Simon Townsend on Keith Moon
Backstage at the IW Festival this year (2016) the artist’s village was a magnet for the press and quite a few of the performers.
Pete Townshend’s younger brother Simon dropped in with John Giddings for a chat and I caught up with him after the melee had died down. I’d interviewed him by phone a couple of years’ ago when he played Ryde Pavillion during the Scooterists Weekend in 2014 and we chatted a bit about that – it’s always good to put a face to a voice. We complimented him on his rather natty velvet jacket – long and a deep blue in colour. He said he was looking forward to playing with the Who later that evening and had just done a gig in the Big Top that he’d been a bit worried about but quite a few people had eventually turned up.
“It’s more difficult to attract a crowd when you’re just playing an acoustic set,” he observed, “But it was a great gig.” Simon said he hadn’t made it to the 1970 festival as he’d been only 10 but had pestered his mother to come. “I used to go to all the gigs until Keith moon died. I think I went to 36 and then I lost count but it wasn’t the same after Keith died,” said Simon. “I used to be quite scared when I went. I was worried that Pete would get hurt when he smashed up his guitars. It was terrifying.”
Simon recalled a story about the Who drummer, the late great Keith Moon who once went to one of the Who’s promoter’s offices where a young junior was holding the fort on his very first day in a new job. Keith arrived in in a top hat with a cane and a monocle, banged the cane on the desk asking for the promoter. When the rookie said he was out for lunch, Moon walked towards over to the promoter’s desk and placed both hands beneath it and flipped it over. Everything went everywhere. When the promoter got back from lunch he took one look at the mess, turned to the young lad and said: “I see Keith’s been in.”
Later the Who played a great two hour set with photographs of (the great) Keith Moon projected onto the backdrop as they belted out ‘My Generation’ and ‘I Can See For Miles and Miles’.
19 June 2016