Sunday, 4 August 2013

Sunday Sessions: The Who

I've just finished reading an exhaustive biography by Tony Fletcher on the late, great Keith Moon, the drummer of the Who.

Across 500+ pages, it was a thrilling, gripping and ultimately heartbreaking read. Keith was a man with unparalleled passion for his music, but with some serious problems that went untreated and un-managed for the entirety of his short life. His life was complicated by the fact that he had undiagnosed ADHD, probably also some bi-polar disorder and some definite borderline personality disorder.

Couple that with becoming a superstar at 18 and a millionaire in his early 20s. He never had time to grow up, never wanted to, and as such, never did. He took amazing (and not necessarily in a good way) amounts of drugs, squandered vast fortunes of money without a second thought and destroyed relationships aplenty. His private life off stage was a shambles and it is painful to read about.

On stage, and on record, his drumming is something of a marvel. Drumsticks in hand, his arms fly around like an octopus. The synergy the group had with this madman drummer also defies logic but it is mind-blowing to listen to.

Rumour has it (unconfirmed in the book) that Keith Moon was the inspiration for the character Aminal in the Muppet Show. At least the Electric Mayhem (the band Animal played in) had the right idea and kept him on a chain!

Here's an example of the maniacal genius that was Keith Moon, playing with the Who at the the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival, doing their version of Mose Allison's "Young Man's Blues"

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