MARCH 2004
I've stopped with the updates. I really thought that as the years went by there would be less publicity on Keith Moon. Instead, his public profile seems only to increase with the years. In the fifteen months since the post below, there has been the curiously canceled Famous Lives documentary on the BBC, a tribute on NPR's Weekend Edition (which you can listen to here) and a British TV 'Rock Myths' investigation into the events of Keith's 21st birthday party, all of which I was interviewed for. There have been features on Keith in two Q specials, one on the 1940s-60s, the other on the 1970s; Dear Boy was quoted from and credited in each. In a regular monthly edition, Q magazine also named Keith Moon's life as the Number One Most Insane Moment In Rock. The brief biography in that piece borrowed liberally from my book, though it managed to once again get Keith's age wrong. (He was 32 when he died, NOT 31.) Uncut has published an NME Originals featuring all the IPC cuttings on The Who, material that was hard to come by back when I was researching the book. Uncut has also published a 20-page speical on The Making Of Tommy. As of early March 2004, Q magazine is editing a One-Off special edition on The Who; I'm contributing an overview on Keith's life as the Man of Myth. That myth will, no doubt, continue to thrive. I can no longer keep up.....
THE FAMOUS LIVES documentary on Keith Moon will broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesday January 22, 2003. Fingers crossed that it's better than that Channel 4 atrocity from a couple of years ago. I have a feeling it should be. . . Though the fact that it's being shown at 15:30 - mid afternoon - seems a little odd.
JUNE 27 2002
R.I.P. John Alec Entwistle. My immediate reactions - both to his death and to the decision by Pete and Roger to continue - are posted on the front page of the site.
I've been getting a lot of e-mails and phone calls recently about the supposed Keith Moon movie. A story made its way into the British tabloid the Sun on Friday Feb 8 it which it was claimed that Roger Daltrey had auditioned Mike Myers for the role of Keith Moon in his proposed biopic. "Mike is a genius," Daltrey was quoted as saying. "I can really see him as Keith. I went to some of the filming of his new Austin Powers film and it's hysterical. He's amazing when you meet him, so clever."

That same day, Mike Myers denied through his spokeswoman that he had auditioned. Daltrey, it was claimed, had only visited him on set.

But by then the story was out and doing the news rounds. Meantime, a lot of people have been getting in touch asking what this all has to do with me. The answer is very simple: absolutely nothing.

Roger Daltrey has been talking about a Keith Moon movie for well over ten years. He was talking about it a long time before I started doing the Keith Moon book, he was talking about it while I was doing the Keith Moon book - it was the main reason he gave not to take part in my biography, that my research would conflict with his project - and he was talking about it after I completed the Keith Moon book. Indeed, he called me before the book came out and in the middle of a strange conversation in which he alternately criticised and praised my biography, he asked me to hold publication of the book for six months, after which time he assured me there would be a Keith Moon movie on the screens that I would be able to better tie in publication with. That was 1997. It's now 2002. I can't say that his Keith Moon movie is not getting made - I know he has financed various scripts with his own money - but I can say it hasn't yet gone into anything close to production. Along the way, Daltrey has occasionally bad-mouthed my Keith Moon biography in public, which I think is a shame. I recognise that Roger loved Keith greatly, and I can understand why he might feel he has a more accurate and sympathetic view of Keith than does a biographer, but of course I stand by the quality of my book, and I regret that Roger doesn't agree with the many thousands of Who fans who feel that it told Keith's story with love and integrity.

Having stated all of the above, I think it is clear that if Roger Daltrey does get to make a movie on Keith's life, it will not be based on my biography. It will be based on Roger's own memories of KEith's life.

To complicate matters, there had been another movie in the works. Around the end of 1995, just as I was starting research on 'Dear Boy,' Robert de Niro's company Tribeca bought the rights to Dougal Butler's book Full Moon and set about planning to make a 'buddy movie' based on the two mens' escapades. To this end, they had Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais ('Auf Wiedersehn Pet,' 'The Commitments,' 'Still Crazy') write a script, which I have not seen. This movie got held up, possibly even waylaid, when Pete Townshend refused Tribeca permission to use Who songs; by 1996, once the Who had gotten back together, then to my understanding Daltrey leaned hard on Townshend to ensure that the only person who would get permission to use Who songs in a Keith Moon movie would be Daltrey himself. Roger was particularly put out by his feeling that Tribeca's movie would simply trivialise Keith's life and has always claimed that his own movie will concentrate on the real Keith, the sad Keith, the tormented Keith.

Those of us who have any opinion in the matter have often suggested that if anyone was to play Keith Moon in a movie it should be Jason Schwartzman, who was introduced to many a sixties rock fan when he starred in Rushmore. Jason not only looks like Keith, but is a massive Who fan and apparently an accomplished drummer to boot. Given that he can play straight and play comedy, he would seem to be the ideal candidate.

Taking all the above into account, it's maybe no surprise that my Keith Moon biography has not been successfully optioned for a movie. When film-makers get in touch - and they have done - they find out that both Robert de Niro and Roger Daltrey have been trying to get films made and consider that if neither of these titans have succeeded, their own chances are pretty slim. It's hard for me to blame them. Then again, I didn't write the book for it to be made into a movie: I wrote the book for people to read the book and so I don't lose any sleep over any of this.
Patti Salter, known back in the '70s by her professional name Lee Patrick, gets in touch with me after reading my Keith Moon book and offers to share some memories of her time around 1974-5 as Keith Moon's girlfriend. Patti is one of those ladies I would love to have tracked down when researching the book, and when I asked her to jot down some memories that she would be happy to share with visitors to this site, she readily agreed. You can read those memories here.
The BBC becomes the latest media outlet to produce a documentary on Keith Moon. (Following VH-1, Channel 4 and Radio 2). As with all these previous productions, Keith's life is to be presented as part of a series on famous, illustrious and notably dead individuals, this time the theme being 'Legends.' Given the standard of the Channel 4 and Radio 2 documentaries, I was initially about getting involved, but I'm pleased to say the director Mark Adderley has done his homework, and was extremely thorough and professional when interviewing me this month. I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that the hour-long program will be the best visual insight into Keith's life yet. The usual other suspects will also be seen on camera (by which I mean many of the people around Keith bar close family and band), and the program will be aired in late 2002. For my own part, I'm looking forward to the documentary in the series on Oliver Reed. Now, when am I going to get that Ollie transcript up on the site?
Dougal Butler publishes his 'Keith Moon: A Personal Portrait.'
The good news: this is an entirely different book than both my own Keith Moon biography, and Dougal's original, 1979 slap-happy tale of life as Keith Moon's right hand man, 'Full Moon.' For this tome, Dougal, who knew Keith as well as anyone outside the Who and was of invaluable help researching my book, has gathered together all his private photographs (many of which are focused on Keith's beautiful wife Kim), many a wonderful bank manager's letter and bar receipt ("you always seem to be in a meeting"), written a personal account of life with Keith (which doesn't vary from anything he told me, for which I do appreciate his consistency of memory) and given Who and Moon fanatics a coffee table collection they'll be desperate to own.
The bad news? Fans will have to sell the coffee table (and possibly more) to afford it. Limited to 2,000 signed copies, 'A Personal Portrait' costs an astonishing $245. I understand the reasoning behind a high-end limited edition book like this, but do Genesis books (which have set the standard for this kind of thing) actually cost so much? As for whether it's worth it, that's an individual call, dependant very much on the state of your bank account. If yours is healthy and you've already got used to spending $150 and up to see The Who in their fifties, hey, what's an extra couple hundred dollars more to complete your book collection? If you're a young unemployed drummer like Keith once was, well, you're better off making your own noise to be honest. You'll live without. And if you're wondering why there isn't a sterling price given that Dougal's as English as fish and chips, well this is a global economy, and all orders in all currencies will be charged off the web site to match an American standard. There you go. (Yes, I did get mine for free, and yes, that does affect my ability to review it fairly in comparison to its price.)

Below: a classic British Barclays demand for payment of £25 overdue. (Mind you, there are demands for five-figure overdue sums in this book too.)

It's the turn of UNCUT magazine in the UK to put The Who on its cover. The photo is a Who classic - an image of Keith we considered for the book cover at one point. The 26-page story inside doesn't tell Who fans anything they don't know already - except, interestingly, Roger Daltrey and Bobby Pridden insist after all these years that Keith did drive a Lincoln Continental into the Holiday Inn swimming pool on the infamous night of his 21st birthday. Dear Boy is referenced in the story once, which I was about to feel was an insult given how much information was clearly taken from the book - but then I noticed that no other biography was referenced whatsoever.
SEP 28
THE WHO confirm their appearance at Madison Square Garden, New York, on October 20 for a benefit for the families victimized in the attacks on the World Trade Centers. In a press release posted on his web site, Pete Townshend confesses that "Today I am a hawk more than a dove. . .God does not expect us to give away without a fight the good lives we have been given in the West."
BBC Radio producer and media personality John Walters sadly dies, unexpectedly, at age 63. (Exact details are not yet known.) Best known as John Peel's producer through the late sixties and seventies, and then as a broadcaster in his own right, Walters was also the man who recognized Keith Moon's potential as a radio personality and hired Moon to cover for Peel on Top Gear in the summer 1973, the hilarious tapes of which are often traded among Who and Moon fans. So successful was Moon's debut as radio host that Walters set about producing a Keith Moon comedy album, which in typical fashion, Keith abandoned. I interviewed Walters for the Moon biography and he was charming and entertaining, very funny and droll. He later came to the UK launch of the book. I know John had a soft spot for Keith. I had a soft spot for John. We'll miss him.
BBC Radio 2 - yes, pop-pickers, that's Radio 2 - launches a series entitled Real Wild Child. Its first half-hour program is devoted to "Keith Moon, Patent British Exploding Drummer." I was interviewed for this show, as were a number of other journalists whose relationship with The Who and/or Keith has never really been proven. The show turned out to be a relatively light-weight, entertaining and yet faithful account of Keith's life as we've all come to know and fear it, presented by ex-NME journalist and general upbeat broadcaster Stuart Maconie. Lone interview revelation: Simon Napier-Bell insisting that Keith once got his leg broken by a bouncerat a party, went off to hospital, had it set, came back to the party and had his other leg broken. Does the word apocryphal possibly come to mind?
Keith Moon's old address book shows up on E-Bay. Attracts a single bid for $4950 - according to the documentation currently on the site. Can't figure out how this former personal memento made it into such public hands, but the details certainly seem to indicate that this was the Real Deal. And let's face it, who wouldn't want to know the old phone numbers for David Bowie, Lionel Bart, Donovan, Elton John, Billy Fury, Frankie Howerd, Maurice Gibb, Lulu, Mick Jagger, George Lazenby and the other Who members themselves?
Word gets out that one of the longest-running battles between producer and band - in which Shel Talmy has held onto the master tapes of the Who's debut album My Generation for 35 years now - has finally resulted in a financial truce; Talmy has supposedly released the tapes to the band for an undisclosed sum (albeit one far lower than the millions he was originally asking). While there has been a USA CD available of the My Generation album since MCA did their dreadful initial reissues a decade ago, the UK album had a different track listing and because of the legal issues, has long been a rarity. The opportunity to clean up the tracks for CD release (especially given the atrocious job MCA did first time round) is an exciting one for Who fans. Keith's drumming excells not just on the singles "My Generation" and "The Kids Are Alright" but especially on "La La La Lies" and "The Ox." No release date as yet.
A previously little-known Keith Moon film appearance - SONIC BOOM, made in 1974 - has been unearthed by Dear Boy reader and iJamming surfer Chris Radcliffe. Quite how a movie that also included in its cast Ricky Nelson (as a birthday cake delivery boy), Sal Mineo, Johnny Winters and George Kennedy slipped through so many cracks is a little baffling until you hear the story behind it. My thanks to Chris for conducting an interview with the film's Associate Producer Eric Louzil.

"At the time," writes Chris, "Eric was in the film course at UCLA and had two film ideas. One was about killer bees coming to California either to be called Deadly Buzz or Deadly Hum to star David L. Lander and Michael Mckean a.k.a. Lenny and Squiggy before they had been cast in the hit television show Laverne & Shirley (1976-1983) and the other was Sonic Boom, a comedy short about a supersonic jet that lands in a small town and creates hysteria over an impending sonic boom that never happens. The former project got scrapped because Landers And Mckean wanted too much creative control over it.

"The way they cast Sonic Boom was simply this: they would get together at production meetings, take out the entertainment section of the Los Angeles Times and find out who had made it into press. Then they would essentially stalk these performers and ask them to help out with their student film. In Keith's case there was a story about him renting a house which was later to be found full of dog shit after he vacated it. (Much as was the case with Tara when Jeff Beck visited.) But at the same time Elton John was in town playing at the Troubadour so it was a toss up between Keith or Elton. They chose Keith because he was a bigger name at the time. They began hanging out at the clubs he was know to frequent until they caught up with him and he agreed to appear in the film for $1,400 In cocaine and a television, though the one page agreement signed between the producers and Keith read for "One Case Of Coke And A Television" - to which one can only assume that the latter he used to throw out of some window.

"There was something of a scene when the Director and some other guy went down to Palm Springs to get the cocaine and were afraid they would get busted on the return trip. In any event Keith's scene was filmed at the Burbank Court House where he played the part of a professor waring a cotex on his upper lip for a moustache. He arrived on the set in a gold limousine (which at that time was extremely rare and impressive) and left in a different one. The short film was eventually released theatrically in 1975 where it was shown before the feature film of the evening Man Friday (1975) starring Peter O' Toole and Richard Roundtree. Man Friday was a retelling of the Robinson Cruesoe story with a strong social message."

A case of coke and a television? I guess that does sound like Keith in Los Angeles, circa 1974. Hopefully, we'll be getting a copy of this film soon and can comment further.
PETE TOWNSHEND announces on his web site that Quadrophenia is finally ready to hit the West End. (His frame-based site is hard to navigate though: read more about it here.)
Q Magazine runs a special on 'The 50 Best Music Books Ever Written.' Dear Boy is one of them. Along with Michael Azzerad's Nirvana book, it's one of just two 'conventional' rock bios to be given its own section on the inside spread. A serious honor and no mistake: about as close to getting a statue as I could hope for. In the accompanying interview, I go on about Hedonism - which means now I have to see it through!

(A good all-round choice of books, by the way. Some noteables including The True Adventures of The Rolling Stones, the Creation Records Story (which I just finished reading and will write about for a future site update), Have Gun Will Travel, England's Dreaming and indeed, my fave Oasis bio, the impressionistic, gonzo-like What's the Story by former tour manager Ian Robertson. My only noteable absentees are Timothy White's Bob Marley bio Catch A Fire, and Legs McNeill's New York punk oral history, Please Kill Me.)

The Daily Telegraph runs an "Inside Story" on 9 Curzon Place, the flat where Keith (and Mama Cass before him) died. The entire building is currently undergoing extrensive renovations, due for completion in July 2002. "At £1 million-plus, the prices will remain firmly in the rock-star range," writes Roger Wilkes, who was shown round the fated apartment by the estate agent. The story (click here to read it online) quotes extensively from Dear Boy.
Q Magazine runs a cover story 'Drugs' special. Not surprisingly, Keith Moon shows up all over the page. The assertion that Keith collapsed at the Cow Palace in San Francisco in 1973 due to quaaludes is cute but wrong: as has been stated many a time, it was an extra strong dose of PCP, another bizarrely popular drug in the States in the 70s. (The suggestion that he was also on 'ludes when recording 'The Kids Are Alright' for his solo album seems a little more apt.) Elsewhere is a snippet about the cover picture for The Kids Are Alright - the movie soundtrack this time, taken, as Dear Boy states, at Grant's Tomb in New York the morning after Keith got the Who thrown out of various hotels. As a result, The Who are sleeping for real.
The UK site dotmusic runs a 'Daltrey planning Keith Moon film' story. Must have been a slow day in the News Room.
DOUGAL BUTLER auctions off Keith Moon possessions online through Fleetwood Owen. Included in the collection is his picture of Keith with John Lennon and Paul McCartney taken in Los Angeles in 1974. Not sure how I feel about this. BBC Online runs a story on the auction
ROLLING STONE, as part of its Essential Library series, devotes a whole page to 'The Who's Best: Five Great Books on The Who.' Along with Maximum R&B, Before I Get Old and Moon, writer Greg Kot includes the two underwhelmingly received Pete Townshend bios by Larry David Smith and Geoffrey Guiliano. He then features The Who Concert File and Meaty, Beaty, Big and Bouncy (John Perry's excellent biography of the 1960s singles) in a sidebar under the headline 'For Serious Fans Only.' You need to be a serious fan to get into Perry's book but not Larry Smith's? Regardless, thanks for the positive write up on Moon, Greg. (seriously.)

MOJO puts the Who on its cover as part of its Maximum '65 special. Keith was also on the cover in September 1998, when Dear Boy was first published; this makes it twice in two years. Good going for a drummer who's been dead over two decades. Pat Gilbert pens the excellent Who 1965 story on the inside. It references Dear Boy.

iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2000-2005

Keith Moon at iJamming!

Introduction to the 2005 edition of Dear Boy

Dave Edmunds interview transcript from Dear Boy

Jeff Beck interview transcript from Dear Boy

Alice Cooper interview transcript from Dear Boy

Jean Battye recalls how Keith's driver Neil Boland lost his life, Jan 1970 (interview added July 2005)

Golden Shot hostess Lee Patrick remembers her time as Keith Moon's amour.

Tony Fletcher on Chasing The Moon

Tony's updates on Keith Moon and Dear Boy from Sep 2000-March 2004

Updated with New Afterword July 2005




Listen to NPR's Weekend Edition piece on Keith Moon, from September 2003. Includes interviews with Tony Fletcher and Roger Daltrey.