The Who – 10 Worst Hotel Wreckings

Found in a copy of Q Magazine from 2004. It was a special issue devoted to British rock band The Who ('The Inside Story') and the piece was titled "Remember the Gaff Where the Doors we Smashed"- a line from their song Bellboy. The article was mentioned on the cover as 10 Worst Hotel Wreckings. At Jot we are fond of lists, even lists of debauchery and excess - so here goes in slightly  abbreviated form:

1 New York
4 April 1968
The Who's first headlong tour of the US found them ejected from the Gorham Hotel after Moon rained cherry bombs (highly explosive red firecrackers) down on New York City cops from a ninth-floor window. He used another to blow up his toilet, knocking out the plumbing on the whole floor in the process.

2 New York
5 April 1968
The Who had barely unpacked their cases at the Waldorf Astoria before they were given their marching orders for failing to provide a cash surety. Moon, unable to retrieve his luggage because the door was locked, blew it open with another cherry bomb.

3 Saskatoon
11 July 1968
According to a myth-making interview Keith Moon conducted with Rolling Stone in 1972, it was at a hotel in Saskatoon that the bored drummer chopped all of his hotel furniture into kindling.

3 Toronto
14 October 1969
Roger Daltrey rarely instigated pranks, but this time he set roadie Bob Pridden's shoes alight after he'd left them outside his room to be cleaned. The fire brigade were called, The Who ejected and Keith Moon blamed by all concerned.

5 New York
March 1971
Moon was partying at the Navarro Hotel with some of The Grateful Dead and wanted to play them some music but his tape recorder was in a roadie's room next door. When Moon couldn't rouse the roadie, he carved a hole through the adjoining wall big enough to climb through. The roadie, awoken by falling plaster, could only watch as Moon collected his machine and went back the way he came.

6 Copenhagen
25 August 1972
Delighted to discover his suite contained a water bed, Moon tried to get the piece of furniture into the hotel lift*. He got as far as the hallway before it fell and burst, flooding the corridor. Moon claimed his room and belongings had been destroyed by the leaking waterbed, and the apologetic manager upgraded him to the Presidential suite.

7 Paris
9 September 1972
John Entwistle and his first wife, Alison were enjoying a quiet meal in their hotel Georges V suite when Moon burst in, took a bite of Entwistle's steak, swilled his Bordeaux, tipped the food onto the floor, then urinated against the wall before passing out. The normally unflappable J.E. took Moon's door key, smashed up every piece of furniture he could find in the drummer's room, dragged Keith's comatose body inside and threw the keys in after him. Moon awoke unable to remember anything but with a large damages bill in his name.

8 Montreal
2 December 1973
The Who's most notorious hotel escapade. At a party held in an empty suite sty the Hotel Bonaventure. Moon took a painting off the wall, kicked out the canvas and replaced it with an abstract tomato ketchup design. He and Pete Townstend then used a marble table to smash through a connecting wall before hurling it through a window (some of the glass getting into Townstend's eyes) while a TV set followed it into the hotel pool. When the hotel detective raised the alarm, tour manager Peter Rudge was roused and ordered to collect the touring party...most of whom wound up in police cells.

9 Los Angeles
July 1975
Having already tried to erect a tent on the foyer of the swank Beverly Wilshire, Moon was standing in the lobby, carrying a prototype ghetto blaster blaring rough mixes of The Who By Numbers. Although Moon was well known to the staff the manager politely but repeatedly asked if he could "turn down the noise". Moon nodded as if he understood and disappeared upstairs. A few minutes ayer the lobby was shaken by a loud explosion (another cherry bomb). Moon re-emerged wearing a manic grin, his music still blasting. "That, dear boy, was noise," he informed the star led manager. "This is The Oo!".

10 New York
10 March 1976
When Keith Moon had collapsed the previous night during the opening US date of The Who By Numbers trek, tour manager Peter Rudge banned all drink and drugs from his hotel and dressing rooms. Behind the door of his suite at the Navarro - which had let the band back despite the incident in 1971, Moon indulged in a particularly savage wrecking display, deeply wounding the instep of his heel from a shard of glass, and losing so much blood he passed out from shock.

* Why Keith M decided to drag a waterbed to the hotel's lift is not explained. Possibly he may have been aware that it would result in an upgrade..

2 thoughts on “The Who – 10 Worst Hotel Wreckings

  1. Anonymous

    Ah, those were the days, when musicians manifested both creativity and industriousness in order to cultivate scandalous reputations.

    Last year, Justin Bieber was ejected from Le Meurice in Paris after his posing on a balcony and innate obnoxiousness drove masses of teens on the street below into an uncontrollable frenzy. Just by existing, he was a danger to an entire hotel.

    Bieber, who despite his belief that he invented the phrase, "never say never," and employs a full-time "swagger coach," lacks both the evil wit and physical strength necessary to compete with Moon. You can't move a water bed via Twitter…

    Plus ça change? Ha!

  2. admin Post author

    Many thanks for that astute comment. This wrecking business is, as you suggest, strenuous stuff and beyond the capacity of chaps like Bieber. I guess a 'swagger coach' is like a sort of 'life coach' specialising only in strutting lessons, boasting, swank and generally acting like Rodomonte out of Orlando Furioso etc.,


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