Moments of Lunacy with Mr. Moon
Ben Allen, music editor
All right, it’s the Space Issue. The moon is a celestial body and The Who’s infamous drummer Keith Moon was undisputedly a lunatic, a term originating from the 16th century referring to intermittent insanity caused by the moon. Moon was arguably the wildest man in the history of rock and roll, conducting chaos and anarchy with a unique brand of madness wherever he went.
Driving a Rolls Royce into Motel 6 Pool
Moon celebrated his 21st birthday by ingesting a ridiculous number of chemicals and alcohol, starting a huge food fight, then driving a Rolls Royce into the motel’s pool. After managing to escape from the sinking vehicle, Moon casually returned to his birthday party, soaking wet.
Dressing Like a Nazi
After a photoshoot dressed in a Nazi uniform, Moon was so inspired by the outrage it caused others, that he kept in character for a week. In a malicious move, Moon drove through a heavily Jewish neighborhood in London, just to get a reaction.
Blowing Up Drums on Stage
For their American television debut on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Moon thought he would really make a “bang,” by climaxing “My Generation” with enormous explosions.
The Gong Show
Moon and John Entwhistle managed to rig up a pulley system to fuck with their opening band Herd in 1967. Anytime Herd drummer Andrew Steele went to hit his gong during their set, it would “mysteriously” move just out of reach.
Riding an Elephant
At the premiere of “Tommy” at Hollywood’s famous Chinese Theatre, Moon made quite the entrance while riding an enormous elephant into the proceedings, all the while, chugging from a bottle of whiskey.
Costumes were a favorite of Moon’s, and dressing as a woman appealed to him. “It’s just comfortable, mate,” Moon explained when asked about his attraction to dresses.
No hotel room or bathroom was ever safe when The Who was on tour. A favorite prank of Moon’s was to drop cherry bombs into the plumbing, then witness the inevitable explosion of water and plaster.
Passing Out During a Performance
Whoops! Maybe it’s not a great idea to eat a handful of horse tranquilizers chased with Brandy before going on stage? That’s exactly what Moon did in 1973 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco.
Urinating on Elton John
“That Elton is a twat,” Moon uttered one obliterated evening as he stumbled over to John’s table at The Troubador in L.A. He proceeded to unzip and piss all over Elton’s appetizers and margaritas.
Trouser Quality Control
One afternoon Moon entered a clothing shop with pal Larry Smith of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band. Explaining to the shop owner that they weren’t certain of the quality of a pair of pants, they proceeded to rip them apart. Luckily, Moon’s limo drive entered and, saying he was in search of a pair of one-legged jeans, purchased the pants, pacifying the irate shopkeeper.