Today, August 23, Keith Moon — the man they called “Moonie” — would have celebrated his 72nd birthday, had his near-mythical lifestyle of rock and roll excess not ultimate caused his demise.
Moon was a true madman behind the kit, smashing the drums for the Who with a flair rarely seen before, or since. His influence is lasting, his reputation legendary. And in 1974, writer Steve Rosen had a wild experience meeting him for an interview.
taken from Rosen’s Behind the Curtain column about this adventurous afternoon in Southern California:
Several minutes passed and I’m still standing there because I don’t know what else to do. I was trying to figure out if I was late—and if I was it was only by a couple minutes—or if Keith has simply blown me off. Or maybe he just forgot? But there I was and there Keith wasn’t—a total eclipse of the Moon. All hope gone, I began the walk back to the car. As I’m opening the door and as if on cue, I heard the roar of very high RPMs that could only originate from the engine in a very fast car. Down the street, I watched in combined horror and fascination as a Porsche screamed up the road, made the left turn into the driveway, and came to a screeching halt a few feet in front of me and ten feet off the cement.
As if the entire episode had been arranged just for me. But in Moon’s world nothing was arranged, and so there parked on the exquisitely manicured front lawn of a very beautiful home, was a man sitting inside a very beautiful car. It was perfect. If I could have written the script for my introduction to Keith Moon, it would have involved being kept waiting—well, maybe not too long—exotic cars and grand entrances.
Out came a visibly drunk Keith Moon with drink in hand. He walked up to this speechless writer, extended the arm that didn’t have the cocktail in it and announced, “Hi, I’m Keith.” As if I didn’t know. As if anyone wouldn’t know. I extended my hand and shook his. It was a surreal moment. It made me a little sad to see the drink in his hand and knowing he had been driving that way.
But this was the drummer for the Who and normal rules weren’t meant for him.
Sounds about right. Happy birthday and rest in peace, Moonie.