Keith Richards calls The Who, drummer Keith Moon ‘A disaster’

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Keith Richards celebrated as one of the greatest guitarists in rock history, is as renowned for his offstage antics as his musical prowess with The Rolling Stones. Richards’ colorful escapades, from trashed hotel rooms to run-ins with the law over drugs, are well-documented. Equally notorious is his penchant for candidly airing his opinions on fellow rock icons, often sparking controversy in the process.

“Over the years, Richards hasn’t held back in voicing his opinions about other musicians in interviews and memoirs,” notes one music critic. “When you’re part of The Rolling Stones, everyone wants to hear what you have to say.” Richards’ candid commentary, sometimes brutal and seemingly indiscriminate, has targeted everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Duran Duran.

An unexpected target of Richards’ sharp tongue was Keith Moon, the flamboyant drummer for The Who, who shared Richards’ penchant for wild antics. Despite Moon’s reputation as a “crazy drummer,” his talent behind the kit was undeniable. Yet, in a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Richards didn’t mince words, criticizing Moon’s musical prowess. “I mean, I always thought [Roger] Daltrey was all flash,” he remarked. “And while I adore Pete Townshend, I’ve always felt The Who were a strange band. You would say to [Keith] Moon if you were in a session with him, ‘Just give me a swing,’ but he couldn’t.”

Richards acknowledged Keith Moon’s unique chemistry with Townshend but suggested that Moon’s drumming prowess was limited outside of The Who’s context. “He could play to Pete like nobody else in the world,” Richards conceded. “However, throwing him into a session with someone else would be disastrous.”

In a recent interview with Sirius XM, Richards reiterated his sentiments, expressing fondness for Moon as a person but suggesting he wouldn’t have held up against the late Charlie Watts, The Rolling Stones’ revered drummer. Despite Richards’ repeated critiques, it’s worth noting that Moon did dabble in musical ventures outside of The Who. His collaboration with guitar icons like Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on “Beck’s Bolero” showcased his virtuosity and ability to adapt to diverse musical styles.

While Richards’ criticisms may overlook Moon’s musical versatility, they underscore the colorful and often controversial nature of rock’s larger-than-life personalities.

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