Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Who Moon Resources

Welcome to the first of this week's big birthday tributes! For this first one, I have taken the liberty of jamming two sticks of dynamite into this page, which will explode when you click on the links.
He would have been 70 today, how loony is that? Obviously he wasn't interested in lasting half as long, and he's been gone a very long time, but the intervening years have not dulled the appreciation of what he did and how he did it.
It's never easy to be considered the best at something, especially when it's something so subjective, as in "Who is the greatest drummer of all time?" Especially when you know you really aren't, and you've lifted much of your style from someone from another realm the people listening and calling you the greatest aren't familiar enough with to make the connection.
It's easy to fathom how it all happened if you look at his personality and how he was off the 'stand. Always in need of attention, craving the spotlight at all times, never quite settled in to life away from the cheering crowds. Difficulty switching off the "performing" switch. 
If you look at his style of playing through the prism of his personality, it becomes obvious why he played as he did. You see, most drummers are there to keep the beat, 1-2-3-4. Their fills and rolls are dramatic devices to motivate the music and supply drama, inserted at the appropriate moments.
This gent? The exact inverse of the traditional approach. Always on a roll or a fill; the beat interrupts the drama rather than the traditional other-way-'round. It drove the audiences mad, but it must have driven his fellow bandmates even madder, in an entirely different way.
I once heard Pete Townshend say that he was the only one who played the beat in The Who. His mates were off on another trip, so it was up to him to curtail the cacaphony and introduce some sort of recognizable structure; the drummer and bassist were in no way interested in such things.
In all honesty, Pete's skinsman was only emulating the bomb-dropping style of a prominent Jazz drummer the whole time. If Mitch Mitchell brought the style of Elvin Jones into Rock via his membership in The Jimi Hendrix Experience, then by extension it is truthful to say that Keith Moon -- who'd have been 70 years old today, had he not exterminated himself with drugs and alcohol -- brought to Rock the always-pushing, high energy style of Jazz dynamo Gene Krupa.
You always hear that Keith was unusual because rather than the traditional drum techniques that take the player from side to side for rolls and fills, Keith's drive to animate and dramatize the music at all times molded him more in the Krupa aesthetic of back-to-front, where the player is always pushing forward to the toms you can see him smashing with typical gusto in the above pic.
Add to the fracas the idea that you knew at the end he was gonna demolish the whole kit, and you get the idea. I mean, he always looked about two seconds from demolishing the kit during the whole set anyway, am I right? He is possibly the first -- and only -- Rock drummer who is essentially the lead instrument in the band.
Everyone knows the tragic end of his story, and how he overdosed on the pills prescribed to him to combat his rampant alcoholism that saw him begin each day out of bed with a bottle each of champagne and brandy. He was only 32 years old when he died, but if you fast forward to now you'll have noticed that his name has never drifted far from the "Greatest Drummer Ever" discussion. 
How to celebrate the Loon of the skins -- he's even thought to have given Led Zeppelin their name --  then? I have broken out the heavyweight guns, and will share what is commonly held to be the best and best-sounding Who boot ever. It's the station reels from Dutch Radio, remastered by the adept fan who located them, of the first performance ever of Tommy -- and one many feel is the definitive rendering of this opus -- in an actual opera venue.
The Who
Het Concertgebouw
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

01 house announcement
02 Heaven and Hell
03 I Can't Explain
04 Fortune Teller
05 Tattoo
06 Young Man Blues
07 A Quick One, While He's Away
08 Substitute
09 Happy Jack
10 I'm a Boy
11 Overture
12 It's a Boy
13 1921
14 Amazing Journey
15 Sparks
16 Eyesight to the Blind (The Hawker)

01 Christmas
02 The Acid Queen
03 Pinball Wizard
04 Do You Think It's Alright?
05 Fiddle About
06 Tommy Can You Hear Me?
07 There's a Doctor
08 Go to the Mirror
09 Smash the Mirror
10 Miracle Cure
11 Sally Simpson
12 I'm Free
13 Tommy's Holiday Camp
14 We're Not Gonna Take It
15 Summertime Blues
16 Shakin' All Over
17 My Generation

Total time: 2:03:27

Peter Townshend - guitar, vocals, percussion
Roger Daltrey - vocals & percussion
John Entwhistle - bass and vocals
Keith Moon - drums, percussion & vocals

1st gen pre-FM reels of the complete concert, located, transferred to mini-disc and remastered by Prof. Stoned in 2005 and 2006
This performance is deeply shredding, no doubt about the fact that they are delivering the goods with this one. If you're gonna play the first Rock Opera in an opera house, you better bring it. Anyway I'd invite you as usual to pull it down and crank it up... when it's over you might refrain from throwing your TV into the swimming pool or driving your Lincoln Town Car into it, or not! It's all up to you, but whatever you do you oughta have an inordinate amount of fun in honor of Keith Moon, Rock's most feral, high impact drummer -- yes, Jim Henson modeled the Muppets' "Animal" on you-know-who -- born this day in 1946 and in no danger of ever being forgotten.--J.
8.23.1946 - 9.7.1978

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