Tuesday, 16 October 2018

I'm Keith Moon, What's Your Excuse?

I'M KEITH MOON, WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE? (320kbs-m4a/129mb/56mins)
BBC Radio 4 Extra broadcast: 8th September 2018

Phil Daniels remembers The Who's drummer Keith Moon who, had he been alive today, would have qualified for a bus pass.

His life was cut short after a prescription drug overdose on 7 September 1978. But Moon packed a great deal into his short life. As one of the documentary's key contributors points out, because he hardly seemed to sleep, Moon probably managed to pack an average lifetime into his brief spell.

This documentary tracks down contributors who were close to Moon at key periods of his life. Long-term PR man for The Who, Keith Altham, oversaw Moon's early career with the band and witnessed the - sometimes - fractious nature of the band's off-stage relationships. Moon's road manager, Peter "Dougal" Butler was a constant companion up until close to the drummer's demise. "Legs" Larry Smith was a friend who witnessed the tragic death of Moon's driver, Neil Boland. Small Faces drummer Kenney Jones had the unenviable task of replacing him on The Who's drum stool both during Moon's lifetime and after he died. All provide a fascinating insight into the workings of "Moon The Loon's" mind.

But possibly the most insightful voice is provided by Moon himself. Interviewed by Stuart Grundy in Los Angeles in 1974, much of the brief sixteen-minute recording has never been heard before and provides a poignant first-hand illustration of the troubled drummer's lifestyle.

Apart from featuring Moon's drumming and writing, his one solo album also gets a rare outing. And there are excerpts from his all-too-brief radio series, which was produced by the late John Walters. With those two minds in tandem, how could the result be anything but hysterical?!

The title of the documentary comes from the front page of a Melody Maker from the mid 1970s. In a picture featuring Moon and PJ Proby, the words emanate from the drummer's mouth in a word bubble. It first broadcast on Radio 2 in September 2011.

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