Smashing guitars, throwing televisions out of windows, or destroying hotel rooms are part of some of the favorite activities of many musicians, who are not satisfied with the adrenaline of the concert and look for other ways to quench their wild instincts. The Who was one of the pioneering bands in destroying instruments on stage; Pete Townshend knocked his guitar out on the stage, while Keith Moon beat and kicked his drums.
The Who became a hotel’s worst nightmare. Keith Moon celebrated his birthday at the Holiday Inn in Michigan, but as usual, the drummer’s party just got out of hand. After several “minor” incidents, the final fireworks would be his Rolls-Royce sunk to the bottom of the pool.
“Happy birthday, Keith.” This was the text that appeared under the sign of the hotel of the Holiday Inn chain in Flint, Michigan, on the night of Wednesday, August 23, 1967. The Who, who had just opened for Herman’s Hermits at Atwood Stadium, were in attendance. It was Keith Moon’s twenty-first birthday and, how could it be otherwise, the drummer needed to celebrate with a party that was up to the task. The celebration not only lived up to the lunatic Moon but surpassed all expectations, turning the celebration into a pitched battle with an air of legend.
Moon is not only considered one of the most sublime drummers in rock history, but also one of the wildest characters to ever exist in the music industry. So crazy and fast in his way of life that he died at the age of 32. In life, he was part of one of the most important bands in the history of rock n ‘roll and participated in parties, concerts, and memorable drunks, in which he had fun as few people have done. He was a night owl, a being that needed festive savagery and laughter when he was not playing drums with the fury that characterized him. His entire life is told through irreverent and drastic anecdotes that show that Moon was not only satisfied with living but wanted to do it on the edge of everything.
On his 21st birthday, while The Who was in the middle of a tour of the United States supporting Herman’s Hermits in Flint, Michigan, in 1967, one of the most famous anecdotes of the band and its charismatic drummer occurred. After the usual damage on stage, The Who finished their performance and from there they left for the Holiday Inn, where they were staying to celebrate Keith Moon’s 21st birthday.
The mess started with a little joke between Moon and Herman’s Hermit’s bassist Karl Green when they threw some cake in their faces. This caused a pitched war of meringue and chantilly among all those present, which only stopped when the hotel manager warned them that they could not do that. “It’s my party, it’s my birthday, you can’t come in here” the celebrant would yell at him.
Perhaps annoyed by the warning, Moon – probably already with alcohol in his blood, as was usual for him – ran to a parking lot located on a kind of hill, where half a dozen luxury cars were parked, including a Rolls-Royce. He got into it, turned it on, and started down the slope. Moon was not able to control the car and went to crash and then plunge into the hotel pool.
Karl Green and Keith Moon had a relationship that relied heavily on practical jokes. When Keith returned to the party, he yanked on Green’s pants until part of them broke. The bass player was not far behind and did the same to his friend, only that Moon was left with absolutely nothing to cover his bottom. His penis was visible and the drummer was doing nothing to hide it. At that moment, the police arrived at the scene and began to arrest him for disturbing public order. The stories and memories of those involved about that night are contradictory. It is logical if you take into account that there was a lot of alcohol and amphetamines circulating from hand to hand.