“You Know Who”, Alice and The Hollywood Vampires

“When you’ve got money and you do the kind of things I get up to, people laugh and say that you’re eccentric, which is a polite way of saying you’re fucking mad” Keith Moon

The Hollywood Vampires was a group of famous male rock stars in the 70s

“…The Speakeasy and Tramps were the place to be in London. There was a little loft at the Rainbow Bar and Grill in LA (W. Hollywood), they only had that for the club: the club was myself, Keith Moon, Micky Dolenz, Harry Nilsson, it was that crowd, every night those same people.” A.Cooper

Alice Cooper remembers Keith  Moon (“The Puck of Rock’n’Roll”) used to enter dressed up as the Pope, one of many costumes he wore to elicit humour. Others Moon vampire friends were John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

Keith John Moon (23 August 1946 – 7 September 1978) was an English musician, best known for being the drummer of the English rock group The Who.  He was well known for his unique drumming style, and gained notoriety for his eccentric and often self-destructive behaviour.

Keith Moon took lessons from one of the loudest drummers at the time, Carlo Little. His favourite musicians were jazz artists, particularly the flamboyant style of Gene Krupa.

He also admired DJ Fontana, Ringo Starr, and The Shadows’ original drummer, Tony Meehan. As well as drumming, Moon was interested in singing, particularly with backing vocals that involved a light-sounding falsetto and the vocal styling of Motown soul music. One band Moon notably idolised was The Beach Boys.

Moon joined his first serious band, The Escorts, replacing his then best friend, Gerry Evans. In December 1962, he joined The Beachcombers, a semi-professional London cover band who played rock’n’roll and hits by groups such as The Shadows.

During his time in the group, Moon incorporated various theatrical tricks into his act, including one instance where he “shot” the group’s lead singer with a starter pistol.The Beachcombers all had day jobs, including Moon, who was working in the sales department of British Gypsum. He had the most interest amongst band members to turn fully professional, and thus in April 1964, he auditioned for The Who, replacing Doug Sandom.

In 1966, Moon worked with Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck, session man Nicky Hopkins, and future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones to record an instrumental, “Beck’s Bolero”, which was released as the B side to “Hi Ho Silver Lining” and appeared on the album “Truth”. Moon also played timpani on another track, a cover of Jerome Kern’s, “Ol’ Man River.”



Moon was credited on the back of the album as “You Know Who”.

“Exploding toilets to the Moon”

Moon particularly enjoyed throwing cherry bombs down toilets while on tour. In time, he eventually used dynamite to destroy toilets:

“I happened to ask if I could use the loo. He just smiled and said, ‘Sure’. I went in there and there was no toilet, just sort of an S bend, and I thought ‘Christ, what happened?’ He said, ‘Well this cherry bomb was about to go off in me hand and I threw it down the toilet to stop it going off.’ So I said, ‘Are they that powerful?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s incredible!’ So I said, ‘How many of ‘em have you got?’ He laughed and said, ‘Five hundred,’ and opened up a case full to the top with cherry bombs. And of course from that moment on we got thrown out of every hotel we ever stayed in.” —Pete Townshend

Two sides of the Moon – Released March 1975 (US) – April 1975 (UK) – 3 July 2006 (Deluxe Edition)

Originally recorded for his own album, but not released on it, John Lennon gave Moon the track “Move Over Ms. L” and later did his own version

Rather than using the album as a chance to showcase his legendary drumming skill, Moon chose to sing on all the songs, and play drums only on “Crazy Like a Fox”, “The Kids Are Alright” and “Move Over Ms. L”, although he plays percussion on “Don’t Worry Baby”.

The album features contributions from Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson, David Bowie, Joe Walsh, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, Klaus Voorman, John Sebastian, Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles), Spencer Davis, Dick Dale, Suzi Quatro’s sister Patti Quatro and future actor Miguel Ferrer.

Author Nick Talevski described him as “the greatest drummer in rock,” adding “he was to the drums what Jimi Hendrix was to the guitar.”

 

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