December 5, 2020

2012-02-26 – Tallahassee Democrat

2012 02 26 Tallahassee_Democrat_Sun__Feb_26__2012_



TLl-I / Tallahassee Democrat

y nephew, Hub
Cub, who is 12, is
learning electric

guitar and has fallen in
love with The Who.

I couldn’t be happier but
my wife, Amy, smacked
her palm to her forehead
and groaned the first time
she saw me reaching for
the “Who’s Next” album
while saying to Hub Cub,”
“You really haven‘t heard
‘Baba O’Riley’ until it’s
cranked up loud enough to
unclog the sump pump in
the neighbor’s back yard."

Amy has suffered twice
through this Who rite of
passage. When another
nephew, Michael, 32, was
studying at Florida State
last decade, he often came
over to stay at our house
for late-night listening
parties of The Who. Adult

’ beverages were usually

involved as we worked our
way through “Tommy,"
“Quadrophenia,”“The '
Who By Numbers,” “Live
at Leeds” and always end-
ed up at “Who’s Next.”

It is impossible to con—
trol the volume lev-
els when “Who’s Next”
is blasting and fruity
rum drinks called Jack-
son County J awbreak-
ers are being served.
Michael’s favorite Who
tune is “Behind Blue Eyes”
because, well, he has blue

One night, when Amy
had long since gone down-
stairs to bed, Michael
adjusted the volume to
help drown out our sing-
ing during “Behind Blue
Eyes." We didn’t hear the
door open, but we felt the
room go cold when Amy
entered during the lyrics,
“And if I swallow anything
evil, put your finger down
my throa ."

When we finally noticed
that a shepherd of the dev-
il was putting a curse on
us, Michael killed the vol-
ume, fell to his knees and
shouted, “We suck! Please
don’t throw us out of the

Gosh, and I wonder why


For Amusement

Amy dislikes The Who so

Knock, knock. It's

Last weekend, Hub
Cub and I went to see the
matinee performance of
China’s Golden Dragon
Acrobats, who were vis-
iting the SeVen Days of
Opening Nights arts festi-
val. Along the way, we lis-
tened to The Who’s “I Can
See For Miles" while Hub
Cub quizzed me about the
band’s infamous drum-
mer, Keith Moon, who
died of excess at the very
young age of 34.

“I heard he was the best
drummer in the world but
he was crazy," Hub Cub

“You don’t earn the
nickname Keith Moon the
Loon or get banned from
the entire Holiday Inn
chain of motels by work-
ing at the petting zoo,” I

“What kind of stuff did
he do?" Hub 'Cub asked.

“Well, he's the guy who
invented the rock ‘n’ roll
cliche’ of driving a limo
into the motel swimming
pool,” I said. “He was the
life of the party, but you
did not want to invite him
to dinner at your house or
live next door to him."

I told Hub Cub how
Moon moved to Los Ange-
les in the early ‘705 and
bought a house in Malibu
next door to movie star
Steve McQueen. Moon agi-
tated McQueen by dress-

ing up like Adolf Hitler,
knocking on the actor’s
door and then jumping to
the floor to bite McQueen’s

“What kind of dog was
it?" Hub Cub said.

“An angry one," I said.
“Once, Moon got so blotto
one afternoon that he put

, on a gold lame jumpsuit,

a buffalo coat and mis-
matched socks to direct
traffic on the Pacific Coast

“He didn’t get run
over?" Hub Cub said.

“No, I think people actu-
ally took him seriously ‘
and followed his direc-
tions,” I said. “There is a
fine line between being
a charming drunk and a
complete madman."

When we got to Ruby
Diamond Concert Hall,
Hub and I watched a con-
tortionist balance trays
of water glasses on the
bottom of her feet. There
were jugglers, hoop-jump-
ers and a guy who rode a
unicycle that had no seat.

“What do you call that?"
Hub Cub said.

“A bicycle tire with ped-
als,” I said.

The show-stopper
arrived in the second half
of the show when a com-
pact fellow, who could
probably bench-press my
Volvo, began stacking
chairs. They were heavy
wooden chairs, the type
you see around dining
tables in the Balkans. He
stacked one, two, three,
four, five at the foot of the
stage. The chair tower
grew higher as he climbed
his way up to the balcony
level. If he fell, he would
land on the folks in the
first three rows directly
beneath him.

My stomach started flut-
tering as I watched Mr.
Chairs scale his Tower of
Death. When he got about
25 feet in the air and did
a handstand, I had to turn
to stare at the wall, and
that’s when I remembered
another Moon story.

Graham Chapman, the

Sunday. February 26, 2012 / PAGE 3

Dark side of the Mean: Keith Moon is not a role model

Infamous drummer for The Who, Keith Moon, died of
excess at the very young age of 34.

tall blond chap in Mon-

ty Python’s Flying Cir-
cus, used to hang out and
drink gin with Moon. Gin,
in case you don't know, is
one of the leading causes
of gin cramps.

Moon had checked into
the 14th-floor penthouse
of a fancy hotel under the
fake name of Rupert Wil-
de. After Chapman and
Mr. Wilde polished off
the first fifth of gin, they
phoned room service for
another bottle. When room
service took more than 15
minutes to respond, Mr.
Wilde walked out on the

“I thought it was a bal-
cony, but there was no bal-
cony," Chapman said later
during an interview on
British television. “There
was just a 5-inch ledge."

Mr. Wilde somehow
crawled along the ledge to
the penthouse next door.
He broke in, stole a bottle
of gin from the mini-bar
and returned to his room
with fresh supplies. .

“Keith rather behaved
like a pirate,” Chapman

When I turned back to
face the stage, the Chi—
nese acrobat was doing a
headstand atop the chairs
and his feet may have
been touching the ceiling.

“This is nerve-rack-
ing," Hub Cub said. “Let‘s

The big bang theory
Hub Cub was still quiz-
zing me about Moon when
we grabbed a bite to eat. I
did not tell him about the
room-raiding gin burglary
or about the time Moon
passed out mid-song dur-
ing a 1973 concert in Tex—
as. Moon had allegedly tak-
en tranquilizers intended
for gorillas. Guitarist Pete
Townshend pulled drum-
mer and Who fan Scott
Halprin out of the crowd
and the show went on.
Instead, I told Hub Cub
about the time The Who
appeared live on “The
Smothers Brothers Com-

edy House" in 1967. When
co-host Tommy Smothers
was introducing the mem-
bers of The Who to Amer-
ica, he referred to Moon
as “the guy that plays the
sloppy drums" and asked
him for his name.

“My friends call me
Keith, you can call me
John," Moon shot back.

The Who launched into
a blistering rendition of
the anthem “My Genera-
tion" (with the prophetic
lyrics, “Hope I die before
I get old.") The song was
slated to end with Town-
shend smashing his guitar
and Moon setting off one
cherry bomb inside his
kick-drum; a typical Who

No one in the studio —
not Smothers, not movie
star Bette Davis, who was
standing in the wings, not
Moon’s fellow musicians
— knew that Moon had
loaded his drum kit down
with 10 times the standard
amount of gunpowder.

“When the drums
exploded, it deafened
Townshend’s right ear
and a flying cymbal sliced
Moon‘s arm,” I said. “Bette
Davis passed out and hit
the floor."

The image of a collaps-
ing Bette Davis tickled
Hub Cub.

“Why did he blow up his
drums?” Hub Cub asked.

“That’s a very good
question, and I guess he
did it because he’s a drum-
mer,“ I said. “Hey, what do
you call a drummer who
has severe brain damage?“

“I don't know, what?”
Hub Cub said.

“Gifted,“ I said. “How
do you get a drummer off
your front porch?"

“I don‘t know, how?"
Hub Cub said.

“Pay him for the pizza
and give him a $5 tip," I

We kept that up until
we got home and put on
“Who‘s Next."

— Contact Mark Hinson at

(850) 599-2164 or mhinson@