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Keith Moon

posted 12 Jun 2012, 07:50 by Chris Morris   [ updated 3 Jan 2014, 07:22 ]
Drummer Focus

Name: Keith Moon
Performed With: The Who, Pla
stic Ono Band, Jeff Beck Group, The Escorts, The Beachcombers
Years Active: 1964 - 1978
Genre(s): Rock

Keith Moon was the incredible drummer for The Who and will be remembered for generations to come for almost completely reinventing what it meant to be a drummer in a rock band. Moon was born in 1946 and began learning to play the drums at age 14, receiving some lessons from Carlo Little. 

At the age of 17, Keith Moon replaced Doug Sandom as the drummer for The Who, after the band were told that they would never get a record deal if they didn't find themselves a better drummer. During his interview with the band, it is said that Moon smashed the drum kit of the session drummer who was filling in for Sandom after he had left. 

Moon's drumming brought a more aggressive and edgy side to The Who, and the band wanted to set themselves apart from similar music in the charts at the time. One of the ways they managed this was by smashing their instruments at the end of their shows. This act has often been imitated by hundreds if not thousands of bands, but The Who were the first to do so. However, Moon wanted to go even further by using some cherry bombs during one particular TV broadcast:

Moon was known not only for being an outstanding drummer, but also for having a very jovial nature. He tended to play jokes on his band mates often, and was banned from the recording studio while vocals were being recorded due to him making the singers laugh while they were trying to record. He also sang lead in a few songs including 1:17 and 3:48 in the following song:

While Keith Moon liked to joke around, he also led a very destructive lifestyle. Those who knew him look back now with humour when they remember how he destroyed hotel rooms resulting in The Who being banned from several hotels around the world. On one occasion he was being transported to an airport and demanded that the driver take him back to the hotel as he had "forgotten something". On returning, he threw his room's television out of the window and into the pool. When he returned to the car he proclaimed "I nearly forgot".

Unfortunately, his destructive lifestyle didn't end with practical jokes, and in September of 1978 it would lead to his untimely death. However, Dundee Drum Academy would advise to look past Keith Moon's demons and simply appreciate the outstanding drummer that nobody could deny he was. 

Moon was a very unusual drummer in the fact that he rarely used a hi-hat, instead viewing each piece of the drum kit as one instrument and bashing away wildly at it. The result was actually a fantastic clash of rolls and beats that were perfectly synced with what the rest of the band were doing. Moon certainly wasn't a typical drummer and was one of the main reasons The Who were seen as different to other music of their period. 

Keith Moon attacked the drums with the same wild destruction that could be found in other parts of his life in a style could barely be imitated by others. As we sign off on this Drummer Focus and leave you with some highlights of his drumming, we would like to remember Keith Moon as one of the most influential and inspiring drummers of all time.