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.

part 2
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-So back to Tara. . .

He’s playing ‘Becks Bolero’ (on the jukebox) over and over again, and I couldn’’t get into the machine to make it stop. Then he showed up in a dressing gown with a beer. We were well shot. I’d been invited to stay. We started talking, a fairly deep talk. I remember not absorbing too much of it, because I couldn’t believe that this guy was suddenly someone else.

We had a great laugh, went and had couple of drinks at the pub, he was still hard to read, he would go off on tangents and come back. You’re playing two roles - a shrink in one role, and a pupil in the other, you had to sit there and watch him go through these mannerisms and behavioral things. This brown girl who kept appearing, I had a flair for tanned girls at the time and it was most bizarre. All these rooms in the house were vacant. When we finally drank ourselves into oblivion, she tapped on the room where I was and said ’do you mind if I come in?’ and I said ‘No’ and we wound up sleeping in the same bed even though she was purporting to be with Keith. She said ‘I can’t take any more he’s driving me berserk’ and I had to put up with this beautiful creature lying next to me all night that I couldn’t do anything about. Talk about mental torment! She was saying ‘that will all come later, leave me alone.’ it was a blue haze.

The following day, it must have been lunchtime. 75 degrees. I heard this screaming noise, and thought ‘I’m in Keith Moon’s house’ takes 10 minute to become accustomed to that. This girl had got up and went over to the window and said ‘what the fuck is he doing now?’ It looked like he was punching the ground in the middle of this unmowed field, and all of a sudden there was a puff of blue smoke. And the grass flattened, and this hovercraft appeared. He’d had it parked there for ages, and he finally got it going, he was like a whirling dervish round this field. My immediate reaction was ‘I hope he doesn’t ask me to go for a ride on it.’

-Which of course...

He did! It had a fan that propelled it in each direction, and it also had a fan underneath it that elevated it. It was a proper hovercraft, given to him by the Beach Boys. (So Keith must have told Jeff, though that’s not true.) Then he turned back into Robert Newton on acid. This was Keith Moon on the drums- but on a hovercraft, doing spins and stuff. Then he finally spun to a halt - this while we’re still looking through the window - he did the one-eyed jim lad look, then he said ‘right, do you want a go on it?’ I felt like a fairy cos I like hot rods but I don’t like being spun round. He said ‘well I’m going to the pub, anyone want to come I can fit you on it’ we jumped on and he spun us round, so we jumped off. L said ‘let’s walk to the pub’ so we walked and he got it going again and he came pissing past us, flat out, with a cloud of smoke and dust and he went rip-roaring up this drive to the pub, and swung round, and we ran to try and see the arrival of the hovercraft at the pub.
I began wondering who this girl was and what her relationship was. I think she loved Keith deeply and in some ways she was acting like a nanny. I just thought ‘oh dear’ I’ve actually fucked up a relationship just by being here. Cos she wound up in my bed.’

-Did it occur to you Keith didn’t go to bed?

He probably didn’t. I don’t remember how many times that jukebox went on...Beck’s Bolero... I started listening for mistakes! It was a complete diversification from this momentous occasion with me being invited to Keith’s house for what reason I didn’t know, I was going through all these numbers thinking ‘Does he need help? Does he need me at all? Or was he pissed in the toilets at the Speak? Or is it a deep seated quest to find out what I’m all about’ and then I thought ‘oh jesus’ cos I couldn’t keep my hands off this girl. And I thought she was going to go round saying ‘jeff wouldn’t leave me alone.’ Which I did. I thought ‘oh dear I’m going to get a bad write up this morning.’ but it wasn’t like that. He was ahappy camper.

We got to the end of the drive and he arrived as if to shock, and everyone was like ‘ Good afternoon Keith’ like it as an everyday occurrence. Which obviously it was.

What comes next is pretty bizarre. It could have been the preceding evening but I think it was the following evening. He said ‘do you have to be home?’ and I thought well I should but i was having so much fun and I didn't have anyone at home waiting for me anyway. We had a few drinks there, and he said hello to all the locals which were the bowler hat brigade. He was so well liked in the pub that people started eyeing me up and down like, who are you encroaching on Keith’s territory? After few drinks, he said ‘are you alright to drive?’ He had this Corniche, he’d only just got it I think, he said ‘I don’t think I should drive.’ Even though I’d only had a couple I didn’t really want to drive it. But it was the most amazing thing, it just .. You turned the key, you didn’t hear the engine running, the only reason you knew it was running was when you put it in drive. We went to Staines with me at the wheel. We went round the town with him dancing in the back seat with L, smooching, I looked in the mirror, and I thought ‘I am chauffeuring Keith Moon around sStaines in a white corniche’. . . by now I’m a bit worse for wear. But there wasn’t the emphasis on drink driving. I think about 75-76 it started becoming bad news. I thought ‘this isn’t cool, I’m driving an expensive car.’ So we arrived back at staines where he had carte blanche at this club that I didn’t even know about. (This would be Sgt. Pepper’s.) We wound out back down there and it was bopping. I thought I’d better take it easy cos I’m going to drive them home.

I remember driving home, and we headed towards this roundabout with them dancing. She was topless by then and I think he was topless. There were breasts in the mirror, it was quite hard to concentrate. I was doing 80mph approaching this roundabout but it felt like 50mph. He shouted ‘Jeff!!’ I put my foot firmly on the brake which you don’t do in a Corniche. They both tumbled right into the front seat alongside me, legs akimbo, total disaster, I broadsided the car, just managed to avoid a nasty going across the roundabout. I thought ‘oh god, if I didn’t fuck up in another way this will do it.’ It was a very tight curve into the roundabout and I just about ground to a halt. There was all this surf music and we were having a great time. I think ‘Wipeout’ was playing when we wiped out! But there were no big injuries, Then he went into this Robert Newton character again and started saluting like he was on board a ship. Being in this car, plus him handing out these one liners all the time, it was like floating on a cloud.

The memory is not detailed in terms of intellect and conversation because we only touched on those things momentarily, but it was nevertheless an eye opener that this guy hadn’t found himself. I was looking at the way this guy had designed this house, I thought this is awful, I couldn’t have put this structure up in parkland.

-He didn’t design it.

He didn’t? He told me he did!

-What were your overall feelings from this weekend?

This guy will never be happy. No matter what domestic scenario is struck up - he could have had an an Elizabethan mansion, a luxury penthouse suite or an open hall house -- Keith was such a ball of energy that it didn’t matter - here he was, he would still be basically unhappy and unable to concentrate on any normal life. This was the proof of it. I’d never seen such a mess in my life, the dog mess. He hadn’t made the slightest attempt to clean it up. He was like ‘mind the dog shit’ like it had been there and it was going to be there. I mean everyone has accidents, but this was in every room. It wasn’t like this is designer dog shit, it was like this guy hasn’t any idea how to look after a dog.

Though I say I didn’t have anyone at home, I had had a strong relationship and people were envious. There’s something to be said for having that and not just going home to an empty house which is showing ravages of parties very night and you’re left the clown when the party is over. I felt that that’s what he represented.

There was nothing specific like ‘I wish I could do this’ or ‘I wish I could do that’. He just seemed to have opened up all the sluices to enjoy life more, and this house is just a piece of man-made nonsense which is a fashion accessory which enables him to do what he wants in the middle of nowhere. It’s just a go-mad type farm and then he’ll be off. He gave me the impression that The thought of staying more than two hours on his own there would be a torture. It looked like it and smelled like it. (Especially so given that this is obviously after Kim left Keith.)

-No mention of marital problems?

It was so adjacent to him then, in the forefront of his mind, that it would be the last thing. But then how come he sent L into my room? I think she mentioned something like ‘Keith isn’t being receptive, Keith’s told me to come in here, do you mind?’ knowing Keith, he would give you gift wrapped presents like that.

My mind is pretty blurred on it because it was at the time. But I remember what a magnificent actor he would have been. He was bloody brilliant playing the dirty old man in Tommy. He used to have the Newtonesque expressions inbuilt, but he used to mimic him so well that you could be forgiven for thinking that he wanted to be him reincarnated. And Newton had a drink problem, died of one I think. Anyway he had far reaching desires in other fields. The drums were never the issue. Bass drums, pedals and cymbals was as boring to him as trainspotters comparing numbers.

I think you’ve got to say he was hyperactive. That’s the most understated name you could give to him. He was almost schizoid, but in a very humorous way. I’ve never laughed so much, at his witticism, they were incredible. I wished I had a tape recorder. It was almost as though they said ‘action’ and he’d learned his lines perfectly. When he went running into this clothes shop and came running out wearing a woman’s hat and then put it back. You know how people can get away with stuff and it doesn’t seem offensive? Well he could do that. When he was saluting when the Rolls Royce went own, like the captain of the titanic
"No matter what domestic scenario - he could have had an an Elizabethan mansion, a luxury penthouse suite or an open hall house -- Keith was such a ball of energy that it didn’t matter, he would still be basically unhappy and unable to concentrate on any normal life."
Beck's impression of Keith's domestic life after a weekend spent at Tara

-Were there any tears that night?

It tricked me into thinking.... I had nothing to do with his state of mind that night, but whether he was throwing that girl around to see what real misery he could inflict. You know some people are manic depressive and they secretly, a part of them enjoys, the furtherance and the depths, plumbing more depths of depression that is a new experience - in a negative way? Maybe he was laying his girlfriend on the loose just to hurt himself so bad that anything else was coming up from there. That is just my psychology on it, I don’t know whether you agree on that. ‘Jeff’s here, he’s awake and he’s able. I’m depriving this girl of some action, even though I’ve told her not to I want to get as close as I can to feeling as miserable as I can in order to feel better tomorrow.’ I’ve always thought of that as a mystery.

-He wouldn’t admit to you to being unhappy?

Oh no. He would gaze skyward and look pensive but it would only last for a split second. I was a bit jittery too. I was really flattered he asked me there. I can’t tell you -- I was such a fan.

-Even though you had a name.

And he loved that record he played on. I just dearly wanted that weekend to resume some later stage but it never did. And I hated that area, commuter land. Riche Blackmore, Jimmy Page in Epsom. They were all Surrey kids.

What people underestimated, he was the most incredible drummer. You can’t even mimic him. Nobody’s been able to do it. I’ve watched and stood beside him and just gone ‘jesus!’ You’re asking me to recount a car crash. I could describe a car crash easier than I could describe his drumming. 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' .. Those drums. If you gave the Who just that inch of good material. There is no one who ever held a candle to them. Townshend, he’s not a finicky fiddly tiddley guitar player like I was, and like Eric and Jimmy were -we were always a bit fairy arsed about it - he was orchestral and he was this windmill orchestra with a couple of howitzer cannons on the side. They were too good. They were highly intelligent. The veneer that they put out of this loony dangerous band was one thing, but when you got close to them.... I went to John’s house and he’d bought John Lewis (department store) out of bedclothes. He said ‘you’ll never know when you need this.’

You couldn’t keep us out of the Speakeasy. It was not just a restaurant or place to drink, it as a place where you got rid of all your troubles and exchanged hysterical stories, It was the most incredible place.

Everything was right, the weather was fair for that. We were not all tarred with the same brush, but it was a handy place to go and get a drink. ‘We can sort out our problems with tonight’s set down that the speak.. Oh great they do food as well.. Oh look there’s so and so over there.’ hendrix started going, clapton started going,m then it became a poser’s paradise. For whatever reason, you always came out of there feeling better than when you went in.

The last time I saw him I was going into a club and he was coming out and I didn’t e xpect to see him. ‘Keith ehhh?’ big huh. He said ‘where can I get hold of you?’ I said ‘I’ve just moved. I live close to Roger.’ he said ‘Roger Daltrey? How exciting for you...’

If you can imagine going up Wardour Street in that purple was like laughing at every single gag in the gOon show, and every single funny thing you;ve ever heard all crammed into that one little space in the shortest possible time. Extraordinary. And there’s no way you can glean any useful information from it. The jokes were coming out like rain, and I was thinking ‘I have to remember this line’ because he doesn’t even know how funny it is, he hasn’t even seen how funny it is.’ you come out of there converted in a big way. But thinking ‘I don't know how much more of that I could withstand’ because it’s dangerous to get to that high and then be let down because there’s nobody around that can do that. . .it was pretty intense.

-Many people say he was the funniest person they ever met.

I think it would be fair to say that. I don’t think he would have liked being 50. Or not being Keith the outrageous. He would probably have fitted into some kind of acting role. He’d have been doing something with Spike Milligan.

The drink was a signpost to that. Drink alters your character. I think if anyone close to him gave two shits they should have smacked him around the face and said ‘listen, you fucking idiot,’ maybe they did; from where I was standing, I thought I had my one chance down there, cos he respected me. I could have said ‘Listen to what you’re doing on that record, that brings you joy and you played it, that’ s not the beach boys, that’s you and me, let’s do some more.’ I thought that should have been the purpose of the visit.

Keith used to do a lot of uppers and play on them. I saw that. I spoke to his mum a few times when I was trying to find him. She said ‘oh I’m sure he'll call you. . .he always says he’s gonna put a band together with you?’ It stretched the elastic, I laid behind, then it would catch up with excitement. Then I realized it was hopeless. I had to have Keith - I wanted that power and excitement behind me. There was no one else.

-Do you wish you had?

I do. But he was almost armor-plated to any outside... If I had lived nearer it would have been okay. But I didn't like that area. I loved where I lived.

-Those 2 days you were in the studio, was it work?

No, there was not an ounce of work in it. It was like “I’m going to amaze these bastards up in that control room NOW. Not tomorrow, not in an hour, but NOW. One-two-three-four..." there’s not an inch of wasted tape. We didn't deliberate, we just played it through. There were no tapes, though jimmy and I had worked out some stuff at his house before. I remember Townshend looking daggers at me when he heard it, because it was a bit near the dark. If you turn that up loud it really is quite impressive. He didn’t want any one meddling with that territory at all. I secretly wanted to take that element away from the Who, and I wouldn’t have minded if there had been other drummers aspiring to that style but there wasn’t, there was no one could hold a candle or even imitate him.Until Cozy Powell came along. He was a young tearaway with a double bass drum, and that’s why I grabbed him. Keith didn’t have a hi-hat.

-How did that weekend end?

He disappeared. My car was at his house. How the hell did I get back? It’s the perfect ending because it turned into this explosion and the mushroom is still hanging over my head. I can’t remember how I got home. I just went into complete Moony land!.


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