If you've ever heard of the stereotype that drummers are crazy, or that they tend to die (like say, in Spinaltap for example) these legends both largely derive from the one and only Keith Moon. Well known for smashing his drums up at the end of gigs, as well as smashing up hotel rooms after that. When his doctor told him he had to stop drinking a bottle of whiskey every day, he switched to a bottle of brandy. He essentially spent his entire life drunk and stoned (as evidenced by his maniacal drumming: check out the video for the Isle of Wight Festival if you're interested, as well as by his solo album Two Sides of the Moon).

He had his own internal clock... definitely not just a metronome... he brought drumming up to the level of being a musical instrument instead of just a rhythm keeping device.

When he died, The Who really died with him. Although Pete Townshend was the driving force behind the band, Keith was the animal passion underneath that made sure the band had bite.

Keith Moon was the drummer in the English rock band The Who. From what I have heard and seen he seems to be a bit crazy, but his abilities on the drums are simply amazing. He's swinging his arms around, hitting his drums as fast as few people can do it, making jokes on stage, fooling around off stage.

I have to agree with StopTheViolins that Keith Moon was a very, very great drummer, but I have to admit that I don't know as much about music as other people may know, so I won't say he's the best.

If you want to know, why we think that he was so good, then get some live records from The Who (e.g. Heaven And Hell from Live At Leeds) and listen to Keith's drumming style.

He was a wild person, destroying drum kits and hotel rooms after Who shows, but also a funny guy (listen to Keith's comments to Pete's talk about A Quick One (While He's Away) from Live At Leeds). It's sad that he took too many drugs and drunk a bit too much.

Keith Moon was born on August 23, 1946 (thanks Layla), in Wembley, London. Even when he was young, he was simply Keith Moon-like, supposedly one of his teachers has written the following about him: "Retarded artistically, idiotic in other respects."

As a young man, Keith played in a band, the Beachcombers, a surf music group. Keith liked that kind of music and also groups like the Beach Boys. At the same time, in the same town, a young band, called the Detours, had problems with their drummer Doug Sandom, who left the band. After that the Detours had a drummer, who played with them at their shows. At one such gig, a drunk man approached the group and told them he had a friend, who was a much better drummer than their current substitute.

Some days later Keith played a few songs with the band, which were The Who by now, and became their new drummer. He was wondering if leaving the Beachcombers and joining The Who, who had a very bad reputation, was a good idea, but he did it nevertheless, because the Who was a better band. Keith was 18 at that time.

John and Keith would become the very close friends, but Keith had some problems with Roger. He told him he couldn't sing, because he didn't like many of the Who's records. Perhaps that's why Roger once flushed Keith's pills and knocked him out after Keith attacked him. The Who solved this problem by kicking out Roger and bringing him back in again, after he promised that he would be more peaceful.

At this time (1965) Keith and Pete were already smashing their equipment after their shows. Probably the most famous act of destroying his drums was at the Smothers Brothers show, when he had explosives in his bass drum that exploded during "My Generation". Keith got a piece of a cymbal into his leg and Pete temporarily lost his hearing; arguably his later hearing problems are from this show, too.

When he wasn't recording our touring with The Who, Keith used to be at parties, drinking, and taking pills. He often smashed hotel rooms, when he was touring, and got banned from pubs and restaurants. He enjoyed dressing up, e.g. as Adolf Hitler, Santa Claus, etc.

Of course, this lifestyle began to take its toll on him physically. His heavy drug usage made him look fatter and older than he really was. He did, however, try to get a bit cleaner and cut back his drinking. It didn't help much, so on September 7, 1978, he died in London after taking too many of his prescription pills (32). He was 32 years old.

Rock music had lost one of its greatest drummers.

Keith John Moon was born 23 August, 1946 in Wembley, London, England. Yes, 1946. For some reason or another, Keith always lied to people about his age.

Ever since he was very young, Keith always had the personality and zaniness he is mostly remembered for. One of his grade school teachers once wrote about him that he was "Retarded artistically, idiotic in other respects.", another one saying "His behaviour is rather young for his age." Not everyone was always amused by him, but he always enjoyed the attention.

Although crazy enough without them, drugs were a huge part of Keith's notoriety. Even before he joined the Who when he was 18 in 1964, Keith was doing speed. He was "completely in love with speed" according to Tony Fletcher, a Keith Moon biographer and former mod. The members of his first band, The Beachcombers, often stated that Keith would only get picked up and dropped off from an Italian cofeeshop, which is where he got his speed.

These drugs fuelled his maniacal drumming, making him very offbeat-he wasn't the best timekeeper in the world, but he was FAST. He and Pete Townshend began, in 1965, smashing their instruments at gigs, causing them sufficient debt.

Enough of the boring biography. Here's the debauchery.

Keith Moon is one of the large reasons that drummers are seen as crazy, drunken fools. He was even the inspiration for "The Muppets"'s Animal character. He was the ultimate rock star, indulging in booze, drugs, and women. He also liked to dress up in women's clothing and have sex in public places.

Once, he went into an Italian restaurant with seven prostitutes, sat them up on the bar, and declared "I am the great Moonio!". He then proceeded to perform cunnilingus on all of them, to the delight of the girls and the horror of the restaurant management.

Keith could not drive. He did not have a license, and crashed his cars on multiple occasions. Pete Townshend says "He simply did not know how to steer a car, he just couldn't do it."
Keith, escaping from skinheads who were trying to attack him and his friends (no, it wasn't a mob of fans like they all say) after an escapade in a pub, accidentaly ran over his chauffeur, Neil Boland. Even though many felt this was the worst, it was an accident and Keith was haunted by it for the rest of his life.

His "20th" birthday was actually his 21st. It was held at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan, where Keith and his guests proceeded to get incredibly drunk. The attendees and Moon were making, apparently, a lot of noise, and the manager had come in to tell them to quiet down, and Keith pushed what was left of his birthday cake into the guy's face. The manager left, not saying anything, and the antics continued. Keith went outside with a fire exstinguisher and shot the foam into any car with open windows. Someone cornered him in a room and told Moon that the party was getting way out of hand. Keith then said "You're right!" and threw a lamp at him. Moon then ran away, and there were about 6 people chasing him outside.
Past this, most of this story has been retold a lot and it's not true. Moon and others claimed that Keith jumped into the pool, which didn't have any water in it, and lost his teeth. Not true! It was August, of course there was water in the pool. The morning after, The Who and Herman's Hermits were all drunk and throwing cake at each other. Keith slipped in the cake and knocked his front tooth out when he fell down. When he went to the dentist to get it fixed, he was too drunk to get painkillers!
Also, Keith claimed he drove his car into the pool there. Interesting, I thought the pool had no water in it?
They also weren't "banned for life" from the Holiday Inn right afterwards, because they stayed there later in their career. However, they were banned later.

So, yeah. Keith hit on my mom. On the insistance of jessicapierce, the following information is included.
OK, so this one night about 1973-ish, my mom was at a party in London. This party was pretty big and pretty out of control - what else did you expect? All the sudden, a giddy Keith Moon showed up at the party, followed by a drunk John Entwistle and their chauffeur (neither of them could drive), John "Wiggy" Woolf. My mom was pretty psyched, because The Who were/are her favourite band.

So, Keith was around, being Keith and all...and then he sat RIGHT NEXT to my mom on the couch. He talked to the person sitting next to her, but then turned to her and asked her name. She told him, and he put his arm around her and they were talking about things. She mentioned that she had met Cynthia Plastercaster the night before, and she mentioned how Jimi Hendrix had the largest...uhm..cast. Keith laughed and claimed that he could top that. One of the plastercasters happened to be there that night (I think that's what started the conversation...), and so Keith was asking if he could get it done right there (he didn't, she didn't have the..erm..materials, and Keith never did get it done). In some sort of crazy rush to prove to my mother that he was man enough, he just...whips it out in front of her...yeah....

Apparently, he could not top Jimi, and my mom laughed at him. So he got mad and stormed off.
Imagine that (not's the weirdest Moonie story I've heard from her, by the way).

Glyn Johns: Most of the stories about Keith Moon aren't really very funny. They usually involved some elderly person getting injured or something horrible.

One time in the late 70s, Keith walked through a Jewish neighbourhood...dressed like Hitler. He yelled out "Seig Heil!" and walked into a deli, demanding German bread. The owner then proceeded to chase him and his cohorts out, beating Keith with a large breadstick.

Keith was friends with the also-late Graham Chapman(of Monty Python fame). Graham was bad with money, and Keith often taunted him about this, one time throwing about a thousand pounds into a trash can, and laughing as he watched Graham fish for it.

He despised hippies. If one of them would hand him a flower, he would eat it.

Although Moon was considered foolish and mad, he wasn't always pranking and fooling around.
He was very haunted by the death of his chauffeur, and his wife, Kim Moon, left him in the mid-seventies due to his lunacy and party lifestyle. He was depressed, and gained a lot of weight in his last years. His drumming became sloppy-many of the tracks on Who Are You-his last album with the Who, went drumless because Keith coulden't supply a track.

Keith did, however, try to get his act together. He cut back on his drinking, and took Heminevrin pills, an anti-alchoholism medicine.
But on the night of 7 September, Keith had gone to see The Buddy Holly Story and attended a party at Paul and Linda McCartney's house. He left early, and returned home, and went to bed. He died in his sleep after taking too many Heminevrin. He was 32.

He became a bloated caractiture of himself in his last years. Keith is always really made out to be some kind of lunactic and an evil guy. And he wasn't. He was really a good guy. It wasn't like he killed anyone...on purpose anyway. He was often really lonely, which is probably why he tried to draw so much attention to himself.
Nutty, but a good guy.

Discography:

1975
Two Sides of The Moon

Filmography:

1969
Montery Pop
1970
Woodstock
1971
200 Motels
1973
That'll Be The Day
1974
Stardust
Sonic Boom
Son of Dracula
1975
The Who's Tommy
1978
Sexette
1979
The Kids Are Alright

"I am still the best Keith Moon-type drummer around." -Keith Moon, 1978


thanks to Moon: The Life And Death of a Rock Legend by Tony Fletcher, Maximum Who, MOJO, Q, and my mother ;)

not to be taken away

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