Beard Of The Day – June 15th – Keith Moon

keith moon


The destructive, wildman drummer is something of a played out trope in rock and roll at this point, but it had to originate somewhere. And anyone currently fitting that mold can in some way be traced to the periodically bearded Keith Moon, who basically invented the stereotype starting in the early sixties.

As the powerhouse drummer for The Who, Moon was bombastic in every sense of the word, an impressive feat for a band who had two cults of personality in Roger Daltry and former beard of the day Pete Townshend out in front, not to mention the virtuosity of John Entwistle. Moon and the rest of the band became known for destroying their instruments at the end of performances, and he took it the further by planting explosives in his bass drum. This propensity for destruction seemed perfectly emblematic not only for his technically proficient yet rambunctious style of drumming, but also for his personal life, where Moon’s rampaging alcoholism could not be stopped. And in 1978, at age 32, he died of an overdose of pills and booze.

In his absence he’s left a string of imitators both behind and away from the kit for going on 40 years, but to this point no one has been able to surpass the original in either arena. And it’s unlikely anyone ever will.

  • Moonie was a goddamn mess, and he drove poor Pete absolutely nuts…but I dare you to listen to the intro from “Heaven and Hell” off “Live at Leeds” and tell me that magnificent bastard wasn’t a frenetic genius.

    • HawkVision

      Yes. My favorite live album of all time. That 14min My Generation/Sparks medley is just epic Moon as well.

      • I’m not the world’s biggest Who fan, but “Leeds” is just not of this world. My favorite live album, as well. When Pete hits that “E” chord in “Sparks”…fuck, that’s just rock ‘n’ roll in a nutshell.

        • GoldenJet

          Greatest live album…that era Who was on another level.

          The my generation medley, magic bus…and a song they never quite perfected, but one of my favorites Naked Eye…what wonderful noise!

        • zamm

          Overtime The ‘OO hits Low E live, it sounds like the end of the world.

  • DJ

    As Joe Walsh said “the worst thing that ever happened to me is when Keith Moon decided he liked me…and decided he wanted to teach me the tricks of the trade. You know the old saying how half of what you hear about someone isn’t true? Well, everything you’ve heard about Moon is totally true.”

  • ky-jellydonuts

    If it could be done to or in a hotel room, Keith Moon did it.

    • DJ

      At the other extreme is Charlie Watts. The craziest thing he does in a hotel room is … Sketching it. Apparently, he has made a sketch of every single hotel room he’s stayed in during his career.

  • wardrums

    Moon was not the whos original drummer. ( the bamd may have gone by a different name then.

    Moon saw daltry and townsend at a nihht club and let them know he was a lot better than their current drummer.

    Roger amd pete new that, but they tried to low ball their interest, presumably to pay him less. That plan didn’t work oit to well, but the rest of the story did.

    HE was never content to play just rhythm, he was one of four soloists in the group.

    Oh demon alcohol. 🙁

  • Frank Beard’s Mustache

    He was the best “Keith Moon-type” drummer there ever was.

  • Bob in EP

    Its all fun and games until you run over your chauffeur.

    • zamm

      Ugh. Did not help matters in the self-destructive department. EXTREMELY unfortunate incident.

      • Bob in EP

        Yeah, that was pretty much his point of no return.

  • Raul Miller

    Wow, John Lennon yesterday and Keith Moon today; you’re trotting out the heavy hitters for the stretch run. can’t wait to see who the Beard is for tomorrow. Any guesses?

    • zamm

      I intend to shave tomorrow.

      • Raul Miller

        Ok then, you’re out of the running. I hope it’s another legend, one Jonathan Toews

        • zamm

          He’ll do nicely

      • Sad as it seems, shavin sucks! The Tower is on my case about this beard, let alone the hair!

  • GoldenJet
  • T.M.

    This is the exploding drums, from smother’s brother’s show (7:44 mark)

    • zamm

      Aso the precise moment Towser’s hearing started to go. Helluva shove in that direction.

  • Pilotefan

    Spent a summer in a mining camp with only Live at Leeds and 21st Century Schizoid Man. Never got old. Favourite live show ever was at Saratoga Springs.
    Bill was the Who, Fleetwood Mac and Ten Years After. The Who wiped up.
    Moon was his usual amazing self.

    • wardrums

      “Oh baby, baby I’m coming home…go home, see my baby”

      That had to be the bluesy Fleetwood Mac, no?

      Grrst bill.