There are a lot of bands who made their names in the 1960’s and 1970’s. For the biggest rock groups during that time, wrecking a hotel room with a party or two came with the job. There is one party story that continues to resonate to this day with fans of rock debauchery.
Keith Moon turned 21 years old on August 23rd 1967, but because of travel and tour schedule he had to put off his celebration for 24 hours.
What ensued on August 24th is the stuff legends are made of...
The Who, on their first North American tour, are opening for Herman’s Hermits at Flint Michigan’s Atwood Stadium. Their show wraps by roughly 10:00pm, which is when the band and their entourage decide to head to their hotel rooms at the local Holiday Inn.
As you would expect, at that point the drugging and drinking begin - or rather continue from earlier in the night at the venue. Moon, who has a reputation for getting blackout drunk and drugged up surfaces with a room full of women. It should come to nobody’s surprise that clothing was optional for this party.
The details begin to get a little fuzzy at this point, but according to the hotel manager it was during the next hour that most of the hotel fire extinguishers were emptied for no reason. That was then allegedly followed by toilet exploding in Keith’s hotel room.
To celebrate their wildest client, a drum company had delivered a giant cake to the hotel for Moon. As all of his friends and band mates gathered in the ballroom to serenade the drummer, a female fan jumps out of the cake wearing no clothing.
Keith decides to keep the festive mood going by dumping the cake on those in attendance. As you would expect, that was the opening salvo in the biggest, and probably only, food-fight in the Flint Michigan Holiday Inn’s history.
The fight spills out of the ballroom into the hotel lobby causing chaos and confusion. It was during this confusion that Keith Moon lost the rest of his clothes, which presumably was his underwear.
Just as Keith is seen running naked through the lobby covered in birthday cake, the police arrive at the hotel which causes all involved to scatter.
Moon, fearful of being arrested, runs out of the hotel in search of an exit plan. He finds this exit plan in the form of a 1967 Lincoln Continental. He hops in the car, releases the handbrake, and promptly begins to roll backward crushing a property fence, and sinking the brand new car into the hotel pool.
Moon surfaces in the pool after exiting the now sunk Linocln and realizes he’s surrounded by police who have their guns drawn and pointed at him.
Not one to give up, the wild-child drummer decided to make ANOTHER run for the exit after geting out of the pool. Unfortunately for Moon, he slipped on a piece of cake and hit the deck, knocking out his front tooth.
The cops are finally able to apprehend Keith, but before hauling him off to jail they stop at a dentist to reapir his mouth. The dentist reportedly tells Moon, and the police, that in his current state he doesn’t even need novicane!
With his tooth fixed, the officers bring the drummer to jail for the night. The next morning he gets bailed out by his manager, and is sent on a chartered plane to his next gig in Philadelphia.
Keith went on to build a notorious reputation for acting out on the road. Rolling Stone chronicled this in a piece titled “Keith Moon’s 10 Wildest Pranks”. It is definitely worth the read if you enjoyed this trip down memory lane!