You can’t listen to The Who’s music without wanting to blast it. Pete Townshend’s guitar playing, Roger Daltrey’s singing, John Entwistle’s bass playing, and Keith Moon’s outrageous drumming will never get old. But outside of melting fan’s faces with music, The Who’s drummer had a knack for performing equally outrageous pranks on his peers. Here are the top 5 most ridiculous pranks that Moon pulled in his day.
5. Keith Moon snuck into Mick Jagger’s hotel room dressed as Batman
In a recent appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show (per NME), Mick Jagger told the host about one night when he was awoken by Moon dressed as Batman, standing over his hotel bed. “Keith was a complete lunatic,” Jagger said. “I was in LA in a hotel once, asleep, and he broke into my room dressed as Batman. I woke up and there was Batman in front of me, with a mask and everything. It is not what you expect in the middle of the night. I think I had a knife, at least some sort of defensive weapon. So I pulled the knife and he said, ‘Oh no, it’s Keith.’ I said, ‘You’re not Keith… I can tell you are not from your voice.’ He replied, ‘No, Keith Moon.’ Then he took the mask off.” Moon had climbed up Jagger’s fire escape. That’s dedication.
4. Moon and his explosives almost destroyed the entire ‘The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour’ set
The Who is known for their shocking on-stage antics. They famously destroyed their equipment whenever they felt like it. It was punk before punk. However, Moon took that behavior a little too far during The Who’s performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967. It was the band’s American TV debut, and Moon wanted to end the show with a bigger bang than even The Who was used to. They performed their hit song “My Generation,” but their “smash-up finale was unforgettably real, thanks to Moon loading his drums with considerably more flash powder than he’d ever used before,” Rolling Stone writes. The resulting explosion “nearly blew the Who themselves off the stage,” momentarily blinded the TV cameras, and caused Bette Davis, who was in the program as well, to faint.
3. One of Moon’s reccurring pranks involved PSAs
When The Who rolled through town, you knew it. Moon would drive around small English towns spouting out fake PSAs over a loudspeaker. That was one of his favorite recurring pranks. To be as loud and obnoxious as he could, he would often use a police bullhorn and hidden amplifiers that were already attached to his car so he could blast his strange messages without rolling the windows down. According to Rolling Stone, Moon’s PSAs intended to scare the locals of “nonexistent dangers as impending tidal waves or advancing throngs of poisonous snakes.” Moon designed some messages to “ruffle their feathers” by announcing that the British government would be moving the country’s entire immigrant population to their neighborhoods.
2. Moon once dressed as a vicar and staged his own kidnapping
According to Rolling Stone, Moon loved going out in public dressed in costume. Costumes that would definitely attract attention. One of his favorites was a bald vicar, who would randomly scream obscenities to the casual passerby. But that wasn’t all the vicar did. Dressed as the character, Moon would stage his own kidnappings. Once, while walking down London’s crowded Oxford Street around midday, the vicar was kidnapped by a couple of gangsters. They dragged him off the street, kicking and screaming, and pushed him into a Rolls Royce. However, the “gangsters” were members of the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and the Rolls Royce was really Moon’s. Police even intercepted the car before they could make their getaway.
1. One of Moon’s pranks involved a water bed but it didn’t go to plan
Moon was such a hell-raiser that he virtually destroyed every hotel room he ever stayed in, especially his room in Copenhagen, Denmark, which he devastated in 1972. There was a water bed in Moon’s room, and he wanted to lug it to the hotel’s elevator and send it down into the lobby. He asked Townshend to help him, but it burst when they tried yanking it from the bed frame. Foot-high waves sailed into the hallway. Moon had a problem on his hands; how was he going to pay for all the damages? Moon was an expert, though, and got his way out of the mess without any hassle. He phoned the hotel’s manager and angrily told him the bed had popped and destroyed all his stage clothes. The manager apologized and moved Moon up to the fancy Presidential suite. The Who later destroyed that room as well.
Keith Moon was a force to be reckoned with, but he made some awesome moments in rock ‘n’ roll history and inspired other hell-raisers like the Sex Pistols and Mötley Crüe. However, decades after Moon’s death in 1978, hotels can live in peace.
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