[imagesource: Jack-Kay, Hulton Archives, Getty Images]
Aside from being one of the greatest drummers of all time, Keith Moon also had a healthy appetite for trouble.
Ultimately, Moon’s reckless, often self-destructive lifestyle is what led to his untimely demise at the age of 32 in 1978, but he did leave behind enough wild stories to fill a book or two.
Tony Fletcher’s Dear Boy: The Life of Keith Moon is my favourite, but rather than tell his entire life story, let’s just look at some of his more legendary pranks.
Last week, we featured Rolling Stone’s greatest rock memoirs of all time, and they’re also behind the list you see below.
You can find all 10 pranks here, but we have selected five, starting with The Exploding Drummer:
The Who’s powerful early live shows were generally climaxed with Pete Townshend smashing his guitars, Moon upending his drum kit and plenty of smoke bombs going off. But when the band made its American TV debut on the September 17th, 1967, episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Moon decided to ratchet things up even further. While the band’s performance of “My Generation” was mostly mimed, the smash-up finale was unforgettably real, thanks to Moon loading his drums with considerably more flash powder than he’d ever used before. The resulting explosion nearly blew the Who themselves off the stage, briefly blinded the TV cameras, and caused actress Bette Davis – who was booked as a guest on the same program – to faint dead away in the wings.
Boom goes the dynamite:
Next up, The Kidnapped Vicar:
He loved to go out in public dressed in costume, especially if it meant getting a rise out of unsuspecting passersby. One of his favorite getups was that of a bald vicar, who would frighten old ladies by suddenly screaming torrents of obscenities at them.
Once while Moon’s “vicar” was strolling down London’s crowded Oxford Street in the middle of the day, two “gangsters” set upon him and dragged him kicking and screaming into a waiting Rolls-Royce; the kidnapping was completely staged – members of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band were reportedly involved – but it looked convincing enough to cause a police car to immediately intercept the Rolls (which actually belonged to Moon) before its occupants could even make their getaway.
I feel for the old ladies, but at least they have a good story to tell.
Ride the Wild Waterbed:
Keith Moon destroyed so many hotel rooms that the incidents tend to blend together into one big ball of devastation. One incident that particularly stands out, however, occurred on the afternoon of August 25th, 1972, when the Who were staying at a luxurious hotel in Copenhagen, Denmark. Moon, fascinated by the waterbed in his suite, attempted to enlist Pete Townshend to help him lug its water-filled mattress into the elevator, whereupon they would send it down to the lobby; unfortunately, it burst before they could extricate it from its frame, unleashing foot-high waves out into the hallway.
To avoid having to fork out for damages, Moon told the manager of the hotel that the bed bursting had destroyed his expensive stage clothes.
In the end, the manager apologised and moved Moon to the Presidential Suite.
Yes, The Who wrecked that room later in the night.
Welcome to the Club:
In 1975, [‘Tommy’ actor Oliver] Reed was walking the red carpet at a Hollywood film premiere when he was suddenly hit in the face by a lemon curd pie; as he wiped the mess from his eyes, the actor was approached by a stranger who handed him a card and an envelope.
“Pie in the Face International,” read the card. “You have been selected by Mr. Keith Moon to become a member.” In the envelope was a certificate that read, “You are a member, sponsored by Keith Moon.”
Some harmless fun and not a single hotel room destroyed.
Finally, there’s a Dine and Dash story that won’t make restaurant owners recoil in horror:
Karl Howman, a young actor on [1974’s ‘Stardust’, a rock movie], who Moon had taken under his wing, finally insisted upon covering an evening’s revel himself – only to discover to his horror at the end of the night that the final bill was going to cost him a month’s wages.
Moon, seeing his distress, suggested that they “do a runner”; and Howman, though utterly mortified about leaving the check unpaid, dashed with the rest of the actors to a waiting limo.
The next day, Moon took Howman aside and informed him that he’d quietly paid the bill while the actor wasn’t looking; the mad dash from the club was just his way of capping the evening with a bit of extra excitement.
Jolly good, dear boy.
Find the rest of the Rolling Stone list here.
To finish, here’s that time Moon accepted an award on behalf of the Beatles, with his usual flourish:
[imagesource: Twitter / Kgaugelo Masweneng] Families and friends enjoying their Heritag...
[imagesource: Facebook / Lauren Dickason] There are genuinely no words that can explain...
Venezuela’s Ex–Spy Chief Caught After Years Disguised In Wigs And Fake Mustaches - The...
[imagesource: Google Maps] The controversial Grocer’s Licence that is being awarded t...
Is Binance coin a true contender to overall market dominance? Binance coin is not only a u...