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Keith Moon Bites Back

Page 5 of 5

You turned into a businessman, then?
You have to, when you make money. Either that or you turn into a bankrupt. The money's got to work. Everything's got to work. I work. There's no reason why the money shouldn't.

Can you tell me what you're worth?
I don't know. Not now. Some time ago me accountant told me I 'ad a lot of money. I said, "'Ow much?" He said, "Well, you're very well fixed." I said, "'Ow much? I mean, am I a millionaire?" "Well, technically, yes." So I said, "What should I do about it?" and he said, "Well, obviously if you've got that much money and you've got these tax bills, it's logical to spend money so that you can claim it against the tax that's owed." "I see . . . so I should spend money?" "Well, yes, you should." So six weeks later I'd spent it all. Ah-ha-Hahahahahahahahahaha! I'd bought four 'ouses, a 'otel, eight cars, a swimming pool, tennis courts, expensive wristwatches – that fall apart, a riverside bungalow just five minutes away, furnished in French renay-sance-period furniture. I'd spent it all. It was gone! Ah-Hahahahaha-Hahahaha-Ha. Ha-Ha.

I get accused of being a capitalist bastard, because, you know: "How many cars you got?" "Eight." "Big 'ouse?" "Yes." Well, I love all that; I enjoy it. I have lots of friends over and we sit up, drinking and partying. I need the room to entertain. I enjoy seeing other people enjoy themselves. That's where I get my kicks. I'm kinky that way. I have the amount of cars I do because I smash them up a lot. Six are always in the garage; it's a fact. They're always saying I'm a capitalist pig. I suppose I am. But, ah . . . it ah . . . it's good for me drumming, I think, Oh-Hooooo-Hahaha!

You really do have troubles with cars?
I came off the road in the AC Cobra at one hundred and ten. We flew over a canal and sort of collapsed in a mangled heap in a field about ten foot from a reservoir. The Cobra people were very unhappy when I took the wreckage into their garage – they only made about 98 of them and they're touchy about how they're driven, Haha Hahahahahahahaha! I've tried to bump-start the 1936 Chrysler several times, always with disastrous result. Once I tried to bump-start it with my X-type Jag, which is built so low to the ground, it slid under the Chrysler. Another time I tried to bump-start with the Rolls . . . forgetting there was nobody sitting in the Chrysler. I pushed it right into the fish pond on the front lawn.

When did the group swing away from drugs toward booze?
Ah-Ha . . . a change-of-pace question. Ah-ha-ha-ha Haha Ha! I think we just sort of grew out of drugs. The drugs aren't necessary now. They were then, as a crutch. We went through just about everything. Not Roger so much. He smoked, but that was it. The rest of us went through the same stages everybody goes through – the bloody drug corridor. You know. We were no exception. Eventually we stopped fucking about with the chemicals and started on the grape. Drinking suited the group a lot better. When we started drinking, that's when it all started getting together.

We're all pretty good drinkers. After the show there's always the celebration drink, or the non-celebration drink. Then there's always the clubs – John and I, generally, go clubbing. We just like the social side of drinking. Everybody I know is a drinker. I've'met most of my best friends in pubs.

How did you meet Viv Stanshall?
In a pub. Ah-ha-Hahahahaha. Funnily enough. Oh, Viv and I, we're great friends. We visit each other in the 'ospital frequently, Ahahahaha Hahaha! Either I'm in a ward having me limbs set, or Viv's in a ward 'aving 'is 'ead set. We've been playing on each other's records. We share the same sense of theater, so we go to the theater together. We go to films together. We buy the same comedy records – Monty Python, Marty Feldman, the Goons. Pete gave me a complete collection of the early Goon shows.

We went to see Liberace together. If the fans today think David Bowie's doing anything new, they should play the Liberace record of 1963, the one with the white piano and the gold candelabra. [There followed a four-minute-long, word-for-word, lisp-for-lisp copy of Liberace's act, as remembered by Moon and delivered with flourishes.] Liberace still hasn't been beaten.

How did you come to produce Stanshall?
Well, the Bonzo Dog Band had broken up and we'd been out a few nights together. We'd been to the theater, we'd been to the Palladium to see Liberace, and Viv had a couple of songs and I had some studio time. So we said let's get some musicians together and go in and make a record. So we did. On one side it was Vivian Stanshall and His Gargantuan Chums. On the other side, Vivian Stanshall and Big Grunt.

What did you do as producer?
I supplied the booze, Ahahahaha Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa!

Whatever happened to all the Who films we've heard so much about over the years? Your publicity guy told me you've announced at least half a dozen and that he doesn't pay any attention to film talk now.
I'd like to know meself. They've just never turned out to be Who films. We've never yet had a script that we've all liked. I think there must be a Who film. I think it'll be a gross injustice if there's not a Who film. There must be a Who film. Because there's so much Who to go 'round.

You've been in two films without the others . . .
Yeah, one was 200 Motels with Frank Zappa, the other was Countdown with Harry Nilsson, both with Ringo.

I was at the Speakeasy with Pete and Frank 'appened to be at the next table. He overheard some of our conversation and leaned over and said [American voice], "How'd you guys like to be in a film?" We said [English accent], "Okay, Frank." And he said [back to American], "Okay, be at the Kensington Palace Hotel at seven o'clock tomorrow morning." I was the one who turned up. Pete was writing and sent his apologies and I was given the part Mick Jagger was to play – that of a nun. Mick didn't want to do it.

Then there was a bit in one of the local papers that said Ringo was making Countdown with Peter Frampton and Harry Nilsson and a lot of others, so I called Ringo up and said, "Is there a part in it for me?" He said yes and I turned up. I do some drumming.

Was that your first meeting with Nilsson?
Yes. We were supposed to be on the set at six, but it was nine before everyone was there. Then somebody brought out a bottle of brandy. Me, I think. Ah-Ha-Ha-Hahaha! And Peter Frampton said no, no, too early, and some of the others said no. But 'Arry was standing there with an 'alf-pint mug. I knew at that moment it was destiny put us together. Ahhhh-Hahaha Hahahahaha!

So we were drinking brandy at nine and, thanks to Mai Evans, white wine all the rest of the day. Then about six o'clock somebody came 'round and slipped little envelopes into our 'ands. It was a pay packet! I 'adn't 'ad a pay packet in ten years. And 'Arry'd never 'ad one. We were pretty well out of it and we looked at each other and then tore up one-hundred and seventy pounds in one-pound notes, threw it up in the air and danced about, cackling like schoolboys, Ahhhh-Haaa-Hahaha-Aa-Haaaa-Haaa-haaa! Dancing and leaping about, clutching bottles of Blue Nun liebfraumilch in our hands, singing, "We're millionaires, aren't we?"

This story is from the December 21st, 1972 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

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