I used to marvel at the word pictures that came from songs like “Sleeping single in a double bed,” or “If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?” Corny, yet cleverly cathartic I would imagine, especially if you happen to be the poor schlock who actually lived the lyrics to, “That’s my house, that’s my girl, but that ain’t my truck.”
I understand that not all lyrics come from personal life experience. Some are purely fiction, or maybe extrapolated from something real. John Fogerty never lived in any bayou with alligators and bad moons rising over head; he merely had a basement during his high school days in San Diego which flooded on a regular basis. He drew upon damp childhood experiences while writing the swamp-rock for Credence. Besides, how much living have you really done by the time you reach the other side of puberty? We all know how tough that period of time is, but it’s just the beginning of a life-time of sappy tunes yet to be written. The exploits to be had, the dogs yet to die and all the affairs of the heart yet to be born or broken, lay far beyond the teen years for most of us.
For myself, after two divorces and a decade of being dumped in and out of the dating scene, let’s just say, Buck has acquired a fair share of song fodder. In the beginning, I thought I might struggle trying to pen my first song, but titles began flying out of my mind with the frenzy of popped corn out of lidless kettle: I’ve given half away twice; She didn’t leave town, she only left me, I’m over the hump and I’m over you too … I felt like I could go on forever writing down my angst, and well, it seems as though I have.
Yes, I write happy songs too. I was taught that music, singing in particular, was like laughter. You didn’t need formal eduction to express yourself. You might not have much of an audience, true, but if you had a song inside, for better or worse, it was OK, essential even, to let it out. Well, The Buck Frampton Band is back in the studio, doing a series of one-take recordings by the “good folks” at Cellar Door Records (who are made up of basically just me, my laptop and the acoustics in my basement). The first of these one-take recordings, or what I call, song sketches, can be found here, at Bucks new site: http://buckframpton.wordpress.com/