The Who – Hoping to die, before they got old

Were you a fan of the original drummer and resident Madman for The Who?  Unfortunately, next week on Friday Sept 7th we will recognize the 40th Anniversary marking  the passing of arguably Rock music’s greatest drummer!

Keith Moon was only 32 when he lost his life to a drug overdose in 1978. There is such sad irony here. Keith’s alcohol addiction was legendary! In his effort to clean up and get straight, his Doctor prescribed a powerful drug called “Heminervin” that would curb Keith’s constant craving for Alcohol. Common to anyone with an addiction problem, Keith Moon believed that if a Little Heminervin could help him, A LOT would cure him, unfortunately it killed him! At only 32 Keith became the Posthumous poster boy for the song his band is Best know for! ( Hope I die before I get old ) “My Generation”.

”Moonie” had a frantic passion and power with the drums that bewildered yet intrigued everyone. During his audition for The Who, he jammed his foot pedal through the Bass drum head. Likewise with his drumstick thru his snare drum skin! Not an easy fete for even the most powerful “Tub Thunmpers” But, “Moonie “ did it more than once. Keith Moon,  worked hard, but he PLAYED harder! As you may know “Moonie” was a prankster who loved attention while he playfully destroyed things. Keith was “Ground Zero” for the “Rock Star “ destroys hotel room syndrome.” It began with simply throwing TV’s and furniture out the 10th story window and then Moonie discovered FIRECRACKERS! Specifically “Cherry Bombs” and “M 80’s ( the later alleged to be a quarter stick of Dynamite ) overnight Keith’s favorite pastime on the road was “Blowing up toilets.” He was once quoted in an interview saying “There’s something delectable about watching all that porcelain flying around the room”! Later Keith Moon turned to cars for laughs and we know a few of the best.

on August 23 in 1967, while enjoying a wild birthday party, Keith drove his Lincoln Town car into a Holiday Inn swimming pool. As the party had become out of control, the police were called to put an end to the festivities. Moon, ever keen to avoid the boys in blue snuck outside and got into a Lincoln Continental Limousine and attempted to make a getaway. Unfortunately, in his inebriated state he released the hand brake, and began rolling towards the pool. Moon simply sat back and waited, as the car crashed through the fence around the pool and into the water. Keith stayed in the drowning car until the police removed him.

Later, in 1972, the unlicensed Moon flipped his new Porsche into a somersault when,  for a laugh,  he threw his speeding car into first gear, coming to a rest only feet from the edge of a cliff. MORE LAUGHS!  Another event earlier  in 1970 turned out much worse. As Moon and his friends were being antagonized by skinheads after leaving a pub, his chauffeur Neil Boland got out of the car to confront the angry young men. Moon then grabbed the wheel and accidentally ran over Boland, dragging him to his death. Although Moon was cleared of murder, Boland’s demise reportedly haunted him for the rest of his days. You’re right, No Laughs here!

Even when Moon wasn’t driving, he was a nuisance on the streets. Employing a bullhorn – later, a speaker system installed in his Rolls-Royce – the drummer would make fake announcements while riding through London suburbs. Residents would be befuddled to hear of approaching tidal waves and snake invasions. The Laughs resume!

So much has been written about Keith Moon and The Who, But we gotta throw in our  2 cents. Many critics have claimed that The Who Are Ground Zero Of the Punk Movement, with their anti-establishment attitude and song lyrics, and they had plenty of that! However, unlike The Stooges, The Ramones or Richard Hell, The Who included the absolute best musicians and vocalists in all of Great Britain. With Roger Daltrey fronting the band with a voice that could roar open the gates to heaven and SCREAM thru the caves of Hell. Additionally Roger inspired the phrase “Cock Rock” we’ll leave further definition to that genre to you dear reader! On Guitar, The remarkable Pete Townsend, a player we believe remains one of the more under appreciated Guitar players from the 60’s. Ever try his signature “Windmill” move? Be careful, at the very least your bound to lose a fingernail and bloody your knuckles! Townsend was a Monster. Additionally, He and Daltrey , along with the quiet but diabolically creative Bassist John Entwistle wrote and created the first “Rock Opera” with “Tommy” a true MASTERPIECE! All the while having hit after hit. Remember, “The Kids Are All Right”,  “Pictures Of Lily”, “ Substitute” and “Happy Jack”, “I Can See For Miles” “Pinball Wizard” and of course the song that broke things open. Their first hit single included a Bass solo featuring John Entwistle with a closing crescendo “Drum Solo” starring Keith Moon “MY GENERATION”.

As always, What about you? Did you love The Who like we did, Did you rush out to buy their latest L.P as we did?

Here’s “My Generation”

P.S.  When The Who lost Keith as their drummer, several drummers filled in including Kenny Jones from The Faces. But, in a serendipitous move, many years ago, Zac Starkey joined the band as Keith’s permanent replacement. When you saw The Who with Zac on drums, it can only be described as curious and beautiful. Zac, if you didn’t Know is Ringo’s Son!

“Talkin  ‘bout OUR Generation” – SMS

10 Comments

  1. I just want to say first that I really like “EMMINENCE FRONT” very good message! But WOW ” Shoe” what a time of magnificent hedontic self-distructive behavior!! Many many people actually NEVER survive these 1000 mega ton life style explosions: I have become death, the destroyer of worlds!!!”. My recall is one of maximum appreciation of their collective body of work— pure genius!!!!
    the wood

  2. LOVE The Who! Another knock out post, Rick. Without a doubt, Keith Moon was on a whole other level as a drummer and wildly charismatic personality. I had the good fortune to see the band perform live on two occasions back in Boston in the early 70’s. The first time was after “Who’s Next” came out and they played a wicked pissah show at The Music Hall (with local talent and new to the scene Aerosmith as the opening act). A few years later saw them perform “Tommy” at the Armory. The absolute friggin’ BEST.

    Interesting that you posted this today as I was watching a rare and an early Who performance the other night. Cue it up to 26:06 and let her rip (although the Hendrix set is COOL too) Enjoy:

    • Hey Jimmy,
      Always great when you drop by, and you always bring “Goodies” and your post abou t The Who is no exception !
      Sooo, you saw The Who open for Aerosmith ? How upside down is that ? Aerosmith are amazing live, but even way back then I bet The Who blew them away.. I saw them as well at the MGM Grand in Vegas. My band “Sugar Ray we’re opening for them. It was actually sad to see your own band literally destroyed by the headliner ! The Who Of course we’re beyond, BEYOND ! And at the time, late 90’s Zac Starkey was playing drums, it was so interesting to watch, Zac looked and moved like Ringo ( mop top haircut and all ) but played like Keith……..It was drummers heaven!
      But now ! Thank you for those great clips, and yes, Seeing The original Jimi Hendrix experience was incredible. But then, as you implied, The Who, once again, we’re beyond BEYOND ! What’s more, while doing a little research for this week’s post, I came across an interview with Pete Townsend where he say’s that he was disappointed that The Who’s records never caught the raw energy of their live shows and your clip helps underscore Pete’s Comment. Unusual, but this week’s post now contains (Thanx to you ) a great live version of “My Generation” and our posting of the original studio recording of the song ! And after listening to both, I gotta agree with Pete, as great as their studio record was, that live version you posted BLOWS THE ORIGINAL RECORDING AWAY !
      Thank you sooooo much Jimmy,don’t be a stranger !
      Best,
      Rick

      • Rick, read Jimmy’s post again. I think he is saying an early Aerosmith opened for The Who. If not I am gonna hafta crawl back through this worm hole to get to where I was before I opened this. Excellent article BTW. It’s great to get a drummers description of what another drummer is doing. Especially in as much as I never got a chance to see Keith Moon and The Who perform. And thank you Jimmy for your post.

        • Hey “Eagle Eye Jim,
          YES, you’re right, I did mix up Jimmys post ! Thank you ! Yeah even Back then I had a hard time accepting The Who as the opening act for anyone ! Actually I’m glad I got it wrong !
          Thanx James, for yet again “Keeping us honest”
          Glad to hear you enjoyed the post.
          Rick

        • Yup, Jim, you got it right. Aerosmith were the new kids on the block, it was a big deal opening for The Who, I’m sure. A GREAT show! Glad you enjoyed the post. Take care…

      • You are most welcome, my friend. Yeah, when I came across this particular video I KNEW you would dig it. “Happy Jack” and “My Generation” are TOP NOTCH but “So Sad About Us” was always one of my favorite songs. Glad it was included in the set. Lots of good stuff happenin’ at SMS! Thanks, Rick.

        • Hey Jimmy, YEAH ! Another big early fave of mine was “Pictures Of Lilly” at 15, I could relate!
          As always Jimmy, thanx for a great post and your kind words ! and, the fact remains, I still think of you as “Reader, Ground Zero” ! Thanx for staying with us from the very beginning !
          Rick

      • I agree with you about Aerosmith and the WHO…WOW…what a great show!! So many times we ate witness to events that at the time we have NO CLUE as to their possibly other worldly consequences in the unimagined future!!

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