Keith Moon Would Have Turned 66 Today!

In the pantheon of archetypal rock drummers, there in big, bold letters - probably in flames - is the name "KEITH MOON" ... and then, in much smaller, less noticeable script - not in flames - is everybody else.  Sure, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it isn't too far from the truth.

Keith Moon was a complete original.  Maybe you could compare him to Gene Krupa, or Buddy Rich, but only loosely.  I mean, someone must have influenced him as a drummer, but it didn't take long for Keith to find his own identity.

I once heard someone say that if Keith Moon had been in any other band than The Who, he'd have been awful.  In a way, they might be right, but there's no way of telling for sure.  All I know is that he was perfect for The Who and that in every live show I've seen, he is constantly watching Pete's every move, ready to match him beat for beat.  Of course, Pete's eyes never stray too far from Moon either and the two push and pull at one another like two jazz greats in a smoky club.

I like to think that, in any bother band, Moon would have done the same thing: watch the guy who wrote the damn song and do what his every movement tells you to do.  That sort of intuitive nature, and a willingness to throw the proverbial sheet music out the window is what made Keith so great.  His way of playing the drums was so innocent at times, so muscular at others, but he always seemed to be putting his entire soul into every snare hit or bass drum kick.  It's literally exhausting to watch him for too long.  Where is all that energy coming from?

The answer to that question, of course, was drugs.  Lots and lots of drugs.  And alcohol.  Truckloads of the stuff.  The final ingredient, though, was insecurity and a insatiable need to win the approval of his peers.  While that desire to win the approval of an audience is behind virtually every great performer (and numerous not-so-great ones, too), Keith had it in spades.

Even as a kid, when I saw photos of him, the look in his eyes always seemed to be saying "I will make every person in this room LOVE ME or die trying.  Sadly, he died trying, but he did leave behind a legacy that speaks for itself and a world of admirers who are more than happy to speak on his behalf, today especially.

Rest in peace, Moonie, and thanks for the music.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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