GRACE AND DANGER - STYLISH HELLRAISERS (PART II)
hat’s in a name? – A gnashing of Keef. While researching the last journal entry, regarding my favourite, stylish hellraisers, I couldn’t help but notice how many roués and rogues have rejoiced in the name Keith. One of my favourites is the late Keith Floyd, who unlike his four, less-flamboyant brothers Sigmund, Clement, Lucien and Pink never really fulfilled his potential intellectually and is sadly consigned to history as a bibulous TV chef in a red bowtie. There are of course, Keiths Allen, Harris & Orville – but here are the pair of Keefs who really make the grade…
I told people I was a drummer before I even had a set, I was a mental drummer
- Keith Moon
Keith Moon’s unique, eccentric and wild drumming spilled offstage into an amphetamine, champagne and brandy-fuelled litany of destruction. Lavatories were blown up with dynamite, TVs thrown from windows and, at Moon’s 21st birthday bash, a limo driven into a swimming pool while Keith also knocked out a front tooth. ‘Moon the Loon’ was a bit too much of a handful for many, but found a drinking chum and fellow wrecking ball in Oliver Reed. Having joined The Who at 17, Keith’s diet of uppers and downers often found him comatose at his kit before waking up again to kick the daylights out of it. It couldn’t last, and ‘the Loon’ fell foul of an overdose at 32.
I've never had a problem with drugs. I've had problems with the police
- Keith Richards
Indestructible Dartford Technical School Boy Keef has long been my favourite Stone. More reckless and less pouty than tight-pursed LSE Mick, he has provided the world with its most recognisable rock-riffs, while consuming an industrial quantity of fags, booze and narcotics. Countless drug busts through the 60s and 70s cemented his rep as a Byronic toxic Crusader, described by Peter Hitchens thus:
"A capering streak of living gristle who ought to be exhibited as a warning to the young of what drugs can do to you even if you're lucky enough not to choke on your own vomit."
Relatively uxorious for a hellraiser, married to Nordic beauty Patti Hansen since 1983, neither is Keef really recognised for his dress-sense. However, his skinny-legged narco-gypsy chic and collection of bandanas have defined what an ageing rocker should look like. In 2006 he fell out of a coconut tree in Fiji, ‘leaving half my brain behind’. He is still touring with the Rolling Stones, age 72.
If you missed my previous Journal entry on my top ‘Hellraisers', then take a squizz here.