A Rockapaedia Obituaries
Band: The Who
Keith Moon died, aged thirty-two, of a suspected overdose on 7th September 1978. Keith was found dead in bed at his flat in Curzon Street, Mayfair, London, by his fiancee, Annette Walter-Lax. It was discovered that there were thirty two clomethiazole pills in Keith Moon's system. Six were digested, sufficient to cause his death; the other twenty-six were undigested at his moment of death. Keith was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in London, UK and his ashes were scattered in its Gardens of Remembrance.
Keith Moon was born to Alfred and Kathleen Moon on 23rd August 1946 in northwest London, UK, and grew up in the Wembley area. He was hyperactive as a boy, with a restless imagination and a particular fondness for The Goon Show and music. Keith Moon attended Alperton Secondary Modern School after failing his eleven-plus exam. His art teacher said in a report: "Retarded artistically. Idiotic in other respects". His music teacher wrote that Keith Moon "has great ability, but must guard against a tendency to show off."
Keith Moon joined his local Sea Cadet Corps band at the age of twelve on the bugle, but found the instrument too difficult to learn and decided to take up drums instead. He was also interested in practical jokes and home science kits, with a particular fondness for explosions. On his way home from school, Keith Moon would often go to Macari's Music Studio on Ealing Road to practise on the drums there, learning his basic drumming skills. Keith Moon left school at age fourteen and then enrolled at Harrow Technical College which led to employment as a radio repairman, enabling him to buy his first drum kit.
Keith Moon took lessons from one of the loudest contemporary drummers, Screaming Lord Sutch's Carlo Little, at ten shillings (50p) per lesson. Keith Moon's early style was influenced by jazz, American surf music and rhythm and blues, exemplified by noted Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine. His favourite musicians were jazz artists, particularly Gene Krupa. Keith also admired Elvis Presley's original drummer DJ Fontana, the Shadows' original drummer Tony Meehan and the Pretty Things' drummer Viv Prince. He also enjoyed singing, with a particular interest in Motown.
During this time Keith Moon joined his first serious band: the Escorts, replacing his best friend Gerry Evans. In December nineteen-sixty-two he joined the Beachcombers, a semi-professional London cover band playing hits by groups including the Shadows. During his time in the group Keith Moon incorporated theatrical tricks into his act, including "shooting" the group's lead singer with a starter pistol. The Beachcombers all had day jobs but Keith Moon, who worked in the sales department at British Gypsum, had the keenest interest in turning professional. In April nineteen-sixty-four, at age seventeen, he auditioned for the Who as a replacement for Doug Sandom.
A commonly cited story of how Keith Moon joined the Who is that he appeared at a show shortly after Sandom's departure, where a session drummer was used. Dressed in ginger clothes and with his hair dyed ginger, he claimed to his would-be bandmates that he could play better and played in the set's second half, nearly demolishing the drum kit in the process. Roger Daltrey, who was the Who's spokesman, said: 'What are you doing next Monday?' Keith Moon later claimed that he was never formally invited to join the Who permanently and when Ringo Starr asked how he had joined the band, he told him that he had just been filling in for the last fifteen years.
Keith Moon's arrival in the Who changed the dynamics of the group. Sandom had generally been the peacemaker as Daltrey and Townshend feuded between themselves, but because of Keith Moon's temperament the group now had four members frequently in conflict. Keith Moon also clashed with Daltrey and Townshend. Although Townshend described him as a completely different person to anyone he'd ever met, the pair had a rapport in the early years and enjoyed practical jokes and improvised comedy. Keith Moon's drumming style affected the band's musical structure, although Jon Entwistle initially found Keith Moon's lack of conventional time-keeping problematic.
Keith Moon was particularly fond of touring, since it was his only chance to regularly socialise with his bandmates, and was generally restless and bored when not playing live. This later carried over to other aspects of his life, as he acted them out.
Keith Moon is quoted as saying in the Melody Maker, September nineteen-seventy, that he supposed as a drummer, that he was adequate but he had no real aspirations to be a great drummer; He just want to play drums for the Who and that was it.
Keith Moon's style of drumming was considered unique by his bandmates, although they sometimes found his unconventional playing frustrating; Jon Entwistle noted that he tended to play faster or slower according to his mood and wouldn't play across his kit. He later added that he'd play zig-zag and that was why he had two sets of tom-toms. Roger Daltrey has said that Keith Moon just instinctively put drum rolls in places that other people would never have thought of putting them.
Contemporary critics questioned Keith Moon's ability to keep time, with biographer Tony Fletcher suggesting that the timing on 'Tommy' was "all over the place." It was not until the recording of 'Who's Next', with Glyn Johns' no-nonsense production techniques and the need to keep time to a synthesizer track, that Keith Moon began developing more discipline in the studio. Fletcher considers the drumming on that long playing record to be the best of Keith Moon's career.
Unlike contemporary rock drummers such as Ginger Baker and John Bonham, Keith Moon hated drum solos and refused to play them in concert. At a Madison Square Garden show on 10th June nineteen-seventy-four, Townshend and Entwistle decided to spontaneously stop playing during "Wasp Man" to listen to Keith Moon's drum solo. Keith Moon continued briefly and then stopped, shouting "Drum solos are boring!" However, in nineteen-seventy-seven, he made a guest appearance in a Led Zeppelin concert, joining John Bonham for his "Moby Dick" drum solo. The concert was bootlegged as 'For Badgeholders Only'.
Although not an especially gifted vocalist, Keith Moon was enthusiastic about singing and wanted to sing lead with the rest of the group. While the other three members handled the lion's share of onstage vocals, Keith Moon would attempt to sing backup. He provided humorous commentary during song announcements, although sound engineer Bob Pridden preferred to mute his vocal microphone on the mixing desk whenever possible. Keith Moon's knack for making his bandmates laugh around the microphone led them to banish him from the studio when vocals were being recorded and this led to a game in which Keith Moon would sneak in to join the singing. At the end of the song "Happy Jack," Pete Townshend can be heard saying "I saw ya!" to Keith Moon as he tries to sneak into the studio.
Keith Moon composed "I Need You" ,which he also sang, the instrumental "Cobwebs and Strange", from the long playing record 'A Quick One' and also the single B-sides "In The City" (co-written with Entwistle) and "Girl's Eyes", from 'The Who Sell Out' sessions featured on Thirty Years of Maximum Rythm&Blues and a 1995 re-release of 'The Who Sell Out', "Dogs Part Two", "Tommy's Holiday Camp" and "Waspman" . Keith Moon also co-composed "The Ox" (an instrumental from their debut long playing record, My Generation) with Townshend, Entwistle and keyboardist Nicky Hopkins. The setting for "Tommy's Holiday Camp" (from Tommy) was credited to Keith Moon; the song was primarily written by Townshend.
Keith Moon produced the violin solo on "Baba O'Riley" and sat in on congas with East of Eden at the Lyceum, and afterwards suggested to violinist Dave Arbus that he play on the track.
Keith Moon played a four, then a five-piece drum kit during his early career. His nineteen-sixty-five set consisted of Ludwig drums and Zildjian cymbals. By nineteen-sixty-six, feeling limited by this setup and inspired by Ginger Baker's double bass drum, he switched to a larger Premier kit. This setup did not have a hi-hat, since Keith Moon used crash and ride cymbals instead. He remained a loyal customer of Premier.
Keith Moon's Classic Red Sparkle Premier setup consisted of two 22-inch bass drums, three 14-inch mounted toms, two 16-inch floor toms and a 14-inch Ludwig Supraphonic 400 snare. His cymbals consisted of two Paiste Giant Beat 18-inch crashes and one 20-inch ride. This drum-kit was not used at the Who's performance at the nineteen-sixty-seven Monterey Pop Festival. From nineteen-sixty-seven to nineteen-sixty-nine Keith Moon used the "Pictures of Lily" drum kit, named for its artwork, which had two 22-inch bass drums, two 16-inch floor toms and three mounted toms. In recognition of his loyalty to the company, Premier reissued the kit in 2006 as the "Spirit of Lily."
By nineteen-seventy Keith Moon had begun to use timbales, gongs and timpani, and these were included in his setup for the rest of his career. In nineteen-seventy-three Premier's marketing manager, Eddie Haynes, began consulting with Keith Moon about specific requirements. At one point, Keith Moon asked Premier to make a white kit with gold-plated fittings. When Haynes said that it would be prohibitively expensive, Keith Moon replied: "Dear boy, do exactly as you feel it should be, but that's the way I want it." The kit was eventually fitted with copper fittings and later given to a young Zak Starkey.
At an early show at the Railway Tavern in Harrow,UK, Townshend smashed his guitar after accidentally breaking it. When the audience demanded he do it again, Keith Moon kicked over his drum kit. Subsequent live sets culminated in what the band later described as "auto-destructive art," in which band members (particularly Keith Moon and Townshend) elaborately destroyed their equipment. Keith Moon developed a habit of kicking over his drums, claiming that he did so in exasperation at an audience's indifference. Townshend later said, "A set of skins is about $300 and after every show he'd just go bang, bang, bang and then kick the whole thing over."
In May nineteen-sixty-six, Keith Moon discovered that the Beach Boys' Bruce Johnston was visiting London. After the pair socialised for a few days, Keith Moon and Entwistle brought Johnston to the set of Ready Steady Go!, which made them late for a show with the Who that evening. During the finale of "My Generation," an altercation broke out on stage between Keith Moon and Townshend which was reported on the front page of the New Musical Express the following week. Keith Moon and Entwistle left the Who for a week.
On the Who's early US package tour at the RKO Theatre in New York in March and April nineteen-sixty-seven Keith Moon performed five shows a day, kicking over his drum kit after every show. Later that year, during their appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, he bribed a stagehand to load gunpowder into one of his bass drums; the stagehand used about ten times the standard amount. During the finale of "My Generation," he kicked the drum off the riser and set off the charge. The intensity of the explosion singed Townshend's hair and embedded a piece of cymbal in Keith Moon's arm. A clip of the incident became the opening scene for the film The Kids Are Alright.
While Keith Moon generally said he was only interested in working with the Who, he participated in outside musical projects. In nineteen-sixty-six he worked with Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, pianist Nicky Hopkins and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones on the instrumental "Beck's Bolero," which was the B-side to "Hi Ho Silver Lining" and appeared on the long playing record 'Truth'. Keith Moon also played timpani on another track, a cover of Jerome Kern's "Ol' Man River." He was credited on the long playing record as "You Know Who."
Keith Moon may have inspired the name for Led Zeppelin. When he briefly considered leaving the Who in nineteen-sixty-six, he spoke with Entwistle and Page about forming a supergroup. Keith Moon,or Entwistle, remarked that a particular suggestion had gone down like a "lead zeppelin". Although the supergroup was never formed, Page remembered the phrase and later adapted it as the name of his new band.
The Beatles became friends with Keith Moon, leading to occasional collaborations. In nineteen-sixty-seven, he contributed backing vocals to "All You Need Is Love." On 15th December nineteen-sixty-nine, Keith Moon joined John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band for a live performance at the Lyceum Theatre in London for a UNICEF charity concert. In nineteen-seventy-two the performance was released as a companion disc to Lennon and Ono's long playing record, 'Some Time in New York City'.
Keith Moon's friendship with Entwistle led to an appearance on 'Smash Your Head Against the Wall', Entwistle's first solo long playing record and the first by a member of the Who. Keith Moon did not play drums on the long playing record; Jerry Shirley did, with Keith Moon providing percussion.' Rolling Stone's John Hoegel appreciated Entwistle's decision not to let Keith Moon drum, saying that it distanced his LP from the familiar sound of the Who.'
Keith Moon became involved in solo work when he moved to Los Angeles during the mid-nineteen-seventies. In nineteen-seventy-four, Track Records-MCA released a Keith Moon solo single covering the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry, Baby" and "Teenage Idol." The next year he released his only solo long playing record, entitled 'Two Sides of the Keith Moon'. Although it featured Keith Moon on vocals, he played drums on only three tracks; most of the drumming was left to others, including Ringo Starr, session musicians Curly Smith and Jim Keltner and actor-musician Miguel Ferrer. The long playing record was received poorly by critics. NME's Roy Carr wrote, "Keith Moonie, if you didn't have talent, I wouldn't care; but you have, which is why I'm not about to accept 'Two Sides of the Keith Moon'. Dave Marsh, reviewing the long playing record in Rolling Stone, wrote: "There isn't any legitimate reason for this long playing record's existence." During one of his few televised solo drum performances, for ABC's Wide World, Keith Moon played a five-minute drum solo dressed as a cat on transparent acrylic drums filled with water and goldfish. When asked by an audience member what would happen to the kit, he joked that "even the best drummers get hungry." His performance was not appreciated by animal lovers, several of whom called the station with complaints.
In the 2007 documentary film, Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who, Daltrey and Townshend reminisced about Keith Moon's talent for dressing as ,and embodying, a variety of characters. They remembered his dream of getting out of music and becoming a Hollywood film actor, although Daltrey did not think Keith Moon had the patience and work ethic required by a professional actor.
Nevertheless, Keith Moon landed several acting roles. His first was in nineteen-seventy-one, a cameo in Frank Zappa's 200 Motels as a nun afraid of dying from a drug overdose. Although it only took 13 days to film, fellow cast member Howard Kaylan remembers Keith Moon spending off-camera time at the Kensington Garden Hotel bar instead of sleeping. Keith Moon's next film role was J.D. Clover, drummer for the fictional Stray Cats at a holiday camp during the early days of British rock 'n' roll, in nineteen-seventy-three's 'That'll Be the Day'. He reprised the role for the film's nineteen-seventy-four sequel, Stardust, and played Uncle Ernie in Ken Russell's nineteen-seventy-five film adaptation of Tommy. Keith Moon's last film appearance was in nineteen-seventy-eight's Sextette with Starr and Alice Cooper. This was the last film to star Mae West.
Keith Moon led a destructive lifestyle. During the Who's early days he began taking amphetamines, and in a New Musical Express interview said his favourite food was "French Blues." He spent his share of the band's income quickly, and was a regular at London clubs such as the Speakeasy and the Bag O' Nails; the combination of pills and alcohol escalating into alcoholism and drug addiction later in his life.
According to Townshend, Keith Moon began destroying hotel rooms when the Who stayed at the Berlin Hilton on tour in late nineteen-sixty-six. In addition to hotel rooms, Keith Moon destroyed friends' homes and even his own, throwing furniture from upper-storey windows and lighting fires. Andrew Neill and Matthew Kent estimated that his destruction of hotel toilets and plumbing cost as much as £300,000. These acts, often fuelled by drugs and alcohol, were Keith Moon's way of demonstrating his eccentricity; he enjoyed shocking the public with them. Longtime friend and personal assistant Butler observed, "He was trying to make people laugh and be Mr Funny, he wanted people to love him and enjoy him, but he would go so far. Like a train ride you couldn't stop."
In one incident, during a limousine ride to an airport, Keith Moon insisted on returning to their hotel, saying "I forgot something." At the hotel he ran back to his room, grabbed the television and threw it out the window into the swimming pool below, then jumped back into the limo, saying "I almost forgot to do that."
Fletcher argues that The Who's lengthy break between the end of their nineteen-seventy-two European tour and the beginning of the Quadrophenia sessions devastated Keith Moon's health, as without the rigours of lengthy shows and regular touring that had previously kept him in shape, his hard-partying lifestyle took a greater toll on his body. He did not keep a drum kit or practice at Tara, and began to deteriorate physically as a result of his lifestyle. Around the same time he became a severe alcoholic, starting the day with drinks and changing from the "lovable boozer", he presented himself as, to a "boorish drunk". David Puttnam recalled, "The drinking went from being a joke to being a problem. On 'That'll Be the Day' it was social drinking. By the time Stardust came round it was hard drinking."
Keith Moon's favourite stunt was to flush powerful explosives down toilets. According to Fletcher, Keith Moon's toilet pyrotechnics began in nineteen-sixty-five when he purchased a case of 500 cherry bombs. He moved from cherry bombs to M-80 fireworks to sticks of dynamite, which became his explosive of choice. "All that porcelain flying through the air was quite unforgettable," Keith Moon remembered. "I never realised dynamite was so powerful. I'd been used to penny bangers before." He quickly developed a reputation for destroying bathrooms and blowing up toilets. The destruction mesmerised him, and enhanced his public image as rock's premier hell-raiser. Tony Fletcher wrote that "no toilet in a hotel or changing room was safe" until Keith Moon had exhausted his supply of explosives.
Pete Townshend walked into the bathroom of Keith Moon's hotel room and noticed the toilet had disappeared, with only the S-bend remaining. The drummer explained that since a cherry bomb was about to explode, he had thrown it down the loo and showed Townshend the case of cherry bombs. "And of course from that moment on," the guitarist remembered, "we got thrown out of every hotel we ever stayed in."
Entwistle recalled being close to Keith Moon on tour: "I suppose we were two of a kind"... We shared a room on the road and got up to no good." Consequently, both were often involved in blowing up toilets. In a 1981 Los Angeles Times interview he admitted, "A lot of times when Keith was blowing up toilets I was standing behind him with the matches." In Alabama, Keith Moon and Entwistle loaded a toilet with cherry bombs after being denied room service. According to Entwistle, "That toilet was just dust all over the walls by the time we checked out. The management brought our suitcases down to the gig and said: 'Don't come back ...'"
A hotel manager called Keith Moon in his room and asked him to lower the volume on his cassette recorder because it made "too much noise." In response the drummer asked him up to his room, excused himself to go to the bathroom, put a lit stick of dynamite in the toilet and shut the bathroom door. Upon returning, he asked the manager to stay for a moment, as he wanted to explain something. Following the explosion, Keith Moon turned the recorder back on and said, "That, dear boy, was noise. This is the 'Oooooo."
On 23rd August nineteen-sixty-seven, on tour opening for Herman's Hermits, Keith Moon celebrated what he said was his 21st birthday (although it was thought at the time to be his 20th) at a Holiday Inn in Flint, Michigan. Entwistle later said, "He decided that if it was a publicised fact that it was his 21st birthday, he would be able to drink."
Keith Moon immediately began drinking upon his arrival in Flint. The Who spent the afternoon visiting local radio stations with Nancy Lewis (then the band's publicist), and Keith Moon posed for a photo outside the hotel in front of a "Happy Birthday Keith" sign put up by the hotel management. According to Lewis, Keith Moon was drunk by the time the band went onstage at the Atwood High School football stadium.
Returning to the hotel, Keith Moon started a food fight and soon cake began flying through the air. The drummer knocked out part of his front tooth; at the hospital, doctors could not give him an anaesthetic (due to his inebriation) before removing the remainder of the tooth. Back at the hotel a mêlée erupted; fire extinguishers were set off, guests thrown into the swimming pool and a piano reportedly destroyed. The chaos ended only when police arrived with guns drawn.
A furious Holiday Inn management presented the groups with a bill for twenty-four thousand dollars which was reportedly settled by Herman's Hermits tour manager Edd McCann. Townshend claimed that the Who were banned for life from all of the hotel's properties, but Fletcher wrote that they stayed at a Holiday Inn in Rochester, New York a week later. He also disputed a widely held belief that Keith Moon drove a Lincoln Continental into the hotel's swimming pool, as claimed by the drummer in a nineteen-seventy-two Rolling Stone interview.
By this point in his career, it was uncertain whether Keith Moon could finish a show without incident. Keith Moon's lifestyle began to undermine his health and reliability. During the nineteen-seventy-three Quadrophenia tour, at the Who's debut US date at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California, Keith Moon ingested a mixture of tranquillisers and brandy. During the concert, Keith Moon passed out on his drum kit during "Won't Get Fooled Again." The band stopped playing, and a group of roadies carried Keith Moon offstage. They gave him a shower and an injection of cortisone, sending him back onstage after a thirty-minute delay. Keith Moon passed out again during "Magic Bus," and was again removed from the stage. The band continued without him for several songs before Townshend asked, "Can anyone play the drums? – I mean somebody good?" A drummer from the audience did come up and played the remainder of the show.
During the opening date of the Who's March nineteen-seventy-six US tour at the Boston Garden, Keith Moon passed out over his drum kit after two numbers and the show was rescheduled. The next evening Keith Moon systematically destroyed everything in his hotel room, cut himself doing so and passed out. He was discovered by manager Bill Curbishley, who took him to a hospital. Doctors told Curbishley that if he had not intervened, Keith Moon would have bled to death. Marsh suggested that at this point Daltrey and Entwistle seriously considered firing Keith Moon, but decided that doing so would make his life worse.
Entwistle has said that Keith Moon and the Who reached their live peak in nineteen-seventy-five or seventy-six. At the end of the nineteen-seventy-six US tour in Miami that August, Keith Moon, delirious, was treated in Hollywood Memorial Hospital for eight days. The group was concerned that he would be unable to complete the last leg of the tour, which ended at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on 21st October and was Keith Moon's last public show. During the Who's recording sabbatical between nineteen-seventy-six and nineteen-seventy-eight, Keith Moon gained a considerable amount of weight. By the time of the Who's invitation-only show at the Kilburn Gaumont in December nineteen-seventy-seven for The Kids are Alright, Keith Moon was visibly overweight and had difficulty sustaining a solid performance. After recording 'Who Are You', Townshend refused to follow the long playing record with a tour until Keith Moon stopped drinking, and said that if Keith Moon's playing did not improve he would be fired. Roger Daltrey later denied threatening to fire him, but said that by this time Keith Moon was out of control.
Because the Who's early stage act relied on smashing instruments, and owing to Keith Moon's enthusiasm for damaging hotels, the group were in debt for much of the 1960's; Entwistle estimated they lost about £150,000. Even when the group became relatively financially stable after Tommy, Keith Moon continued to rack up debts. He bought a number of cars and gadgets, and flirted with bankruptcy.
Before the 1998 release of Tony Fletcher's book 'Dear Boy:The Life of Keith Keith Moon', Keith Moon's date of birth was presumed to be 23rd August 1947. This erroneous date appeared in several otherwise-reliable sources, including the Townshend-authorised biography 'Before I Get Old: The Story of The Who'. The incorrect date had been supplied by Keith Moon in interviews before it was corrected by Fletcher to 1946.
Keith Moon's first serious relationship was with Kim Kerrigan, whom he started dating in January nineteen-sixty-five after she saw the Who play at Le Disque a Go! Go! in Bournemouth. By the end of the year, she discovered she was pregnant; her parents, who were furious, met with the Keith Moon to discuss their options and she moved into Keith Moon's family home in Wembley. They were married on 17th March nineteen-sixty-six at Brent Registry Office, and their daughter Amanda was born on 12th July. The marriage and child were kept secret from the press until May 1968.
From nineteen-seventy-one to nineteen-seventy-five Keith Moon owned Tara, a home in Chertsey where he initially lived with his wife and daughter. The Moons entertained extravagantly at home, and owned a number of cars. Jack McCullogh, then working for Track Records, recalls Keith Moon ordering him to purchase a milk float to store in the garage at Tara.
In nineteen-seventy-three Kim, convinced that neither she nor anyone else could moderate Keith's behaviour, left her husband and took Amanda; she sued for divorce in nineteen-seventy-five and later married Faces keyboard player Ian McLagan. Marsh believes that Keith Moon never truly recovered from the loss of his family. Butler agrees; despite his relationship with Annette Walter-Lax, he believes that Kim was the only woman Keith Moon loved. McLagan commented that Keith Moon "couldn't handle it." Keith Moon would harass them with phone calls, and on one occasion before Kim sued for divorce, he invited McLagan for a drink at a Richmond pub and sent several "heavies" to break into McLagan's home on Fife Road and look for Kim, forcing her to hide in a walk-in closet. She died in a car accident in Austin, Texas on 2 August 2006.
In nineteen-seventy-five Keith Moon began a relationship with Swedish model Annette Walter-Lax, who later said that Keith Moon was "so sweet when he was sober, that I was just living with him in the hope that he would kick all this craziness." She begged Malibu neighbour Larry Hagman to check Keith Moon into a clinic to dry out, as he had attempted to do before, but when doctors recorded Keith Moon's chemical intake at breakfast – a bottle of champagne, Courvoisier and amphetamines – they concluded that there was no hope for his rehabilitation.
Keith Moon enjoyed being the life of the party. Bill Curbishley remembered that "he wouldn't walk into any room and just listen. He was an attention seeker and he had to have it."
Early in the Who's career, Keith Moon got to know the Beatles. He would join them at clubs, forming a particularly close friendship with Ringo Starr. Keith Moon later became friends with Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band members Vivian Stanshall and "Legs" Larry Smith, and the trio would drink and play practical jokes together. Smith remembers one occasion where he and Keith Moon tore apart a pair of trousers, with an accomplice later looking for one-legged trousers. In the early nineteen-seventies Keith Moon helped Stanshall with his "Radio Flashes" radio show for BBC Radio 1, filling in for the vacationing John Peel. Subsequently, in nineteen-seventy-three, Keith Moon himself filled in for John Peel in "A Touch of the Keith Moon", a series of four programmes produced by John Walters.
Guitarist Joe Walsh enjoyed socialising with Keith Moon. In an interview with Guitar World magazine, he recalled that the drummer "taught me how to break things." In nineteen-seventy-four, Keith Moon struck up a friendship with actor Oliver Reed while working on the film version of Tommy. Although Reed matched Keith Moon drink for drink, he appeared on set the next morning ready to perform; Keith Moon, on the other hand, would cost several hours of filming time. Reed later said that Keith Moon "showed me the way to insanity."
Peter "Dougal" Butler began working for the Who in nineteen-sixty-seven, becoming Keith Moon's personal assistant the following year to help him stay out of trouble. He remembers managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp saying, "We trust you with Keith but if you ever want any time off, for a holiday or some sort of rest, let us know and we'll pay for it." Butler never took them up on the offer.
He followed Keith Moon when the drummer relocated to Los Angeles, but felt that the drug culture prevalent at the time was bad for Keith Moon: "My job was to have eyes in the back of my head." Townshend agreed, saying that by nineteen-seventy-five Butler had "no influence over him whatsoever." Although he was a loyal companion to Keith Moon, the lifestyle eventually became too much for him; he phoned Curbishley, saying that they needed to move back to England or one of them might die. Butler quit in nineteen-seventy-eight, and later wrote of his experiences in a book entitled 'Full Keith Moon:The Amazing Rock and Roll Life of Keith Keith Moon'.
On 4th January nineteen-seventy Keith Moon accidentally killed his friend, driver and bodyguard, Neil Boland, outside the Red Lion pub in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. Pub patrons had begun to attack his Bentley and Keith Moon, drunk, began driving to escape them. During the fracas, he hit Boland. After an investigation, the coroner ruled Boland's death an accident and Keith Moon received an absolute discharge after being charged with a number of offences.
Those close to Keith Moon said that he was haunted by Boland's death for the rest of his life. According to Pamela Des Barres, Keith Moon had nightmares, which woke them both, about the incident and said he had no right to be alive.
In mid-nineteen-seventy-eight Keith Moon moved into Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London, renting from Harry Nilsson. Cass Elliot had died there four years earlier, at the age of 32; Nilsson was concerned about letting the flat to Keith Moon, believing it was cursed. Townshend disagreed, assuring him that "lightning wouldn't strike the same place twice".
After moving in, Keith Moon began a prescribed course of Heminevrin to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms. He wanted to get sober, but due to his fear of psychiatric hospitals he wanted to do it at home. Clomethiazole is discouraged for unsupervised detoxification because of its addictive potential, its tendency to induce tolerance, and its risk of death when mixed with alcohol. The pills were prescribed by Geoffrey Dymond, a physician who was unaware of Keith Moon's lifestyle. Dymond prescribed a bottle of one hundred pills, instructing him to take one pill when he felt a craving for alcohol but not more than three pills per day.
By September nineteen-seventy-eight Keith Moon was having difficulty playing the drums, according to roadie Dave "Cy" Langston. After seeing Keith Moon in the studio trying to overdub drums for The Kids Are Alright, he said, "After two or three hours, he got more and more sluggish, he could barely hold a drum stick."
On 6th September Keith Moon and Walter-Lax were guests of Paul and Linda McCartney at a preview of the film, The Buddy Holly Story. After dining with the McCartneys at Peppermint Park in Covent Garden, Keith Moon and Walter-Lax returned to their flat. He watched a movie, 'The Abominable Dr. Phibes', and asked Annette to cook him steak and eggs. When she objected, Keith Moon replied, "If you don't like it, you can fuck off!" These were his last words. Keith Moon then took thirty-two clomethiazole tablets. When Annette checked on him the following afternoon, she discovered he was dead.
Curbishley phoned the flat at around five pm looking for Keith Moon, and Dymond gave him the news. Curbishley told Townshend, who informed the rest of the band. Entwistle was giving an interview to French journalists when he was interrupted by a phone call with the news of Keith Moon's death. Trying to tactfully and quickly end the interview, he broke down and wept when the journalist asked him about the Who's future plans.
Keith Moon's death came shortly after the release of 'Who Are You'. On the long playing record's cover, he is straddling a chair to hide his weight gain; the words "Not to be taken away" are on the back of the chair.
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