Keith Moon wore costumes in everyday life and always seemed to be clowning, that's why I thought he was someone to emulate, as I feel life should be joyous. His name sounded mystical too, you take a very rock n roll name like "Keith" and combine it with 'The Moon'. There are so many crazy , awesome and awful things he did in his life and as kid, I had no idea what they really meant. Keith Moon was like a god to me. When I won "best actress in a comedy" at my High school's drama awards ceremony, I talked about the impact he'd had on my young life. When I was Rotary student of the month for 'originality' I posed as him in the school paper,wearing a paper top hat and substituting my guidance counselor's Mercedes for a Roll Royce. I grew my eyebrows to frankly unflattering proportions to frame my large brown eyes ala Moonie. I acted like a nut too.
My best buddy Rachael, was Oliver Reed and I was Moonie and we were able to get the local wino to by us a big bottle of Dekuyper brandy (VSOP Courvoisier or Remy Martin was not in our budget but now that Rachael is a star attorney I'm sure she has a few bottles about;) Then we hung around our High school having duels, quoting Monty Python and Peter Cook and generally being completely bonkers.
I had framed photos of Moonie's glass house Tara. And there's more; my name is in honor of his daughter Amanda Jane Moon, who is supposed to be an absolute sweetheart.
On my very first glorious trip to lovely England, I was at Golder's Green Crematorium third dispersal field to pay my respects to Moonie within a few hours of landing. What a beautiful place it is, to be out 'here' in the fields.
Gradually I decided that Moon was not the way of life for me but that message was really sent home with that reality when for a few months back in 2001, I became best drinking buddies with the hottest and wildest British chick that had ever hit the small University town of Davis California, whom I'll call "S".
S and I took over the college bar scene and like a very feminine Derek and Clive we lived the Moonie way.
Granted S was only 21 and I had to look out for her, so a lot of it involved cutting wild evenings short, just in time. She was also a very serious drinker and I had never drank with the exception of that brief , few crazy months. If she was not out drinking and tormenting frat boys and most men within a three mile radius who could not resist a hot blond from Witney England, she was dead on the couch watching TV, recharging for another night out.It was then that I truly realized that a Moonie type lifestyle was a very hard one on the body.
I was working out nearly everyday with a personal trainer and elite triathlete at the time who knew the local scene and warned me that 'she'll rip you off' as a friend and bring down your stock socially. S did to a certain extent but I forgave her and wish her well, wherever she may be, as a DUI saw her carted back to her parents. She has the same birthday as Keith Moon, August 23rd, so I may never forget her.
It's fascinating to now have the clarity to see heroes as mortal and regular people because I feel it makes for a better world. Being able to have romantic notions about rock n roll is still something I cherish but I see that's its just that; romantic. Keith Moon in a colorful jester outfit running across a green field in search of a rolls royce to smash up is a charming movie I see in my mind, not a life to aspire to.
Pete Townshend once said rather pointedly, that the late heroes of rock that the public holds up as icons were HIS friends.
"They may be your fucking icons, but these were my friends! My friends and they're dead!"
When I was younger I might have felt slighted by that statement, as I felt Keith Moon was my friend too, but now it makes as much sense as a custom made double bass drum kit with the world's finest drummer behind it. I never knew Keith Moon as much as I thought I did, but due in part to his breif mecurial life, I now know myself.