Saturday, February 2, 2013
Keith Moon, The Who, and an Alleged Swimming Pool in Flint, Michigan
Flint has manufactured a lot of Buicks and Chevys over the years, but its biggest export may be the seemingly endless stories of drunken debauchery that took place in Vehicle City. When a town has a bar on every corner and drinking is considered a local art form, the intoxicating tales are going to pile up like snow during the blizzard of '78 or Lions losses during, well, just pick a season. (Note to my friend Kara: Remember that time I got my head stuck in the clothes chute in your parent's bathroom?)
But the most famous Flint drinking story doesn't belong to a local. Keith Moon, known for overindulgence behind the drum kit and at the bar, drove a car into the pool at the Flint Holiday Inn on his 21st birthday after a concert at Atwood Stadium in 1967. It seems the sheriff showed up. Keith slipped on some birthday cake and lost a tooth. The band was fined $50,000 and narrowly avoided jail time.
Great story. The kind of behavior that a hard-drinking factory town can appreciate. But Jack Alpert at The Huffington Post says it's not true. In one of those extremely annoying slide show articles that help websites gin up hits, he quotes Steve Grantley, author of The Who by Numbers, debunking the story.
But the intrepid Scott Atkinson of The Flint Journal begs to differ. He quotes Peter Cavanaugh, a legendary DJ and concert promoter, who saw it all happen and described it in vivid detail in his book Local DJ: Rock "N" Roll History. And Peter C brings out the big guns when he says The Who singer Roger Daltrey will back him up.
Of course, this isn't the first time someone has called bullshit on a Flint drinking story, and it won't be the last. But I'd put my money on Peter C and Roger Daltrey on this one. I mean, come on, we know Keith was at the hotel. We know there was drinking. We know there was a pool. And we know Flint has no shortage of cars. It's only logical that the car ended up in the pool.