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Keith Moon Gets the New Yorker Treatment

It’s pretty hard for me to get behind a New Yorker piece about Keith Moon (in part because it’s nearly impossible to imagine the magazine writing about him while he was still alive) but there’s lots to like here.

It’s subscription only, so you can only get a digest version online, but here’s a flavor:

“Most rock drummers, even very good and inventive ones, are timekeepers. There is a space for a fill or a roll at the end of a musical phrase, but the beat has primacy over the curlicues. Keith Moon ripped all this up. There is no time-out in his drumming, because there is no time-in. It is all fun stuff. The first principle of Moon’s drumming was that drummers do not exist to keep the beat. He did keep the beat, and very well, but he did it by every method except the traditional one. No two bars of Moon’s playing ever sound the same; he is in revolt against consistency. Everyone else in the band gets to improvise, so why should the drummer be nothing more than a condemned metronome? He saw himself as a soloist playing with an ensemble of other soloists.”

Also, if you click here, the author (a decent drummer in his own right) gives a pretty cool finger-drumming demonstration of Ringo vs. Moon in the last five minutes of the podcast.

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