Sunday, August 23, 2009

Life and death on the lunatic fringe

Was it any surprise that Keith Moon didn't make it to the ripe old age of 63?

He would have hit that mile marker today. Instead, we'll observe the 31st anniversary of his death in a couple of weeks. He maintained a crazy, destructive lifestyle with tragic results, succumbing to a drug overdose on Sept. 7, 1978, at age 32.

He was the perfect drummer for The Who. Zany, bombastic and out of control. He destroyed drum kits and, away from the stage, became notorious for blowing up hotel toilets with Cherry Bombs or M-80s. Moon the Loon.

We've heard for some time that Roger Daltrey is planning a film on Moon's life, with Mike Myers picked for the lead role, but somehow that doesn't seem right.

In a ranking of the Top 100 rock drummers by digitaldreamdoor, Moon trails only Neil Peart of Rush and John Bonham of Led Zeppelin, who is also deceased. We know how silly these lists are, but you're probably curious, so for arguments sake:

1. Neil Peart, Rush
2. John Bonham, Led Zeppelin
3. Keith Moon, The Who
5. Ginger Baker, Cream
6. Terry Bozzio, Frank Zappa
7. Bill Bruford, Yes and King Crimson
8. Hal Blaine, session player
9. Ian Paice, Deep Purple
10. Mike Portnoy, Dream Theater

I'm not a big fan of drum solos (and where did it get Iron Butterfly's Ron Bushy (No. 60 on the list), but on the rare occasions when Moon took over the kit he delivered the goods. Mostly, though, he fueled the band's appetite for destruction as a perfect complement to Pete Townshend's smashing (literally) guitar antics. Sorry he didn't make it.

Oh, and Ringo is No. 13 on that list.


  1. You've probably read it, but there's a great article on Ginger Baker in a recent Rolling Stone.

  2. Charlie Watts is not even in the Top 10? That ain't right. In fact, it's just plain wrong.