September 24, 2020

1999-02-24 – The Town Talk

1999 02 24 The_Town_Talk_Wed__Feb_24__1999_

A portrait of rock’s favorite loon, Keith Moon

By Patrick O’Gara
Toledo Blade

I Moon: The Life and Death
of a Rock Legend by Tony
Fletcher (Avon, $30) '

“Hope I die before I get old.”

— From “My Generation” by
Pete Townshend of The Who.

A couple of years befone his own
death, Keith Moon described his
way of life: “I always get up at six
in the morning and I have my
bangers (sausages) and eggs and I
drink a bottle of Dom Perignon
and half a bottle of brandy, then
I’ll take a couple of downers,
(tranquilizers) and then it’s about
ten o’clock and I’ll have a nice
nap and sleep until about five or
s1x.

“Then I’ll get up, have a couple
of black beauties (ampheta-
mines), some brandy, a little
champagne, and go out on the
town. We’ll go out and have some-
thing to eat.

“I’ll have a little brandy and
some champagne and then we’ll
go out boogying.. Then we’ll wrap
it up about three or four, go to
bed, wake up about six or seven
and start all over again.”

Not a lifestyle calculated to
ensure longevity.

Sure enough, Moon duly took
his leave of this earth just over 20
years ago, aged 32. It was no sur-
prise. Indeed, it could be argued
that he demonstrated an iron con-
stitution by managing to survive
for as long as he did.

“Moon; The Life and Death of a
Rock Legend.” is evidence that he
has not been overlooked by those
generations as yet unborn when
he died. Along with Buddy Holly,
James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Janis
Joplin and Elvis, he has been
awarded the rock equivalent of
canonization.

Maybe this is simple justice. As
the original drummer for The
Who, he worked tirelessly at his
chosen trade of rock star. Nobody

else spent as many hours toiling
away destroying hotel rooms.

Nobody else risked more rup-
tures picking up huge TV sets and
hurling them from windows. And
not only TVs; chairs, tables,
lamps — anything not nailed
down — all succumbed to the
immutable law of gravity.

Some articles that actually were
nailed down, Moon wrenched
from floors or walls at great phys-
ical effort, and at considerable
personal danger and duly defen-
estrated.

Modestly, he never sought pay-
ment for his work as a removal
man. His only reward was a
gigantic bill from the hotel,
invariably accompanied with a
polite but firm request never to
favor the establishment with his
presence again.

His behavior inevitably resulted
in a great deal of publicity in the
press.

When he was not battering
through hotel walls, he battered
the drums. He possessed a talent
for this which, within the some-
what narrow intellectual con-
fines of rock ‘n’ roll, amounted to
genius.

Moon was the first and only
rock drummer to put percussion
on an equal emotional footing

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with the guitar. He did not play burgeoned into international a few quid aside for a rainy day.”

with technical brilliance, but he
knew how_ to make his drums talk

or, in his case, shout.
Generating excitement took

stardom, we locals basked in the
reflected notoriety and partied

with them at their annual
Christmas bash at the

precedence over laying down a Hammersmith Odeon, a London

steady beat.

Fortunately for Moon, and fel-
low bandmates Roger Daltrey,
Pete Townshend, and the impas-
sive and impeturbable bass gui-
tarist John Entwhistle kept The
Who running on a disciplined
rhythmic track. The result was a
series of stage performances of
literally deafening volume,
backed with eye-popping laser
displays and the deliberate bust-
ing—up of electric guitars that
electrified audiences worldwide.
Only the Rolling Stones came
close as a live act.

Here I must declare an interest,
as the politicians are supposed to
say. In the beginning The Who
was a West London band, and I
was a West London lad way back
in the 1960s. As the group steadily

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concert hall.

Then, in the late 1970s, I spent
several hours on various occa-
sions in Moon’s company. At that
time, the idea of anyone wanting
to write his biography would
have seemed, I imagine, laugh-
able. The notion of posterity
would have meant about as much
to him as the concept of “putting

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No one was taking notes, for sure.

The rock world is not richly
endowed with Boswells, as
author Tony Fletcher ruefully
attests. Days in Moon’s company
were likely to be remembered
hazily the following morning, if
indeed one was capable of
remembering anything at all. I do
recall Moon telling me that he
sweated ofl‘ about seven pounds
during every, live show. Whether
that is true or not is another
thing. He may have just liked the
idea of it.

7:20-9:35

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