Keith Moon Sleeps with the Fishes

by Regis Boff

4903_1175795075582_6055903_nJohn Entwistle, the bass player for The Who, would always demand a long stop over in a city that offered good deep-sea fishing when touring the United States. Phil Collins would drag everybody to the Alamo whenever the tour came within 550 miles of it.

John would rent a boat and take whoever wanted to come, out fishing for the day; he naturally controlled nearly all the poles. John was a very, very good guy. He stuffed and sent back to England practically everything he ever hooked. He was stone faced impervious to the un-uniqueness of his fishes. The amount of money he spent on this was staggering.

One such trip featured Keith Moon, who was helped that particular morning ceremoniously onto the boat by his butler. He had been outfitted somehow in a full dress white admiral’s outfit, with the hat, shoulder tassels and a monocle. Moon liked his outfits to be appropriate to the occasion although he rarely even roughly guessed where the fuck he was going. He was routinely out of sync with dress codes so one had to appreciate this particularly successful coincidence.

Keith was drinking heavily before the boat even began dawdling out toward deeper seas. The drinking was medicinal in his mind, a sensible rebuttal to the drugs and their effects from the night before.

Anyway, the fishing was going poorly and Moon, after only a couple of hours of faring the seas began crying and baring his soul to anybody who would listen, and certainly you had to listen because everybody on the boat effectively worked for him except for John. Listening to Keith was always a dangerous mental bear trap because he was very clever and it was easy to find yourself neck high in personally embarrassing shit.

He seemed to have internally manufactured a rocker’s epiphany of sorts. He told John he wanted the boat turned around and put to port as near to the finest hospital in Miami so in the three days remaining in the “layoff” he could “purify himself” under the care of “master physicians”.

It was not abnormal to have to cancel a show because this drummer had passed out on stage, so this plan was greeted with support. We found the hospital by phone from the boat, enticed, (paid off) a doctor to take command, said our goodbyes to a teary Moon in his hospital bed, and set off for lunch and then back to the hotel feeling pretty damn clever about everything.

At our hotel, the receptionist nearly fell running over to the Who’s manager with an urgent message from the doctor at the hospital. The hospital was demanding that Moon be picked up immediately because he was on a pay phone in the hallway in his dressing gown doing interviews with the local radio stations. He was inviting the kids to come over to the hospital for a party. When we got back to the hospital there was already a crowd.