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Music

Keith Richards reveals the secret to Keith Moon's style

Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards is one of the most iconic members of his generation. A blues master, and one of the earliest proponents of alternative tunings in popular music, Richards is a strange case in the sense that he’s equally recognised for his extra-musical antics as the countless classics that he’s written. 

In many ways, Richards is music’s original bad boy, and together, he and Stones frontman Mick Jagger set the world on fire with their swaggering music, sexually charged moves and a glint in their eye that says ‘rules are made to be broken’.

To say that Richards has seen it all would be an understatement, as he’s lived a life of such epic proportions that to laymen like myself, many of the stories that surround him are incomprehensible and sound more like what you might have expected from the decadence of Rome. However, he would not be the Keith Richards we all know and love without the many insane anecdotes that surround him.

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Whilst there are countless stories surrounding The Rolling Stones’ lead axeman, he also has many of his own to tell, which is a prerequisite for someone who has accomplished everything he has. Sitting down for a discussion with the aptly named Rolling Stone in 2015, he discussed one of the other biggest bands of his heyday, The Who, and he shed some light on their drummer, Keith Moon, revealing the secret to his style.

He explained: “I mean, I always thought [Roger] Daltrey was all flash. And I love Pete Townshend, but I always thought the Who were a crazy band, anyway. You would say to [Keith] Moon, if you were in a session with him, ‘Just give me a swing’, and he [couldn’t] … He was an incredible drummer, but only with Pete Townshend.”

Richards continued: “He could play to Pete like nobody else in the world. But if somebody threw him into a session with somebody else, it was a disaster. There’s nothing wrong with that; sometimes you’ve got that one paintbrush, and you rock it. I just was never really interested in that many English rock and roll bands actually, at all. I mean, I usually like guys like Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, and that was before I was even recording. But there was something [about] the Yeses and the Journeys and all them that just left me a bit cold”.

I’d normally totally agree with pretty much everything that Keith Richards has to say because, usually, he espouses the wisdom of his years. However, this time, he’s forgetting one key thing: Moon also managed to be brilliant on ‘Beck’s Bolero’, and it did not include Pete Townshend, but rather Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.

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