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‘I’m A Boy’: The many fantastic times Keith Moon dressed up in full-on drag back in the 1970s
10:31 am


Keith Moon
The Who

The cover of Trouser Press magazine featuring Keith Moon, #14, June/July 1976.
According to super-groupie Pamela Des Barres, during the time she dated Keith Moon for about a year, Moon seemed to be happiest when he was “anyone but himself.” During their short time together, Des Barres recalls that Moon enjoyed dressing up in her clothes and “frolicking” in her high-heels in the middle of the night, as well as trading “sexes” for kicks from time to time. Let there be no mistake, in the 32 short years Keith Moon walked among us mere mortals, he really lived every moment like it was his last.

Keith Moon in drag with Pamela Des Barres.
Dougal Butler, Moon’s personal assistant who was with Moon for ten tumultuous years, would refer to The Who’s timekeeper as a “heterosexual drag queen” who frequently enjoyed acting like a “ginger beer” (a “ginger beer” is a Cockney rhyming slang for “queer”) and was happiest when he could “get ahold of a dress or two.” Dougal, who authored two books on Moon, Full Moon: The Amazing Rock and Roll Life of the Late Keith Moon and Moon the Loon, noted of all of Moon’s many drag ensembles, the drummers favorite was anytime he could dress up in full regalia like an actual Queen.

In 1972 as the emcee of “The Ultimate ROQ Concert” festival for KROQ FM at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum that featured co-headliners Sly and the Family Stone and the Bee Gees (as well as Stevie Wonder among others), Moon appeared on stage dressed in silver sequins (a particular number he would wear many times to many events, pictured above), makeup and a blonde wig when he introduced the shows “special added attraction” Sha-Na-Na. Des Barres recalls in her book, I’m With the Band: Confessions of a Groupie, that she and Moon shared a dressing room with the Bee Gees, who got to watch the perpetually drunk Moonie’s many “wardrobe” changes. Yes.

Of course if you are a fan of The Who, then you’ve probably seen some of the photographic outtakes or magazine adverts from the band’s, 1971’s Who’s Next that feature Mr. Moon cheesecaking it up in ladies lingerie, full makeup and brunette and blonde wigs. In issue #14 of Trouser Press magazine (June/July 1976), the cover (seen at the top of this post) had a side-by-side image of Moon that amusingly suggested that Keith had a “split personality” of sorts. The image included a photo of Moon dressed in drag (and looking super hot I might add), for his gig as the emcee for two shows at New York’s Carnegie Hall with Sha-Na-Na and Cheech and Chong (during which, according to a news item from Billboard Magazine in 1972, Moon sat in on the drums during Sha Na Na’s set. WHAT?). A gig for which Moon flew from England to New York for one night’s work. Keith Moon’s unwavering dedication to having a good time truly (and quite sadly), knew no bounds. 

“Won’t Get Fooled Again” ad featuring Keith Moon vamping it up in ladies lingerie, 1971.
More Moon the Loon, after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
Who are You??? That time Keith Moon OD’d onstage and was replaced by a member of the audience

It’s like a Boy’s Own story. You’re at a concert with your best friend, watching your favorite band, when the drummer collapses on stage. The call goes out, “Is there a drummer in the house?” Next thing you know, your buddy has pushed you into the spotlight and there you are playing the drums with your rock star heroes.

This actually happened to one Scot Halpin when he turned up to see his favorite band The Who open their Quadrophenia tour at the 14,000 seater Cow Palace in Daly City, San Francisco, back in November of 1973. Halpin and his buddy arrived twelve hours before the concert was set to begin. They wanted to ensure they had the best seats in the house up near the front of the stage. This was to prove fortuitous for both Halpin and for the band themselves, for an hour into The Who’s gig—during “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in fact—Keith Moon passed out at his drums and was carried off the stage.

The house lights came up. Guitarist Pete Townshend announced:

“We’re just gonna revive our drummer by punching him in the stomach. He’s out cold. I think he’s gone and eaten something he shouldn’t have eaten. It’s your foreign food. The horrible truth is that without him, we aren’t a group.”

There was a thirty-minute intermission while Moon was revived backstage with “a cold shower.” The Who returned to the stage and resumed playing. But not for long. Moon collapsed again and this time he he could not be revived so easily.
Moon the Loon.
It was later discovered what had actually transpired: Moon had ingested a massive quantity of veterinary tranquilizers, which he then washed down with his customary bottle or two of brandy. The rest of the band: Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle carried on performing—Daltrey filling-in for Keith’s drums with a tambourine. It wasn’t exactly working. Townshend once more stepped toward the mic and asked:

“Can anybody play the drums? I mean someone good!”

This was the moment when Halpin’s buddy started yelling at the stage crew that yes, his friend was a drummer and boy could he play. Which was true up to a point. Halpin could play but was out of practice as he hadn’t picked up his sticks in nearly a year.

What happened next surprised both band and audience and has become the stuff of legend. Concert promoter, Bill Graham approached Halpin and pulled him up onto the stage.

“Graham just looked at me and said, ‘Can you do it?’ And I said ‘Yes,’ straight out. Townshend and Daltrey look around and they’re as surprised as I am, because Graham put me up there.”

A roadie then gave Halpin a shot of Moon’s brandy.

“Then I got really focused, and Townshend said to me, ‘I’m going to lead you. I’m going to cue you.’”

Townshend introduced him simply as “Scot” and launched into a couple of blues standards “Smokestack Lightning” and “Spoonful.” Halpin acquitted himself well. He kept good time and followed Townshend’s lead. Next up was the Who’s “Naked Eye” which proved far more tricky with its contrasting tempos. Halpin kept his cool and managed a steady beat throughout.
Scot Halpin fills for Moon with The Who.
It was the band’s last number. Halpin deservedly took his bow alongside Townshend, Daltrey and Entwistle. Backstage they thanked “...the skinny kid from the audience for stepping to the plate” but who “didn’t hang around long after the show.”

“They were very angry with Keith and sort of fighting among themselves,” Halpin said. “It was the opening date on their ‘Quadrophenia’ tour, and they were saying, ‘Why couldn’t he wait until after the show (if he wanted to get high)?”

Daltrey, who’d begun drinking Jack Daniels from the bottle at that point, told the substitute they’d pay him $1,000 for his efforts, and a roadie gave him a tour jacket on the spot. “Then everyone split,” Halpin said. “My friend and I both had long drives ahead of us, so we loaded up on all the free food that was put out for the band, and we both headed for home.”

In the meantime, someone stole the tour jacket that Halpin had just received as a gift.

Halpin received favorable mention in the next day’s Chronicle review. He received a nice letter from the band but no money - not that it mattered.

The event was commemorated by Rolling Stone magazine who honored Halpin with “Pick-Up Player of the Year 1973.”  Interviewed at the time, Halpin praised The Who’s stamina, saying:

“I only played three numbers and I was dead.”

More on the night Moon the Loon was replaced by a member of the audience, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Like a Black Mass’: The Who, back when they were The High Numbers, kicking up a storm in 1964

In 1964, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp were two young aspirant filmmakers wanting make their first feature. They had first met in a coffee bar in London, where they talked about their shared interests in film, art, music. Though from two very different backgrounds—Lambert ex-military, son of a composer, Stamp brother of actor Terence, son of a tugboat captain—there was an instant and dynamic rapport.

When they met again while working at Shepperton Studios the pair decided to work together and make a movie. It was to be their calling card—establishing them as serious film producers. They discussed options on what their film should be about and decided on making a documentary about a young Mod band and their rise to the top.
The High Numbers (aka The Who) performing at the Railway Hotel, 1964.
While looking for a suitable group to film, Lambert chanced upon the Railway Hotel in Wealdstone, London. He was intrigued by a crowd of young Mods and their scooters outside the venue. He ventured inside. A band was blasting out songs to around 500 youngsters crammed inside—dancing, singing, ecstatically enjoying themselves under the bright red garish lights. Lambert thought the scene reminiscent of one of the circles of Hell. Listening to the four young men on stage, he knew he had found his band.

I shall always remember that night we first saw them together. I had never seen anything like it. [They] have a hypnotic effect on an audience. I realized that the first time I saw them. It was like a black mass. Even then Pete Townshend was doing all that electronic feedback stuff. Keith Moon was going wild on the drums. The effect on the audience was tremendous. It was as if they were in a trance. They just sat there watching or shuffled around the dance floor, awestruck.

They were called The High Numbers. Formerly known as The Detours and The Who. The band Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon were tipped as “the In group” among London’s Mods. The music press at the time had this to say:

The four members of the group—Roger Daltrey, Pete Townsen [sic], John Allison and Keith Moor [sic]—all come from South London. Roger attended Acton County Grammar School, Peter went to Ealing School of Art, John attended Acton County Grammar School and Keith went to Harrow Tech.

Three of the group—Roger, Peter and John—worked with a group called the Detours. Keith was formerly with The Beachcombers. Listed among the group’s favourite artistes are Buddy Guy, John Lee hooker, Howlin’ Wolf—from whom they draw inspiration.


The High Numbers think of themselves as THE in group. They’re in because they wear their hair an inch long all over, and sport extravagantly striped blazers over zebra-crossing sweatshirts.

But most of all, they’re in because they play Marvin Gaye numbers and know what Mary Wells, The Miracles and Little Stevie Wonder are all about…

They’re individuals. Even in a world where everyone dresses alike, talks alike, looks alike.

You see, they’re up-to-date with a difference. They’re even ahead of themselves.

All so young and innocent.
They were signed to publicist Pete Meaden, who insisted on the band’s name change from The Who to The High Numbers in a bid to attract a Mod following. Meaden had also written their weakish debut single “Zoot Suit”/“I’m The Face”—which he spent a lot of money on, buying-up copies of the disc to make it a hit.

Lambert and Stamp proposed filming The High Numbers for their movie project—tentatively called Mod. They recorded the band performing two songs “Ooh Poo Pah Doo” and “Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying.” The High Numbers were raw, electrifying—with a great energy that singled them out as a major talent. Lambert and Stamp abandoned their film and decided they could achieve more by managing and producing this young, powerful band.
More after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Got old before he died: Roger Daltrey threatens to stop Who gig over audience pot smoking
09:42 am


The Who

Ultimate Classic Rock reports that Roger Daltrey threatened to stop a Who concert at New York’s Nassau Coliseum this week when he smelled marijuana smoke coming from the audience. The singer claims he is allergic to the smoke and it stops his voice from working.

You can see Daltrey scold the audience member with the wicked bud in the [below] video. He asks him to stop puffing or he would walk offstage. Then Pete Townshend gets a few words in too, before the fan apparently put away his stash and let the band continue on with its 50th-anniversary tour show.

Newsday‘s review notes that “the smoke’s impact was almost immediate on his voice, which went from crystal clear and potent for the opening ‘I Can’t Explain’ to something rougher and more limited during ‘I Can See for Miles.’”

Talk about their generation—apparently Daltrey and Townshend have managed to get old before dying.

Via Ultimate Classic Rock

Posted by Christopher Bickel | Leave a comment
Groovy vintage pics of The Who on the ski slopes
11:41 am


The Who

According to “WhiteFang,” who claims to have “the world’s largest collection of the Who records & CDs” and also has a good deal of other stuff, these amusing pictures of the Who on the ski slopes date from 1966, which figures just to look at them. The magazine that ran them is unknown, but “Naar de Wintersport” certainly suggests that it was Dutch.

Notice the playful typeface selection and the fun borders—I must say I admire the Dutch approach to teen fan magazines!


More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Finally: The Peanuts gang takes on AC/DC, Led Zep, Journey, Floyd, and the Who

Everyone’s already seen YouTube videos in which Snoopy, Pigpen, and the rest bop and gyrate to the dulcet tones of Bad Brains’ “Pay to Cum.” In fact, lots of folks have repurposed that dancing footage from A Charlie Brown Christmas to make it seem like the Peanuts gang is into Pharrell or whatever.

But it took YouTube user Garren Lazar/Super G to see the possibilities in the rest of the animated Peanuts oeuvre. He has made a whopping 34 videos (!) using Peanuts characters to animate videos for songs by a variety of classic hard rock acts, as seen below. These videos are remarkably good—I especially like the use of Schroeder’s impressionistic “Pathétique” sequence, which was just waiting to be used for something like this. The Peanuts version of Pink Floyd’s “Echoes”—24 minutes long, mind you—is especially mind-blowing.

I’ve embedded a few of my favorites here, but there’s plenty more on Garren Lazar’s YouTube page.
Led Zeppelin, “In the Light”:

More “classic rock” fun with the Peanuts gang after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’ gets an impressive sonic make-o’er
06:17 pm


The Who

I wouldn’t describe myself as the biggest Who fan.  Although I do own nearly all of their albums recorded while Keith Moon was still among the living, the only ones I ever pull out with any regularity are The Who Sell Out or the Tommy soundtrack, which I think is a freaking masterpiece although conversely, I detest the original.

I like them fine, but I don’t really care that much about them. The one classic Who album I have never even heard, however, is Quadrophenia. The only song I knew from it, until recently, was the album’s magnificent closer “Love Reign O’er Me” which was big on FM radio when I was a kid.

I’ve never seen the film, either. Sting is in it. I don’t think I have to elaborate further there, do I?

I’m telling you all of this, not because I want to parade my ignorance of The Who or of Quadrophenia in particular before tens of thousands of readers, that’s not my goal. What I am intending to impart, though, is that I am hearing the album with fresh ears, for the very first time in September of 2014 and in the form of the newly released 5.1 surround Blu-ray put out by the Universal Music Group.

I won’t offer my opinion on the music therein, because who honestly gives a damn what I think? It’s considered a classic album. Case closed. Suffice to say, I had a terrific listening experience and I played it three times start to finish in a 24 hour period and I have to say, wow, I really loved it. Best Who album. They always seemed like a “greatest hits” band to me, but this is a truly great album and it blew my doors off, bigtime. I consider myself lucky to hear something “new” like this.

What I do wish to discuss, however, is what an amazingly high tech product this audiophile toy is. The only real information that’s important, if you care about this album is the answer to this question: “I already own this, do I really need to buy it again or not?” Right? Well, admittedly as someone who has never owned Quadrophenia before, I would say the answer is probably yes. It is done very well, to the highest specifications and produced by Pete Townshend himself.

And it’s not like you’d be merely swapping one CD for another. On the back cover it reads:

“The 96kHz 24-bit audio on this disc has 256 times more resolution than a CD, providing greater detail and reproducing the music’s full dynamic range, from the softest to the loudest sounds.”

People will argue endlessly about whether or not the human ear can detect the difference between a 320 kbps MP3 and a wav file or redbook CD, but those same people would notice it immediately if you took away their 1080p HDTV flatscreen and replaced it with a top of the line SONY Trinitron from 1999. If you’re one of those people who are fine with Spotify or iTunes or carrying around your portable AM radio rubberbanded to your ear, this post is not for you.

So many people have their living rooms wired for 5.1 surround sound to watch movies, but even here in LA where you think people would be hipper to this kind of thing, most people really aren’t. You’d think the mighty behemoth-like Amoeba Records would have the best “Pure Audio” Blu-ray section in the entire country. They do not. Really, unless you’re buying something similar to it already on Amazon, it’s getting harder and harder to even find out that this stuff exists. Many cities don’t even have a single decent record store anymore. You can’t just bump into something that looks interesting like in ye olden days. “Browsing” for digital content housed on shiny little discs isn’t done much anymore as a human sport. The music industry did a really shitty job of selling the SACD and DVD-A formats to the public. So far it’s doing marginally better with the 5.1 surround sound stuff on Blu-ray, but sales I’d imagine are 95% Amazon transactions. I’m a big fan of 5.1 surround material and when it’s done this well and is this exciting for me personally to experience, I feel like, well, telling people about. It’s my duty. If you came to my house, I’d get you stoned and sit you down in the “sweet spot” and play this for you.

This new Quadrophenia has one of the best surround mixes I’ve heard in some time. It always annoys me when there’s a conservative approach to reimagining a classic album in surround sound, where it’s sort of like a bastardized stereo and the rear speakers are providing “echo.” This isn’t a conservative mix, it’s one that completely envelopes you like the seaside mist of a British coastal town. When it wants to be, it’s powerful and bombastic, like a thunderstorm, or by turns quiet and dynamic. There is a lot of space around each instrument. It’s not overly gimmicky, either, never calling attention to itself, even as it wows you. The “tone” of Townshend’s guitar has never sounded quite as “immediate” as it does here. Moon’s characteristic flamboyant drum fills are wisely not confined to front or back speakers, giving the listener a visceral experience of his octopus-armed pounding. It’s very, very impressive (and please do keep in mind that I’m the same guy who started this review off by telling you how blasé I am about The Who).

The UMe “Pure Audio” Blu-ray of Quadrophenia has a list price of $26 but many Amazon merchants offer it for around $15. Forget about the whole “I already own this” factor, because you don’t own this version of it and it’s damned good. There’s a gallery of photos from the original Quadrophenia booklet that runs as a really gorgeous slide show and then repeats itself about about 15 minutes. There is also a flat transfer of the original master tape, but I have to say, listening to it folded down into stereo (that’s my perspective, at least) makes it sound terribly flat. If you’re already a fan of this album, it would go the other way—opening up like a 5.1 flower—and as I have been saying, the experience is a pretty spectacular one for audiophile music lovers.

My sole criticism is that there isn’t enough bass in the mix, but you can simply turn up your subwoofer if you want to hear more of “The Ox.” Otherwise, I can’t recommend this highly enough. 10/10. The Amazon reviewers seem to agree.

I’m still not planning to see the film though. Sting is in it.

After the jump Darren Lock shares his opinion of the new 5.1 Blu-ray of Quadrophenia…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Classic album covers minus deceased band members

Over the weekend, when the sad news spread about the passing of Tommy Ramone, a really touching image circulated online, showing the Ramones debut LP, then the same cover with Joey, Johnny, and Dee Dee Photoshopped out, and then, at last, Tommy removed as well. Dangerous Minds even shared it on our Facebook page.

The middle image, of Tommy standing alone in front of that iconic brick wall, seems to have come from a Tumblr called “Live! (I See Dead People),” which is devoted entirely to skillfully removing deceased musicians from their LP covers—sort of like “Garfield Minus Garfield,” but with a more serious intent. The subjects range from cult figures like Nick Drake to canonical rock stars like Nirvana and The Doors, and the results are often quite poignant. The blog hasn’t been updated in almost three years, so it seems unlikely the artists behind this project, Jean-Marie Delbes and Hatim El Hihi, will re-do that Ramones cover. Indeed, their Morrison Hotel still features Ray Manzarek, who passed on a little over a year ago.

New York Dolls, s/t

Ol Dirty Bastard, Return to the 36 Chambers

Nick Drake, Bryter Layter

The Who, Odds & Sods

Johnny Thunders, So Alone

George Harrison, All Things Must Pass

Nirvana, “Smells Like Teen Spirit

Jeff Buckley, Grace

The Doors, Morrison Hotel

John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Double Fantasy

The Clash, s/t

Elvis Presley, s/t

Hat-tip to Derf for this find.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The lost Mod who may have inspired The Who’s ‘Quadrophenia’
01:53 pm


The Who
Pete Townshend
Simon Wells

In the climactic scenes of the film Quadrophenia, based on The Who’s concept album, Jimmy (Phil Daniels) rides a prized Mod scooter along the cliffs at Beachy Head, East Sussex, before hurling it over the cliff on to the sea-lashed rocks below. It’s a symbolic end to Jimmy’s life as a Mod, as a follower believing in false idols, like his hero Ace Face (Sting) (whose scooter he stole), a local Mod leader, who turns out be nothing more than a bell-boy lackey. Jimmy’s fall is central to the film, and to Pete Townhend’s album. But Jimmy’s symbolic crash may have actually been inspired by the death of Mod teenager, Barry Prior in 1964.

Novelist, journalist and musician, Simon Wells believes he has uncovered the lost Mod who may have inspired Townshend’s Quadrophenia. Wells is the author of such best-selling biographies as Coming Down Fast on Charles Manson; Butterfly on a Wheel: The Great Rolling Stones Drugs Bust, The Beatles 365 Days, and a novel Tripping Horse. He has just finished a book on the making of the film Quadrophenia, which will be released next month. In 2009, Wells uncovered a news-clipping about Barry Prior’s death, which started his investigations into the story.

In the spring of 1964, a 17- year-old trainee accountant by the name of Barry Prior fell to his death at [Saltdean]. He’d been down to Brighton with a group of friends from London, to engage in what history now defines as the “Mods and Rockers” riots of the early 1960s. Whether by design or through an act of eerie synchronicity, Barry’s journey is echoed by the album and attendant film version of Quadrophenia, Pete Townshend’s classic paean to teenage angst. The fact that the concept’s protagonist, a similarly aged office worker from London, met his “demise” on a Brighton cliff top haunts me. As far as I’m concerned, these similarities are just far too extraordinary to be an act of coincidence.

Wells uncovered a local newspaper report of the accident, which detailed what had happened to Prior.

I pull out a photocopy of a news feature concerning Barry’s death that I uncovered quite by accident a while back. It’s from the Brighton Evening Argus, a provincial daily newspaper that’s as much a fixture of the town as the promenade and pier. Next to the headline, “Mod Falls to Death at Brighton Cliff”, there’s a photograph of Barry’s scooter and a group of sullen youngsters in a huddle around the cliff edge.

As one would expect from a local newspaper, it’s pretty stilted in its reporting of the drama. Additionally, as the Argus is a daily issue, the feature was probably thrown together in order to meet the noonday deadline. The article informs me that following an eventful day in Brighton, this group of thrill seeking Mods arrived at Saltdean around 3am.

What happened in the ensuing hours is a mystery. All that is known is that Barry’s body was discovered shortly after 7am, lying sprawled some 100 feet below on the beach. Colin Goulden, one of Barry’s circle recalled the moment when they discovered that Barry wasn’t where he should be.

“One of the boys said he was missing and we started looking for him,” said a stunned Goulden.

“Someone looked over the cliff and saw him lying there. He shouted out, but at first we thought he was mucking about, trying to get us all up.”

Fred Butler, another friend from London could hardly bring himself to look at Barry’s scooter as reporters pressed him for an explanation:

“I don’t know what could have happened. There was no trouble or fighting. We came out here to get out of the way. Perhaps he got up in the night and went for a walk. No one saw anything and there were no screams.”

Trying to make some sense of this, my immediate thought is that in his bleary state, Barry may well have gone for a pee or some other ablution, misjudged his footing and headed off into the unknown. Presumably, the fence is a recent addition; had it been in place back in 1964 history might well have been different. I gingerly venture forwards and peer over the cliff. It’s absolutely terrifying and offers no respite in its descent to the ground. Barry wouldn’t have stood a chance.


Barry’s friends went for help, but after the events in Brighton between Mods and Rockers earlier in the day, no one would answer their doors, as one friend explained to the paper:

“We went over to the houses on the other side of the road to call the police,” recalled one of the lads. “But they wouldn’t open their doors at first. They thought we were out for trouble: you know what it is.”

Emergency services eventually arrived, who then had to make a 1600 foot detour along the cliff to reach Barry’s body on the shore below.

One of youths, either too shaken or terrified to give his name to the Argus, recalled the grisly scene when they approached Barry’s body.

“It was horrible,” he said. “He was lying there wearing a green anorak and socks but no shoes. He was horribly bashed up.”

The article concludes that after Barry’s body was taken away by ambulance to hospital, the police took a few of the Mods back to Brighton to fill out witness statements. Following the completion of the necessary paperwork, they were allowed to leave. It must have been a pitiful and sombre retreat back to London, with the impending horror of having to recount Barry’s death to his family weighing heavily on their minds.

Brighton was a focus for the Mods during the early 1960s, where they famously gathered to face-up to rival Rockers. The town was also a favorite haunt for The Who, performing extensively here in 1964 at the Florida Rooms.

The place obviously found favour with Pete Townshend, who dedicated Quadrophenia‘s album to those lucky few who attended those Florida Rooms gigs. When pressed on this, Townshend has recalled a seismic event that occurred in his consciousness one blisteringly hot summer night in August 1964. Following a typically frantic Who performance, Pete left the sunken reaches of the venue and perched himself on the promenade to wind down. As he meditated on the sea while having a relaxing smoke, the last few stragglers from the concert made their way up the marble steps to street level. As the faintly metronomic sound of the tide morphed with the strains of Tamla Motown seeping out of the Ballroom, it made for an enchanting aural concoction. As if on cue, a few hardy Mods stepped into their scooters, and drove around in a circular formation before moving off into the darkness. As these disparate elements gradually merged into a moving motion picture, Townshend was entranced. To him it was the “most perfect moment of my life”, a confirmation of the sort of landscape that had played in his head, but rarely in reality. Elements of this scene are echoed in the film of Quadrophenia, where a group of scooter riders similarly engage in an automated circle dance at first light. As I piece the images together at the same location, it strikes me that this particular experience defined Townshend’s vision for Quadrophenia more than any other factor.

A coroner’s inquest concluded a verdict of “death by misadventure.” But the story doesn’t finish there, as Simon Wells discovered that Barry’s brother was later employed by The Who, which makes it more than likely that Pete Townshend had heard of Barry Prior’s ill-fated trip to Brighton and tragic death long before he wrote Quadrophenia.

Read Simon Wells original article here, details of his forthcoming book Quadrophenia: The Book of the Film here.

Previously on Dangerous Minds
The Rolling Stones great drugs bust

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pete Townshend and the Auto-destructive art of guitar-smashing
10:33 am

Pop Culture

The Who
Pete Townshend
Gustav Metzger

Pete Townshend said it was an accident the first time he smashed his guitar. He was playing with The Who in a small cramped room at the Railway Hotel in Harrow, west London. The ceiling was damp with condensation, the room smoky, a smell of sweat and stale beer. The Who were playing “Smokestack Lightning,” “I’m a Man,” and “Road Runner” when:

I scrape the howling Rickenbacker guitar up and down my microphone stand, then flip the special switch I recently fitted so the guitar sputters and sprays the front row with bullets of sound. I violently thrust my guitar into the air—and feel a terrible shudder as the sound goes from a roar to a rattling growl; I look up to see my guitar’s broken head as I pull it away from the hole I’ve punched in the low ceiling.  It is at this moment that I make a split-second decision—and in a mad frenzy I thrust the damaged guitar up into the ceiling over and over again. What had been a clean break becomes a splinter mess. I hold the guitar up to the crowd triumphantly. I haven’t smashed it: I’ve sculpted it for them. I throw the shattered guitar carelessly to the ground, pick up my brand-new Rickenbacker twelve-string and continue the show….

This is Townshend recounting the first time he smashed a guitar in his autobiography Who I Am. It’s an event that Rolling Stone magazine considered so important that it was included in their list of “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll.”

When The Who played the Railway Hotel the following week, the audience expected Townshend to give a repeat performance of his guitar smashing. He didn’t. The next time Townshend smashed his guitar was at the Olympia Ballroom, Reading, in April 1965. This time it was done as a piece of self-promotion. The Who’s manager Kit Lambert had “invited Virginia Ironside (Daily Mail) and writer Nik Cohn along to this gig and briefed Pete to create an impression by smashing his £400 Rickenbacker, despite the expense.”

This he duly did, and Keith joined in by smashing his drums. However, Lambert had been waylaid in the bar with the journalists when this grand spectacle occurred and was reportedly horrified to find he had been taken at his word.

It wasn’t until 1966 that Townshend’s trademark guitar-smashing regularly became part of The Who’s performance right up to a concert at the Yokohama Stadium, Tokyo, Japan, where he smashed a gold Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster.

Over the years, Townshend has given various reasons as to why he first smashed his guitar in September 1964. He has claimed he deliberately did it because he “was determined to get the precious event noticed by the audience.”

Pete: I proceeded to make a big thing of breaking the guitar. I bounced all over the stage with it and I threw the bits on the stage and I picked up my spare guitar and carried on as though I really had meant to do it.

And he has also said it was “really meaningless”:

“I’ve often gone on the stage with a guitar and said, ‘Tonight, I’m not going to smash a guitar, and I don’t give a shit.’ And I’ve gone on, and every time I’ve done it. Basically, it’s a gesture that happens on the spur of the moment. It’s a performance, it’s an act, it’s an instant, and it’s really meaningless.”

“I thought, ‘It’s broken’” said Townshend. “‘Might as well finish it off.’”

But in his autobiography, Townshend ties his guitar-smashing into a more political act:

I had no idea what the first smashing of my guitar would lead to, but I had a good idea where it all came from. ... I was brought up in a period when war still cast shadows, though in my life the weather changed so rapidly it was impossible to know what was in store. War had been a real threat or a fact for three generations of my family…

I wasn’t trying to play beautiful music, I was confronting my audience with the awful, visceral sound of what we all knew was the single abso lute of our frail existence—one day an aeroplane would carry the bomb that would destroy us all in a flash. It could happen at any time. The Cuban Crisis less than two years before had proved that.  On stage I stood on the tips of my toes, arms outstretched, swooping like a plane. As I raised the stuttering guitar above my head, I felt I was holding up the bloodied standard of endless centuries of mindless war. Explosions. Trenches. Bodies. The eerie screaming of the wind.”

All this from one smashed guitar?

It’s undoubtedly good copy, and gives the young Townshend’s actions considerable cultural cachet, as The Who at this time were still little more than a pop band singing songs about white boy angst—music for young white working class kids who thought they were missing out on something, but weren’t quite sure what. By 1965, there was nothing particularly new about their music or their obsessions with girls, dancing, or their generation. But the association with Mods, and Townshend’s guitar-smashing gave the band an edge, which counterculture figures like Mick Farren would later see as making Townsend and The Who revolutionary figures offering a kind of leadership in the fight against a police state.

In the early sixties, Townshend had been a student at Ealing College of Art, where he attended classes given by the auto-destructive artist Gustav Metzger. In his autobiography, Townshend says he was “Encouraged too by the work of Gustav Metzger, the pioneer of auto-destructive art, I secretly planned to completely destroy my guitar if the moment seemed right.”

So, who is Gustav Metzger and what was his “auto-destructive art”?

Find out after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘All My Loving’: Stupendous 1968 music doc with The Who, Jimi, Zappa, Cream, Animals and Pink Floyd

Just how good a year for music was 1968? Consider this list of albums from that year:
The Rolling Stones, Beggars Banquet
The Beatles, The White Album
The Kinks, The Village Green Preservation Society
Procol Harum, A Whiter Shade of Pale
The Band, Music From Big Pink
The Zombies, Odessey And Oracle
Janis Joplin, Cheap Thrills
Sly & The Family Stone, Dance to the Music
Cream, Wheels of Fire
Joni Mitchell, Song To a Seagull
Creedence Clearwater Revival, Creedence Clearwater Revival
Jimi Hendrix, Electric Ladyland
Frank Zappa, We’re Only In It For the Money
Jeff Beck, Truth
Pink Floyd, A Saucerful of Secrets
The 13th Floor Elevators, Bull of the Woods
The Monkees, Head
Can, Delay 1968
The Doors, Waiting for the Sun
Jefferson Airplane, Crown of Creation
Eric Burdon and the Animals, The Twain Shall Meet
Harry Nilsson, Aerial Ballet
Iron Butterfly, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
If those titles hold any appeal to you at all, then you are definitely going to enjoy Tony Palmer’s stunning 1968 documentary All My Loving, which purportedly was made as the result of a gauntlet that John Lennon and Paul McCartney threw down to Palmer (whose films before that had—a bit like George Martin—focused on classical music), to make an hour-long movie that captured the state of the music world in 1968. What makes the movie work, quite aside from Palmer’s adventurous editing style, fondness for tight closeups, aural brio, and impressionistic chops, is the palpable sense that something really interesting was happening in society—crucially, before the post-Altamont, post-Manson hangover had set in. It was a perfect moment for a documentary of this kind. The musical personages in the movie, many of them legends, are treated as very interesting pop stars but not much more than that, and that relative impartiality is essential to what makes All My Loving so good.

It’s difficult to overstate how wonderful All My Loving is. Stylistically, it suggests an experimental movie produced by 60 Minutes (or the English equivalent, anyway). In other words, it’s loose in form but stentorian in tone (but never unsympathetic to the youth movement). The amount of astonishing footage that Palmer managed to cram into a mere hour boggles the mind. Palmer appears to have access to just about anyone he wanted, so we get brief statements or conversations with Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Eric Burdon, Frank Zappa, Manfred Mann, Pete Townshend, George Martin, and so on. With the possible exception of Zappa, Burdon’s the most articulate of the bunch, pointing out the similarities between taking LSD and doing a stint in Vietnam.

The movie features truly scintillating performances from Cream (“I’m So Glad” and “We’re Going Wrong”), The Who (“Mary Anne with the Shaky Hand”), Pink Floyd (“Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”), Donovan (“The Lullaby of Spring”), Jimi Hendrix (“Wild Thing”), the Animals (“Good Times” and “When I Was Young”). There is some utterly fantastic close-up footage in which The Who destroy their instruments at the end of a gig at, of all places, the Peoria Opera House as well as some similar footage of Jimi Hendrix just shredding the entire concept of rock and roll right in front of your eyes. ALL of the performance footage is remarkable.
There are also some amusing interviews with a “sleazy” music publisher with a pencil mustache who by rights should be named Monty Python (his name is actually Eddie Rogers) and a self-confident “jingle executive” from America named Jim West (motto: “Selling Spoken Here”) who explains how to use advertising techniques to con teens into coming to see the Mona Lisa. There are a handful of other British music industry types who are barely identified and don’t have to be—they’re the local color. They also get some frankly inane comments of the dismissive variety from none other than Anthony Burgess.

Palmer made dozens of documentaries from the 1960s onward, and they cover a fascinating range of personalities, including Leonard Bernstein, Benjamin Britten, Rory Gallagher, Peter Sellers, Liberace, Hugh Hefner, Leonard Cohen, and on and on. He codirected 200 Motels with Frank Zappa. The governing tone of All My Loving is one of indulgent “concern,” of investigating a “problem” to be “solved”—we hear about the deafening volume of the new music and the possibly shallow values of the kids and so forth. There’s some startling imagery from Vietnam thrown in as well—never forget Vietnam. This movie goes all over the reservation to evoke 1968—and succeeds.

With its big, messy crescendo, the end of All My Loving somewhat resembles 2001: A Space Odyssey and “A Day in the Life,” and, to Palmer’s credit, the ending, which rapidly shows the breathtaking variety of images we’ve seen over the previous hour (scored to “Be-In (Hare Krishna)” from Hair), works marvelously. Set aside some time for All My Loving. You won’t regret it.

via Beatles Video of the Day

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Mind-blowing early Soft Machine footage, 1968
Carnaby Street in Color, from 1968

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Lazy Fat People,’ a Pete Townshend youth anthem even more cutting than ‘My Generation’
10:54 am


The Who
Pete Townshend
The Barron Knights

The Lazy Fat
Unlikely as it may seem, around 1966 Pete Townshend penned a harsh little ditty dividing the world up into the “lazy fat” and the “beautiful young,” warning that the lazy fat are complacent, unperturbed, obsessed with money—and will eventually win out over the beautiful young.

Lazy and fat they are, they are.
And because they are all the same..
They laugh and exclaim
“The young are so funny”

They burn in the sun, the sun
And though painfully pink, when it rains
They always complain
“We all paid our money.”

Oh! The lazy fat people
Are a terrible sight to see.
And the lazy fat people will
Get the better of you and me…….

Lazy and fat they are, they are.
Their children diet till thin
To leave more for them
“To save us some money.”

Oh! The lazy fat people will
Try to sit on you and me
If we dont watch out theyll
Get the better of you and me.

How to tell the young from the
Lazy fat is easy to do…..


Obviously, this song, called “Lazy Fat People,” was never released as a Who single, although Pete did lay down a demo recording of it. He offered it to Episode Six, a band that at the time contained the core of what would become Deep Purple, in the form of Roger Glover and Ian Gillan, but they passed on it. Townshend then offered it to The Barron Knights, who said yes—their version appeared as a single in 1967.

The Barron Knights were an interesting group—hell, they are an interesting group, they’re still active. They spent some time in Hamburg, like the Beatles did. Bill Wyman saw them in 1961 using an electric bass, an instrument he had never seen before, and the gig inspired him to take it up. The Barron Knights were one of the few groups to tour with both the Beatles and the Stones. The Barron Knights appear to have had a facetious streak, which made “Lazy Fat People” ideal for them, and they seem to have been irreducibly British in comparison to the Beatles and the Stones. Much later, in 1978, they reworked a song about the Smurfs so that it was about a group of British bank robbers.

The Barron Knights’ version of “Lazy Fat People” is a bit laddish, using a muted trumpet for the interstitial musical sections. In Townshend’s acoustic demo, he appears to have used a slide whistle for those parts, and considering how blockheaded the lyrics are, his version is really quite sweet.

Barron Knights version:

Pete Townshend demo:


Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Pete Townshend’s nauseating PSA for The United States Air Force during the Vietnam War

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Who: Perform the best live version of ‘Tommy’ at Tanglewood 1970

The Who give one of the best live performances of Tommy at Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts, July 7th, 1970.

If anyone wants to know what The Who were like at their best, then they need only take a look at the talent, passion and energy of these 4 exceptional, young musicians, who together make this an incredible and unforgettable concert.

Track Listing

01.“Heaven and Hell”
02. “I Can’t Explain”
03. “Water”
04. “I Don’t Even Know Myself”
05. “Young Man Blues”
06. “Overture”
07. “It’s a Boy”
08. “1921”
09. “Amazing Journey”
10. “Sparks”
11. “Eyesight to the Blind”
12. “Christmas”
13. “The Acid Queen”
14. “Pinball Wizard”
15. “Do You Think It’s Alright?”
16. “Fiddle About”
17. “Tommy Can You Hear Me?”
18. “There’s a Doctor”
19. “Go to the Mirror!”
20. “Smash the Mirror”
21. “Miracle Cure”
22. “I’m Free”
23. “Tommy’s Holiday Camp”
24. “We’re Not Gonna Take It”
25. “See Me, Feel Me”
26. “My Generation”


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Mods’: 1965 French documentary featuring the Who
07:22 pm


The Who

Here’s a very cool documentary about mods that aired on French TV show Seize Millions Des Jeunes in March of 1965. Includes live performances by the Who as well as interviews with the band and their managers Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp.

You may have seen segments of this documentary on Youtube over the years, but this one is complete and has subtitles. If you want to own it, buy the Blu-ray version of the newly and beautifully restored Quadrophenia. While I’m not a big fan of the movie, Criterion deserves accolades for doing a brilliant job (along with the Who) of polishing the sound mix (in its original stereo and a fresh 5.1 version) and cleaning up the original film elements and transferring them to digital. The results are stunning.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Roger Daltrey’s ‘Fillmore East’ t-shirt is for sale on eBay

You can own the “Fillmore East” t-shirt that Roger Daltrey wore during the Who’s 1976 US tour. And your money will go to a good cause: Teenage Cancer Trust.

The shirt is being auctioned on eBay and so far is at £1,650.00 with 4 days to go. To place a bid, click here.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
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