Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Keith Moon: Little Drummer Boy as Charlie Chaplin

‘...that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
with gravity
to start her death-defying leap
And he
a little charleychaplin man
who may or may not catch
her fair eternal form
spread-eagled in the empty air
of existence’
-          Lawrence Ferlinghetti 

If you look closely, the jester is always sad, even when setting the table on a roar. Maybe it’s the quizzical eyebrows, or the saucer eyes themselves that speak beyond the trashed hotels and Berserker pandemonium.

The eternal boy, the jeering Trickster.

In full flight
The laugh was spring-loaded and greased with alcohol and a sparkling menagerie of drugs. Somehow the pain was transmuted into his hands and feet and out across taught drum skins, right into radios of the nation. Nobody had ever heard anything like Keith Moon. They never would again. He was a one-off.

To estimate his importance to one of the most successful rock acts in history, look at what The Who accomplished after Moon’s vanishing act. Enough said.

Rarely does a drummer have such influence. If ever a man was born to an extremely specific profession – in this case a drummer for a world-famous rock band – it was Keith Moon. It’s not possible to envisage him selling shoes or anything else.

“I love to see people laugh, “he said, “and I love it more if I can make them laugh.”
He loved his work

The 24/7 performer. An Emmet Kelly sprinkling cymbals crashes like pixie dust across the swaying heads of a whole generation. “I’ve always enjoyed myself,” he stated. “Unhappy periods for me last about twenty minutes.” (Until the drugs kicked in).

The Little Drummer Boy as Charley Chaplin. He left us but remains – because he never drummed from his heart – it had an off-beat… He drummed from somewhere else, very private and alone.