SickthingsUK: Keith Moon/The Who

Keith Moon

Alice and Moon
Alice and Moon, 1976.

The Who were another band who influenced the original Alice Cooper band immensely as they were starting about. The young band used to perform Who covers during their early days, and over the years Alice got to known both drummer Keith Moon and singer Roger Daltrey quite well, and even appears on record with Entwistle. Only Townshend, the Who's leader and songwriter seems to have kept his distance. Alice:

"We were much more smitten with the Yardbirds and the Who than the Beatles and The Stones. The Yardbirds were our band but The Who was what we wanted to be. We used to play with the Who at the Grande Ballroom [actually the Grande Riveria] in Detroit, it held 3000, and we would play and The Who would play, and my drummer Neal Smith would always find out how many drums Keith had and add one! At one point they were both on stage with all their drums and Keith came up and played with us and there was 70 drums!"

Neal Smith also recalls the show. In his version, told at one of the Glen Buxton Memorial Weekends, they were playing 'Black Juju' and Moon was on his kit behind a curtain at the back of the stage which hid The Who's gear.

On the original cover of 'From The Inside', on the inside of the door leading to the 'quiet room', there is a message - "Inmates - In the memory of Moonie".

Most of Alice's Keith Moon stories naturally revolve around the legendary 'Hollywood Vampires' drinking club in Los Angeles during the mid 70s.

"Everything you've heard about me or Iggy Pop or Rob Zombie is about 40 per cent true. Everything you've heard about Keith Moon is 100 per cent true, and you've only heard 10 per cent of it."

"When you party with Keith Moon your body really knows about it - one time he stayed with me for a week, and I literally wasn't allowed to sleep for seven days. Keith was like a battery that never ran out. It got to the stage with Keith where I'd hear he was in town and hide somewhere because I couldn't face another bender.

"I lived in Beverly Hills. Keith would come over and drive up to the house and stay for four days. 'Hello Alice, good to see you old boy,' he was Robert Newton. He would come over and he had a 26ft long rolls Royce, a 1929 Silver Satan or something, he had the back seats taken out and a throne put in. Because I just had this new 1975 rolls, but his was twice as long as mine. He had a throne in his, and a place for his golden goblet of brandy. He would come up to my house and stay for so long that we would go stay with someone else for a couple of days! We'd come back and he'd still be there."


Alice and Roger Daltrey, Royal Albert Hall, 1999
Alice and Roger Daltrey, Royal Albert Hall, 1999.

Alice's relationship with Roger Daltrey has been a much more sober, professional thing. He's performed with Roger a few times, including a show in 1994 at Carnegie Hall, NY where Alice sang The Who's 'I'm A Boy', a song he would later cover with The Hollywood Vampires'. A few years later they were at the Royal Albert Hall in London performing the Stones' 'Start Me Up' together for the 'British Rock Symphony', and since then they've often crossed paths at various charity events. Roger also sang on a cover of 'No More Mr Nice Guy' for the 'Humanary Stew' tribute album, which also featured Slash on guitar.

With Who bassist John Entwistle Alice performed on two songs featured on an album called 'Flash Fearless Vs The Zorg Women', although Alice recorded his contribution with Bob Ezrin in the USA while the rest of the album as recorded in the UK.

Pete Townshend however was less then complimentary in 1982, claiming "I remember being horrified seeing Alice Cooper beheading live chickens on stage. And it didn't really redeem him that I had smashed guitars, you know? Somewhere, there was a line. I don't know whether it was just because it was live, or because it was real blood. But the fact that he later went on to make some great records didn't redeem him, either. He's sick, tragic, pathetic -- and will always be that way. I'll say hello to him in the street, but I'll never tip my hat to him."
Of course Townshend could never have seen Alice beheading chickens on stage, as it never happened. He was likely basing his opinion on what he had read in the press.