Keith Moon’s Last Interview, 1978

Here’s a sad lit­tle piece of rock and roll his­to­ry: the last tele­vi­sion inter­view of Kei­th Moon, mer­cu­r­ial drum­mer for The Who. It was broad­cast live on the morn­ing of August 7, 1978, exact­ly one month before Moon’s death from a drug over­dose at the age of 32.

Moon and gui­tarist Pete Town­shend had flown into New York the pre­vi­ous day to pro­mote The Who’s eighth stu­dio album, Who Are You. In addi­tion to a cou­ple of radio inter­views, Moon and Town­shend stopped by the stu­dios of Good Morn­ing Amer­i­ca for a TV inter­view with a stiff and humor­less David Hart­man. Moon appears bloat­ed and unhealthy. At one point he makes a joke about not being in con­trol of his life.

“Are you in con­trol of your life at all?” Hart­man asks.

“On cer­tain days,” says Moon.

“Cer­tain days.”


“What are you like the oth­er days?”

“Quite out of con­trol. Amazingly…ah…drunk.”

Moon’s var­i­ous addic­tions had caught up with him by 1978. “Musi­cal­ly,” writes Town­shend in Who I Am: A Mem­oir, “his drum­ming was get­ting so uneven that record­ing was almost impos­si­ble, so much so that work on the Who Are You album had ground to a halt.…[The Who] had just about enough tracks for a record, with very lit­tle addi­tion­al mate­r­i­al to spare. ‘Music Must Change’ was com­plet­ed with foot­steps replac­ing drums.”

On the night of Sep­tem­ber 6, 1978, Moon and his girl­friend Annette Wal­ter-Lax attend­ed a par­ty in Lon­don, host­ed by Paul McCart­ney. Dur­ing the par­ty, and at the mid­night pre­mier of The Bud­dy Hol­ly Sto­ry that fol­lowed, Moon took Clome­thi­a­zole, a seda­tive pre­scribed to help him cope with alco­hol with­draw­al. When he got home, he took more. Wal­ter-Lax found his life­less body when she checked on him on the after­noon of Sep­tem­ber 7. An autop­sy showed that Moon had tak­en 32 tablets of Clome­thi­a­zole. His doc­tor had told him not to exceed three per day.

In a pub­lic state­ment fol­low­ing Moon’s death, Town­shend wrote: “We have lost our great come­di­an, our supreme melo­drama­tist, the man, who apart from being the most unpre­dictable and spon­ta­neous drum­mer in rock, would have set him­self alight if he thought it would make the audi­ence laugh or jump out of its seats. We have lost our drum­mer but also our alter-ego. He drove us hard many times but his love of every one of us always ulti­mate­ly came through.… We loved him and he’s gone.”

For some­thing to help us remem­ber Moon’s con­tri­bu­tion to The Who–both his musi­cian­ship and his personality–here is a video fea­tur­ing his iso­lat­ed drum track from “Who Are You,” the title track on Moon’s final album:

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Kei­th Moon’s Final Per­for­mance with The Who (1978)

Kei­th Moon, Drum­mer of The Who, Pass­es Out at 1973 Con­cert; 19-Year-Old Fan Takes Over

Good­night Kei­th Moon: “The Most Inap­pro­pri­ate Bed­time Sto­ry Ever”

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