Keith John Moon was born on August 23rd, 1946 in Wembley (north west London).
As a young teen, he joined a band called the Beachcombers and became part of Bob Druce's club circuit, which was the same circuit that the Who, then called the Detours, were on. It was apparent that Keith enjoyed surf music groups like the Beach Boys, as well as Jan and Dean, and continued to enjoy this style until the end of his life.
The Detours were having problems with their regular drummer, Dougie Sandom, and after one of their first recording sessions he left the group and they had to higher a session drummer to play at their gigs. At one such gig, a drunk man approached the group and said his friend could play better than the sessionist and Roger told him to bring his friend up for the next interval. Enter ginger man, Keith. After having a few drinks to get up his nerve, he went up and played "Road Runner" with the group. After a few other numbers, the group huddled up and then Roger went over and asked him what he was doing the next Saturday and Keith became the new drummer, but not immediately. He wanted his position to be settled so he strung them along for a bit and for a few weeks played in both the Beachcombers and the Who (by this time the group named changed to what we reconize). Finally, he left the Beachcombers.
"He knew the Who were a better band." said John Entwistle, " We were the top group on Bob Druce's circuit then, but we had a nasty reputation. He was wondering whether to join the nasty group and leave his nice surfing group."
Pete Townshend later said, "From the time we found Keith it was a complete turning point. He was so assertive and confident. Before then we had just been foolin' about." This confident and assertive young man was only eighteen at the time.
Keith's drive and intense power behind the tubs gave the band a whole new dimension sound wise and he completely complimented John's bass playing, which had a similar drive to it. Of the group Keith seemed to be closest to John, but everyone fought with each other about something in that group. Keith in early stages seemed to fall out more with Roger Daltrey.
Soon, this fast lane life style of Keith's was beginning to take it's toll on him physically. By the time of the promo pictures for the Who's album, "Who Are You," he had gained a tremendous amount of weight and seemed much older in appearance than he actually was. His personality never faltered though.
He did, however, try to get his act together, trying to cut back his drinking, and taking Heminevrin pills. He took them to keep from suffering from alcohol withdrawl symptoms. Many have later said that he should have only been prescribed the drug under hospital supervision. On the faithful night of September 7th, 1978, Keith had been to a party before the premeire of "The Buddy Holly Story" thrown by Paul and Linda McCartney. He attended with his girl friend, Annette Walter-Lax. Leaving early he had then returned home. He sipped a bit of white wine and watched "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" on video, then he went to bed. He died in his sleep after taking too many of his prescription pills (roughly 32). He was only 32. An eerie coincidence was that he died in the same room as Mama Cass, who died in 1974.
The world mourned the loss of an incredible man as people woke up the next day to discover the news. He was definitely one who defined drumming for the rock and roll community and is still missed to this day. He also set the standard for the rock and roll life style.
It makes me sad to think of what Keith could have been, considering the fact that he died at the young age of 32.
In 1965 a reporter asked Keith about the flare ups in the group and looking at him with his wide and innocent eyes Keith said,
"Yes, It's Roger, he hates me!"
The reporter asked why and Keith replied,
"Because I told him he can't sing. . . I don't like half our records and Roger is the reason."
This problem became even worse when Roger knocked him out. Roger recalled how it happened,
"The band was playing fucking terrible. I had a big flare up with Moon in the dressing room, and in the flare up I got hold of his box of pills (purple hearts) and tipped them down the loo. And that's when he started trying to beat me up."
After being kicked out of the group and then brought back in again, Roger promised to be more peacful and after that Keith and Roger got along much better.
Around this time and a bit before this, Keith had also discovered the joy of smashing up his drum kit and finally Pete had someone on his side when it came to reaking general havoc on stage. He and Keith had it down to a science.
Keith, in the mid sixties, got married in great secrecy to a model by the name of Kim Kerrigan and had a baby girl named Mandy. She would later leave him in the mid-70's because she could no loger take his wild party antics and the subsequent neglect of his family.
The fact that he was wild was no secret and America witnessed it first hand on the Smothers Brothers show when he bribed a back stage hand to allow him to load explosives into his bass drum. At the conclusion of "My Generation" he blew up his kit and pieces flew everywhere. Keith got a piece of a cymbal ebedded into his leg and Pete temporarily lost his hearing. The guest on the show, Betty Davis, fainted into Mickey Rooney's arms. And also there was his legendary birthday party, which got every member of the Who banned for life from the Holiday Inn chain.
Keith never lost his edge and in the 70's, he still had his mad life style going in full swing. At his house, Tara (bought in 1971), he had a constant party atmosphere going on. His drinking and pill taking also was as extensive than ever before, but his lunacy was still news as he continued to demolish hotel rooms, get himself banned from pubs and restaurants and play his drums incredibly. Keith also enjoyed dressing up in hilarious costumes, clowns, Hitler, women in nighties, Santa Claus and other crazy get ups. He even posed nude for Bellboy magazine. Keith was later to take up residence in the U.S. and was known for spending time with John Lennon and Ringo Starr during Lennon's "Lost Weekend" period.