Dear Boy: An Interview With Jean Battye

“As soon as we got there we realized it was exactly the sort of place that we tried to avoid. They weren’t even people that were going to be particularly pleased to see Keith. And there was quite a lot of backchat from the minute we walked in.”

From my interview with Jean Battye, who was a passenger in the Bentley, along with Keith Moon, Kim Moon and ‘Legs’ Larry Smith, the night Keith’s driver Neil Boland died, Jan 4, 1970. I was put in touch with Jean by an iJamming! reader, to whom I am most grateful.

Unfortunately, I reached her just too late to include her comments in the Afterword to the new edition of Dear Boy. This was a particular shame as I had only just talked with Peter Thorpe, one of the eight local youths prosecuted over the incident that led to Neil’s tragic death. Thorpe, whose comments are summarised in the new edition of Dear Boy, went to great pains to contradict much of what was in the original edition, stressing that he and his friends were not skinheads, that they were not out to cause trouble the night Neil died, and that they felt they were made to be the scapegoats for an incident in which Keith and his entourage shared the responsibility. Jean’s comments, on the other hand, run very close to those of Kim and Larry, each of whom I had interviewed for the original edition of Dear Boy.

I doubt there will ever be unanimity on this tragedy, but the more information that gets out there, the better. My thanks to Jean for sharing her time. The full interview is here.

You can read manuscripts from other interviews I conducted for Dear Boy, including those with Jeff Beck, Alice Cooper and Dave Edmunds, by visiting the iJamming! Keith Moon home page. There you will also find a few paragraphs from the new edition explaining the need for the Afterword. I don’t advocate readers who already own Dear Boy spending their money all over again for the sake of the extra twenty pages, but for those who have yet to avail themselves of a copy, the book is now that much more thorough. And another twenty pages longer.

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