Rock Accountant

Tag: The Who

The Who make their move on the Vatican

Keith Moon was out on the street, working as a doorman/bellboy at the Navarro Hotel in New York City between shows at Madison Square Garden because he was running out of money.
I got him that job thinking it might be a character-building experience. It also relieved, for a little while, everybody’s constant anxiety over where he was.
The hotel manager, Mr. Russell, a personal friend of mine, arranged it because he felt obliged. After all, the band had rebuilt three of his hotel rooms over the last two tours. I always turned to the word ” shredded” in reporting what Moon had done to them.
It was August 6, 1978. I think.
We were in one of the suites playing scrabble and waiting for something to happen when Mr. Russell called to warn that Keith and his entourage were heading upstairs and that he was carrying two bags from a new guest that he had forgotten to leave in the lobby.
The initial shock of having their taxi door opened by a rock star wearing a six-foot-long Indian headdress had worked itself out in the manager’s estimation.
He was sharing his gratuities with other regular bellhops conscientiously though he got ill-tempered with the division math. It has, in fairness to our drummer, been my experience that no rock star can count.
In minutes the drummer blasted into our room like a one-person Apache raiding party. Behind him trailed our security guys, five groupies, two hotel porters, and I guessed from their suits and ages the people chasing their stolen bags.
” Have you heard the news?” he was nearly moaning with excitement. “Some Pope is dead! “
Feathers whipping in his breeze, he whirled on Anne Wheldon, our publicist who lives in a barely suppressed nervous hysteria, ordering her to ” get me someone on the line right now from The New York Times and Billboard Magazine!”
He started to wring his hands like an early Adolf Hitler slavering over a defenseless prewar France.
“Go right to the top, Anne, tell them I am throwing my hat into this Papal ring.” His eyes had an almost religious luminescence.
She had the entertainment editor from the Times on the phone within minutes.
He straightened his feathers and hunched over the desk phone. The room grew silent. We hung on his side of the conversation.”
“That’s right; I have wanted to leave the band for years,” he confirmed to the guy. ” “Given this emergency, I believe that moment is ripe.”
He listened, and his face seemed to droop.
“No, I am not Catholic,” he paused, perhaps sensing his tactical error.” “But I am a quick study, ask Pete Townshend,” he attached smoothly.
“And don’t let that motherfucker Mick Jagger hear about this. He is the devil, you know,” cunningly racing to blot any competition immediately.
We were rolling on the floor by this time, and Anne was standing next to him, trying to get his attention, waving her arms and mouthing that she had Rolling Stone on the other line.
He put both hands over the phone and, in confusion, shouted at us,” Fuck, he wants to know what I think qualifies me to be the next Pope.”
Ever quick, Bill Curbishley, his manager, shouted back to him”, Tell him twenty-five platinum albums.”
We learned later that he was not considered. But then neither was Jagger.

May be an image of 1 person

How I dressed with The Who

Below please find a photo taken of me as I dressed during my years with The Who.

I early on impressed the band with my natural self-discipline.

Though Keith Moon once did confide that he thought the bracelets were “too much,” he spent much of his time aping my understated appearance.

Particularly in his off-stage outfits.

No photo description available.

“The Who” get infected

All that remained of the band’s all-night security detail was Jim Callaghan, who was shifting nervously from foot to foot in front of me. He was wearing one shoe.
I ignored him.
Keith Moon was stretched out in black nylons and a blue silk kimono behind a tea service set for him on a small Victorian table. His hotel suite window showed whichever lake was next to Chicago. It was early morning, sometime in the late seventies. He was wearing Callaghan’s other shoe.
At mid-tour, he was worn and beginning to look like an unshaven Judy Garland during her last difficult years, but I kept this to myself.
“Spot of tea, Regis?” he offered, not caring there was not a second cup. “Did you take in some theater before you rushed here to help me?” he jabbed.
“I wanted to pick up more cash,” I offered, working to deflect him. The band still made me nervous in my first years.”
I learned early that rock stars had no concrete understanding of cash, they liked it, but it stalled and confused them.
This drummer viewed me as a magically tall money fountain and understood vaguely that I needed a refill on occasion. It was our primary working link.
“We have disturbing confidences to consider you and me,” he began slowly, almost like an accusation. “I have met the wrong woman.”
He paused here, investigating our faces for sympathy. None came. But we didn’t laugh either.
Days seemed to pass as I was blank for any response. Callaghan cracked first,” He’s got the clap.”
“Quiet!” Moonie shot at him in a shrill hiss, “this is a grave intrigue; no one can ever know.”
” I’ll find you a doctor,” I swiftly convinced him, and then after brief but genuinely stupid pleasantries, I headed off to solve the problem.

I could make anyone do anything for Who tickets and cash.
An Indian doctor arrived at his suite in under an hour to take a culture. Soon after, Keith understood he had an especially hateful strain of Vietnamese gonorrhea.
That afternoon I headed back up to his room with the doctor and his bag in tow.
We found him with his intimate friend Dougal hunched over the suite’s dining table with pens and paper resembling Hitler and Goebbels plotting a North African tank campaign during WW11.
I made my first mistake while the doctor got ready.
I asked: “Should we let the girl know?”
“Girl?” he sniffed as though I had demanded the definition of a two hundred letter word. They both snickered at me; he said, “Reg, there are constellations of girls, and we are connecting those dots as you can see on our chart, pointing to the table.
With that, he turned back to his diagrams with Dougal, who was now so stimulated about the probable sexual connections he was practically drooling.
They were tracing who they had slept with and who else had been there. The enrollment grew and grew like a virus. No one, at least in the imaginations of these two, could be innocent. ( Except me, of course, because I would be paying the doctor.)
There is nowhere on earth like a rock tour when it comes to women. And yes, occasionally, the odd girl might have a condition of one kind or another. It did happen.
But groupies get a bad whack in music mythology. Commonly they had far higher IQs than the road crews, the traveling staff, and the band members they coveted. Most of the famous ones are ambitious, conniving, and breathtakingly forward advancing. Sometimes it is sad, but only rarely.
I understood that innocents were fingered, caught up as they were in Moon’s fabulously infectious net. Many were wrongly doomed that afternoon.
Dougal and I called nearly everyone on tour that day, and the glum suspects marched in to get their shots. Even some of our lawyers succumbed to the flimsiest of evidence. Still, the English are reliably the last to guess at a lie. They will nearly always misjudge what to do in favor of caution.
It was just good unclean fun, after all. With sick looks on their faces, they dropped their pants.
This doctor was now working for me full time. He made a small fortune and walked away with enough tickets to start another Ticketron in Chicago.
Everyone hung around all day and into the night—a major party.
A photograph exists of everyone standing or kneeling together in that suite at night’s end.
It resembled a U.S. baseball team card.
The Indian doctor was sitting in the center, holding a lap-full of Who tickets and syringes. I don’t know who has that photo today.
I would pay for it.

r/OldSchoolCool - Twin sisters and rock groupies Laura and Lynn Sanchez in San Francisco, January 1968.

Pete Townshend and me

From a letter: written by Jackie Curbishley, (Bill’s wife) about me and Pete Townshend. “You’re right. He was easy to love, but so difficult to trust. I never quite knew whether he was about to spit at me or kiss me. He was totally in awe of you and so jealous of you that he could hardly articulate when you were around. I have vivid recollections of the night you poured the whole jug of orange juice over his head. I’m pretty certain that nothing like that had ever happened to him before. I had to admire the way he recovered – getting his stash out of his top pocket and with those big hands spread out in front of him saying “Look what you’ve done!” as he held out the dripping little package. It was in Salt Lake City. Remember that? Jackie

May be an image of 1 person

Bill Graham and The Who


I saw this picture of Bill Graham posted by Lisa Seckler- Rhode this morning, and it grabbed a memory from that section of my mind that is usually only aroused by drugs.
We were doing a deal with him for The Who to play San Francisco sometime in the 1970s. He was bawling that we were cheating him.
Predictably his negotiating tactics relied chiefly on shouting or screaming. When doing deals with him in the old day’s, Bill Curbishley, the Who’s manager, would be on his suite’s phone, and I would be in the bathroom on an extension. In Graham’s case, and there are pictures, we put the phone on a coffee table between us and still hear him screeching.
He stubbornly believed he was singled out for disadvantageous treatment by God himself every minute of his day. He was a formidable adversary. Few promoters dared to stand up to certain bands — the Who had become too big to lose. That said, when I started with Genesis, he did me endless favors, which he did not have to do.
The other variable was that the band (The Who) loved him, so we never really tried to fuck him. No doubt, he did them favors too, early on.
We had settled on the particulars for one show, maybe the Cow palace in San Francisco.
After the contracts were issued, Graham returned his signed copy.
His shows represented at least 100,000 tickets per performance ( most likely far more, I can’t recall), to be sold at an agreed ticket price. Graham would get his percentage cut from that.
He raised the face ticket price ( which he printed) one dollar, hoping to keep the money without telling us.
When confronted, he responded, “but you were stealing from me” — We didn’t let him keep the money but with our admiration.

May be an image of 5 people and people smiling

Rock’s Greatest Manager

Bill Curbishley, on the right, is the manager of The Who. If he had chosen to, he could have managed The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and Lynyrd Skynyrd as well. He quietly changed the live music touring business, but what he enjoyed most was robbing deli’s with me on off days.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing

Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend

Taylor Swift savages boyfriends who cross her. There is a hazard to getting close to such a girl.
In vague comparison, if you fucked over Pete Townshend, it was time to renew your passport and run.
I listened to his music long before I knew him. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name the band individually. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with, and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who and maybe my favorite band.
The hardest band to remember their names were Lynryd Skynyrd. I had to practice so much I got blocks. It is why I only got to know Ronnie well.

“Can I have a word?” Townshend says to me by the hotel phone around midday.
Like some rare birds, he was an uncommon sight until late afternoon at sound checks. It was not a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. For me, at first, it was a reasonable cause for dread. He made me uneasy. It took years to work that shit out.
Bill, Jackie, and I were having a laugh in a hotel room working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour when his call came.
Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far, because the shows started in Montreal, we had a drawing of a giant green frog, with a chunk of Canadian​ bacon in its​ mouth, hopping on each city they would play. The amphibian was wearing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform, and he had a beaver under each arm. The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. I thought of it as an example of my favorite form of art, topical and bursting with ridicule.
But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room.
He did not look well. He had his tea. He could remind me of a bloodhound waiting for a proctology examination. I expected the worse because I had passed his security guy in the hallway, and he barely recognized me.

” Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied, he would be pleased.”
Yes,” I said.
“How much?” He actually​ groaned when I told him.
“Fuck,” was all he said
“Who was here?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter. I must have passed out.” He seemed to sigh, but he might have been still gasping in shock.
“Want me to put Jim on it?” I said.
“No, it’s gone, thanks.”
And I left.

Joyster & Friends: Monika Schaefer – True North Strong & Free? (12-15-16) –  Renegade Broadcasting

My Career

My career incorporated moving each day from one bunch of people to another. The populations of these audiences ranged from 250 to 150,000 individuals. In each instance, almost all of them wished they were me. That never helped.

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, stadium and concert

Did you steal my Money?

“Could I have a word?” Townshend said to me on the hotel phone around midday. Like certain rare birds, Pete was seldom sighted before late afternoon for sound checks.

It was not a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. In my case, it was fair cause for dread. He made me uneasy and I him at first. It took years to work that out.

A couple of us were having fun working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour .Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far we had a sketch of a frog with a greasy slab of Canadian​ bacon in its​ mouth hopping from city to city outlining where they would play. He was dressed in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform and in chase of​ a tubby beaver. It was in a time that people could laugh at themselves.

The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room with my bag .

He did not look well. He had his tea. There were no headless bodies and only his security guy who was desperately trying to focus his eyes on the sofa.

”Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied to him he would be pleased. ”

Yes”, I said.“

How much?” He gutturally​ groaned when I told him.

“Fuck,” was all he said

“Who was here?” I asked.

“It doesn’t matter I didn’t know them. I must have passed out.”

He is dangerous to try to read so I didn’t.

“Want me to put Jim on it?” I said.

It’s gone, thanks.”

And I left.

Keith Moon and My Mother

Keith always insisted they had a connection.
The trajectory of my mother’s last years was not unlike what was finally to be his own.
They both headed south like programmed seasonal geese into jet engines taking off from God’s airport. Neither jet nor psychosis was willing to alter course.
Their broken feathers scattered all around me while Moon’s drifted across the globe.
I showed him a picture of my mother once; she was beautiful by any standard. Someone had snapped it in the decade of the flowered smock. He was instantly smitten. Over tours, he would bring her up to me out of nowhere.
The smock dress, a product of the 1950s, was the church’s last effort to stifle any hint of a woman’s sensuality. But unfortunately for repression, the more one tries, the hotter girls get. I owe all my sexual fantasies to those inhibited Puritans who raised me.
When my mother died, conveniently between Who tours, he took it in pace and reluctantly gave back my picture.
He did, on occasion, sidle up to me to ask if I had any luck yet in finding a flowered smock in his size.

th
%d bloggers like this: