Had he not died on the 7 September 1978, Keith Moon, the (in)famous drummer of the British band, The Who would have turned 67 this year following his birthday last month (August 23). Today we hit the 35 years memorial of his untimely departure at the age of 32 but Keith Moon’s exceptional charisma and influence on the music industry has marked a new creative high and remains high on the agenda.
One of the most playful and eccentric of the post-Beatles ‘British Invasion’ acts, Moon is arguably one of the best drummers in the world and the man who liberally spiked ‘The Who’s’ fleeting melodies with his incredible speed and effervescent flair that made the sounds of his drums clash and echo to a soaring psychedelic conclusion. Never before had drums played a similar part as bass and guitar the way it did during Keith Moon and The Who’s era. He relentlessly placed drums at the forefront of music circa.
There was something about Keith Moon that totally segregated those who got it and those who didn’t. His fans cited his extensive and self-imposed benchmark as one of the finest in the rock history while his detractors took his whole charisma as sloppy, nonsensical antics and a self-imposed rockstar image selfishly stroking his ego under the spectacles of his audience. While there has been clashes of opinions and doubt on Moon’s ability in keeping up with time and inability to follow the tempo, the rumours has largely been dismissed by fellow band member and lead vocalist, Roger Daltrey. Daltrey has sticked his guns in Moon’s honour to ensure that the man behind ‘Who’s’ drums intention and reflexes not to be misconceived.
Daltrey in defence of Moon has clearly stated:
This was somebody without whom we might still be listening to drummers going ‘boom-cha, boom-cha.
Keith in 2013 is remembered as one of rock music progenitors but there’s no denying that his wild eccentric behaviour and legendary tales of blowing up toilets and driving Roll Royce’s into the Hotel’s swimming pool has also contributed to his long-lived legacy and has been a constant debate of the recent century. Due to that we track back Moon’s escapade and brings to light his best and funniest ventures as we introduce you to the man who through his gravity, ferocity and rock star charms stood behind every single word with everything he had. Keith Moon’s raw efforts and skills will and could never be replicated and here is the story of a man who was play-hard and party-hardcore apprentice.
From the tales of ‘The Hollywood Vampires’ a club that was adorned by the 60s demigod’s such as Alice Cooper, Bernie Taupin, Harry Nilsson, Micky Dolenz, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and Keith Moon straight to the bottom of 5-star hotel’s expensive swimming pool’s, Keith Moon has proved that 60s was one hellavu ferocious and wild era. Particularly to ‘The Who’ members Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey and the late John Entwistle who throughout their time were one of the biggest band in rock history, playing to sold out concerts, and were and still are one of Rock music’s exceptional treasures – even at the peak of their stardom were forced to sleep in tour vans and friend’s houses after being thrown out of hotels has kept their love and faithful honour deep in the heart for the exuberant drummer. For all we have seen and known, we would damn straight quote that you will never find another effort as sublime as this in this contemporary history.
Keith Moon has thrashed hotel rooms, blown up toilets, set buildings on fire and more during his heydays and managed to make the whole band members to be blacklisted from prestigious hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Hilton and more. Myth has it that they were also banned from ever entering the city of Michigan again. Keith Moon’s image has been largely popularised as a man who was constantly battling with his inner demons and the war became worst with the usage of drugs and excessive alcohol intake. Moon passed away in his sleep on 7 Sept 1978 at the age of 32 after returning from a viewing party for ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ – a party hosted by The Beatles’s band member, Sir Paul McCartney. Keith Moon is believed to have died in his sleep from prescription medicine overdose. Stories has been told that 6 months prior to his passing, he had actually sought help and had cleaned up his act. Even when he was removed from an aircraft for pulling one of his infamous stunt, some would say it was nothing compared to what he could do or have done at that time.
We remember Keith Moon for giving us some of Rock n Roll’s greatest memories be it in through the ways he savaged his drum kits or his endless enthusiasm in blowing up hotel toilet’s with cherry bombs. He will be missed even by those who never truly lived throughout his era, but for a man of his calibre he is better sooted for creating anarchy in heaven. We smile sometimes thinking how he is giving God headaches with his endless running around blowing up castles in heaven. Rest In Peace, mate. There’ll never be another Keith Moon, never.
Full story of The Who, Year by Year Events, Albums and more here: The Who: The Lads From The Peak of The British Invasion Era.
(Above) The young guns (clockwise) KEITH MOON (DRUMS), JOHN ENTWISTLE (BASS), ROGER DALTREY (VOCALS) and in the front PETE TOWNSHEND (GUITAR)
As per 2013 the remaining members of the original WHO would be Pete Townshend (far left) and Roger Daltrey (beside Pete). Drummer Keith Moon passed away in 1978 at the age of 32 followed by bassist John Entwistle in 2002 at the age of 57.
FLINT TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN — IT WAS ONE SWIM THE CITY WOULD REMEMBER & A BIRTHDAY BASH OF A MAN WHO WAS 19 GOING ON 20 GOING ON 21
In August 1967, the band arrived in Holliday Inn, Flint, Michigan to a ‘Happy Birthday Keith‘ sign erected by the hotel management in line with his 21st birthday. Truth is he was turning 20 that year as recalled by the late Who basisst, Enstwistle. Keith was excited at the prospect that he could drink because he was celebrating his 21st birthday and drink he did. The photo above was taken when Keith was quite drunk.
After performing at the Atwood High School Football Stadium, Keith returned to the hotel and started a food fight. Within seconds, cake started to fly around and the evening cultivated to an already very drunk Keith knocking out his front tooth. He was brought to a nearby hospital but doctors could not give him anaesthetic due to his plastered condition so they took out the remaining tooth without the aid of any medication. The wildest birthday bash in the American history ended up with fire extinguishers being set off, hotel properties and guests’ floating in the pool and a grand piano destroyed in the process. Hence, even the police had to draw out their handguns to put an end to the chaos.
It was during this time that a very drunk Moon striped down to his underpants and released the brakes on a parked Lincoln Continental and drove it straight into the hotel’s pool with him inside. Following the incident, The Who were banned from all Holliday Inn properties for life and had to pay for damages that amounted to $24,000 or $50,00 as legend has it.
From an interview with ‘Rolling Stones’ 1972, this is how Keith recalls the wild moment:
I ran out, jumped into the first car I came to, which was a brand new Lincoln Continental. It was parked on a slight hill and when I took the hand brake off, it started to roll and it smashed straight through this pool fence and the ‘Ole Lincoln Continental went into the ‘Oliday Inn swimming pool, with me in it. Ah-Ah-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!
KEITH AND HOTEL TV’S
I’m banned everywhere. With my record I’m not surprised. That’s why I have to buy me own hotels. Even I ban me. I won’t allow me-self to stay at me own hotels. Ha-ha-ha-ha.
Dougal Butler once quoted that as he was driving Moon to the airport, Moon asked him to turn around and drive back to the hotel because he forgot something. Upon arriving at the hotel, he ran to his room, took the hotel’s TV and threw it out of his window into the swimming pool. He got back into the car and sigh ‘I almost forgot’
In a December 1972 Rolling Stones Interview, Keith replied on his hotel room destruction myth:
Lots. Yes. I get bored, you see. There was a time in Saskatoon, in Canada. It was another Holiday Inn and I was bored. Now, when I get bored, I rebel. I said, “Fuck it, fuck the lot of ya!” And I took out me hatchet and chopped the hotel room to bits. The television. The chairs. The dresser. The cupboard doors. The bed. The lot of it. It happens all the time.
THE SMOTHERS BROTHER COMEDY SHOW: MY NAME IS KEITH BUT YOU CAN CALL ME JOHN
The Who appeared on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Show in 1967 and this would serve as the most defining moment of the show ultimately securing Who’s number 10 ranking in the ‘100 Greatest Rock n Roll Moments On Television’. By this time, The Who were already famously known for the mild explosion in their shows through an explosive that was placed in Keith Moon’s drum kits to create a light pyrotechnic effect. Unbeknown to them, Keith Moon had bribed a stage staff to insert 10 times the usual amount of explosive into the kits and when Keith proceeded to detonate it, the explosion was so loud and intense that it injured Keith, set Pete’s hair on fire and affected his hearing (the beginning of Pete’s Tinnitus) with Tommy Smothers appearing shocked in the background. Watch the clip, you will see Keith Moon lying flat on the floor after the explosion and Townshend hair engulfed with smoke.
THE LONGEST ‘FILL IN’ DRUMMER IN THE WORLD
Keith was a high school drop out who became a rock star god too early in his life as the Who started to gain mainstream popularity and megastar stardom. He managed to provide quite an impact on the rest of WHO’s member when he took the drums in his ginger hair and ginger clothes to show off his skills at one of WHO’s gigs. He was immediately accepted as the drummer of the band. Quite funnily so, when asked by BEATLE’s Ringo Star how he managed to drum with the WHO, he replied that he was just filling in for the drummers position for the last 15 years. He was quite the story teller.
Even when Moon was known to own a few fancy and expensive cars, stories has been told that he drove a tractor to all the local bars where he used to drink.
ARE THE KIDS ALRIGHT MATE? – KEITH MOON K-HOLES!
Keith Moon passes out on stage on his drums at one of WHO’s concert after taking a whole lot of horse tranquillisers.
RIPLEY’S CANT BELIVE IT: ELVIS MAY HAVE LEFT THE BUILDING BUT KEITH MOON IS JUST ABOUT TO MAKE AN ENTRANCE – THROUGH THE CEILING
If there was one man in the industry who knew how to make a grand entrance, it got to be Keith Moon. While the band members of Who waited for Moon to start their performance at the VAlley, London, witness recalls that suddenly there was a loud crash and bang! – Keith Moon had just dropped from the ceiling smashing his way through a pointed and barbed iron roof to land himself flat on the stage. No one could ever replicate that! No one!
ROCK N ROLL’S PREMIER HELL RAISER
On one occasion, The Who guitarist, Pete Townshend came back to the hotel room to find that the toilet has disappeared with just an S band left to proof that once-upon-a-time, there was a toilet in that place before Keith Moon came along. Moon blew the toilet using 500 cherry bombs.
And of course from that moment on, we got thrown out of every hotel we ever stayed in’ recalled Townshend
NUDE MOON MOON-WALKING, SAYS’S MICK JAGGER’S WIFE
On the night of Mick Jagger’s (Rolling Stones) and Bianca’s wedding reception, Bianca retired early to their room only to wake up hours later and find Keith Moon roaming through her sixth-floor window wearing nothing but a pair of novelty glasses whose eyeballs bounced around in front of him on springs while spotting a pair of women’s brief on his head.
THE KEITH AND GIN STORY
The late Graham Chapman recalls meeting Keith Moon at his hotel suite. Chapman was a gin drinker and there was no gin in the room so Moon called the front desk and requested for a bottle of Gin to be brought up to the room for his friend. After 15 minutes, the gin still hadn’t arrive and Keith once again called the front desk and said, If the gin does not arrive in another 10 minutes, the TV will arrive in the swimming pool. About 10 minutes after that Chapman noticed that Keith has gone missing and the window of the room was wide open. He went to the window to see if Keith had jumped out but there was nothing below the 13 or 14th floor window. There was a tiny balcony outside but not the kind that someone would be lounging at. He proceeded to wait for Moon as panic started to settle in. A moment later, Moon climbs down from the window holding a gin bottle in his hand. He had just broken into the room next door to grab a gin for his friend. Such an amusing character and such a good friend he was.
KEITH MOON: ‘ANG’ ON, MATE, I CAN’T GO FAST ON THESE LEGS’
Keith goes on telling Rolling Stone in a 1972 interview that he was late for an interview that was scheduled at 3 and it was only at 4 that he started out. Knowing that the band members would be angry at him, he called them and said that he’d been run over a bus on Oxford Street. He then bought some bandages and walking sticks and came limping to the office and while they all agreed to cancel the interview, Moon persisted that they should carry on.
So they carried me down the stairs and we’re walking along, I’m hobbling along the street again and this bloody lorry comes along as I’m crossing the street and it screams to a halt in front of me. I say, “‘ang on, mate, I can’t go fast on these legs,” and Pete has a go at the lorry driver: “You ‘eart-less bastard, can’t you see this man’s injured! ‘ave you no ‘eart, ‘ave you no soul, you bastard! Trying to run over a cripple!”
ALICE COOPER: MY 18-YEARS-OLD WIFE AND MY FRENCH MAID – KEITH
According to Alice Cooper, he has just recently got married to his wife when Keith Moon came over to his house. Keith Moon proceeded to stay at the newly wed still in the honey moon period couple’s house for a week. One day, Cooper and his 18-years-old wife came back home to find Keith wearing a French maid corset and dusting Cooper’s place while trying to imitate a French ascent.
KEITH AND BUTLER GOES TO PACIFIC OCEAN ON A HOT AIR BALLOON RIDE
Peter Dougal Butler was Keith’s PA and one who was always with him even through his rabid stunts. Butler recalls going to a 21st birthday party of a well known family in America -a party to celebrated their sons birthday. It was crazy party because they had hot air balloons and coke flying around and going around one table to another. The next thing we know, Keith and I ended up in one of the hot balloon’s floating somewhere in the mid of the dark Pacific Ocean.
KEITH MOON ACCEPTING AN AWARD ON BEHALF OF THE BEATLES
‘We finally made it Keith and that everyone who has given us this prestigious award is enhanced by the beauty of your receiving it for us’ – Keith Moon
KEITH MOON AND HIS NEW FRIEND, MISS GLUE
Keith Moon’s hotel stories are pretty timeless, from blowing up to thrashing, Keith has used his imaginary interior designing degree to a good use. But things were about to change because he just discovered the power of glue. He was once again asked to leave the hotel when the manager arrived to his room only to find that Keith Moon has glued and plastered all the furnitures to the ceiling. Ripley’s believe or not? You better believe it.
THE QUEEN OF MOON VS KEITH ADOLF MOON HITELR WHO
Being the expressionist that he was, Keith often rented suits and would wear it all day even when he went out. Alice Cooper remembers him wearing a French maid corset, Adolf’s Kampfzeit uniform and The Queen Of England’s gowns or dresses. Butler later noted that Keith rented a police man suit complete with a handgun, which he planned to wear during The Who’s gig later that night. But both of them got caught by a security at the hotel who insisted Keith to take the uniform off. He however manage to get to the show and the whole uniform thing was a hit.
HOLE IN THE HOTEL ROOM : KEITH MOON OR RATS?
Alice Cooper recalls that one night Keith wanted to borrow Pete Townshend’s record player but he didn’t want to wake him up because it was late. Even when Townshend was staying in the next room, Moon proceeded in making a hole on the wall and entered Townshend’s room and as he came back, he sigh ‘I got the wrong one’. The hotel manager arrived at the room and was astonished to see a hole had been cut through to the next room. He asked Moon, what was that? Moon replied, ‘Oh, Rats, huge rats’. He told the hotel manager that he wasn’t going to pay his bills till they catch the rats. The hotel manager told Moon that he had to pay for the damages and Moon asked how much would that be? Upon hearing the figure he said; with that kind of money, might as well destroy the whole room. He even invited the manager to help him in breaking the furnitures, which the manager did.
KEITH AND EX WIFE, KIM
WHO ARE YOU KEITH MOON?
Moon died weeks after the album ‘Who Are You’ was released. Quite eerily so, the cover of the chair that Moon is sitting on reads: Never To Be Taken Away and he passed away in less than 3 weeks after the album was released.
REMEMBERING KEITH MOON
Keith Moon, God rest his soul, once drove his car through the glass doors of a hotel, driving all the way up to the reception desk, got out and asked for the key to his room.” – Pete Townshend
I’m am not here to talk about all the things that Keith did during his time, I am here to talk about the man I have loved – Ringo Star, The Beatles
“John (Bonham) had been so impressed when he saw The Who’s drummer, a young Keith Moon, for the first time on TV, that he began to experiment with fashion.” – Mick Bonham, John Bonham of Led Zeppelin’s brother.
KEITH MOON’S QUOTES
At heart I cannot accept that I am a well-known rock ‘n’ roll star and one of the greatest drummers in the world. I can’t believe that person on the television is really me. The Keith Moon the public knows is a myth, even if I have created him. The real me is the person who sits at home having a cup of tea with his old lady, Annette.
The hotel smashing is one way I get relief from the public image. I have no temper. I do it in a spirit of amusement rather than anger. When I’ve done damage to a friend’s house I come back sheepishly the next day and offer to put things right, which means I’m willing to foot the bill.
You know, if I ever stopped laughing inside and quit believing in people then I would get very hurt and totally disillusioned. You have to treat everything – even if at that time it seems like a right bummer – as a good experience. There are things that have happened to me that have made me wonder where I went wrong . . . things of a personal nature, like my relationship with my wife. They’re the things that make you think most, because one is far more deeply involved.
I love to see people laugh and I love it more if I can make them laugh. I think this comes across in my drumming. I watch a lot of The Marx Brothers’ movies and they were doing the same sort of things. You’ve seen the way Chico Marx plays the piano with that certain flair . . . adding something to the music while taking liberties within his own capabilities? It’s a question of taking somebody else’s music but not sending it up in a derogative sense, just injecting your own personality. Pete’s music allows me to do this.
Rock music has given us some of the best memories to cherish and the Hard Rock God’s brought their influences in enhancing music through time with a sense of credibility and diversity. Elvis Presley will always be the most exceptional son of Rock n Roll, he created a base for the rest to ride on and opened the doors for the Balck community to soar to spectacular heights. The British Invasion saw The Beatles changing the face of music further and the resurgence of the MOD era. The Beatles bridged the gap between the Brits and Americans and never has two cultures collided the way they did back in the 60s. This eventually opened the doors for bands like Rolling Stones, The Who and Led Zeppelin just to mention a few to pursue music in the typical Rock n Roll fashion with an endless string of the British influences and richness.
Led Zeppelin is the second best selling recording acts of all time and Bonham is the greatest drummer of all time. The Brits opened the doors for the rest of us to experience music like never before and for all we know they’ve been doing just that for as long as time. The Who came barging in and sold millions of tickets within hours of release and this kinda things are rare in modern times.
Keith Moon placed drums at the forefront of the band and made them as equally important as the rest of the musical elements that was needed in creating hits after hits. Regardless of being thrown out of hotels and sleeping in vans because of their eccentric drummer’s niche for blowing up everything that came between his path, never again will you see band members sticking up their guns just to ensure we cherish Moon’s memories as part of this generation’s biggest influence of modern day rock. They may have carried on after Keith Moon’s death but never once hoped to replace Keith’s memories with anyone else and never did. They still talk fondly about Keith and don’t normally pick on his infra structural drugs abuse or drinking problems. This was the sight and sounds of The Who, a band who at their times were the biggest name in rock history and music mercenaries that will never be replicated.
You love a man not because how he has portrayed himself on the outward corners of his life. You love a man for what he was in the deepest corner of his heart. Despite the self-destructive and self-imposed behaviour, he was one of the most talented chap who unfortunately like most drummers souls was overly excited, too young to know or care, too much happened too soon and the childish manoeuvres took the best out of him every single hour of every single day of his life. He is loved and remembered at how he savaged his drum kits and how insanely he beat them to dust in creating an emotional path between hearts and souls of a man that had two sides to him.
We remember him for his notoriety in playing the drums like no one could and no one will. Below Townshend and Daltrey ‘toks about Moon wusz a pio genius’ and shows off Moon’s drumming skills: