The Mistake Pete Townshend Made After Keith Moon Died

Substance abuse is one of the biggest problems in the rock music industry and has taken many lives in the past, and unfortunately in the present. Although musicians often attempt to battle their drug and alcohol addiction, their prescribed treatment can become the new problem that threatens their lives in some cases. This is exactly what happened with the Who drummer Keith Moon as the musician lost his life while trying to overcome his alcohol addiction.

The prescribed drug he was on, resulted in an accidental overdose, which took a precious musician from the rock community. As a result, his bandmates were left with two choices: to continue with a replacement or retire from the rock scene due to Moon’s absence. While the Who was determined to carry on, lead guitarist Pete Townshend later admitted that their decision was indeed a mistake.

Keith Moon Died Due To An Accidental Overdose

Keith Moon was struggling with his alcohol addiction, so he had started using a prescribed course of Heminevrin to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms. He wanted to get sober, but he wanted to do it at home because of his fear of psychiatric hospitals. On 6 September, Moon and partner Walter-Lax were guests of Paul and Linda McCartney at a preview of a film, ‘The Buddy Holly Story.’

After dining with the McCartneys, the couple returned to their flat where Moon watched a movie before taking some clomethiazole tablets. When Walter-Lax checked on him the following afternoon, she discovered Keith died on 7 September 1978 from an accidental overdose of the prescription drug Heminevrin. Police determined that there were 32 clomethiazole pills in Moon’s system, six of which were digested and sufficient to cause his death.

Pete Townshend Said The Who Should’ve Disbanded After Keith Moon’s Death

The Who members were devastated after Moon’s death since they had lost a dear friend and a band member. Still, the day after Moon’s death, Pete Townshend issued a statement saying that the band is more determined than ever to carry on, even though there wasn’t a person who could possibly replace their late bandmate. Townshend had asked Kenney Jones, who had previously played with the Small Faces and Faces, and he officially joined the band in November 1978 as their new drummer.

The Who eventually returned to the stage with a concert at the Rainbow Theatre, followed by the Cannes Film Festival in France, and dates at Madison Square Garden in New York. During a 1989 interview, Pete Townshend looked back on his determination to continue immediately after Keith Moon’s death. Apparently, the musician took carrying on without their band member as a challenge, whereas he should’ve taken Moon’s death as a hint to stop.

Instead, Townshend ignored the problem that included substance addiction and ultimately became a victim himself as he also drank heavily with the band members. His addiction caused him to lose control of his feelings and reality, which was a true struggle in his day-to-day life before deciding to battle his addiction and get sober.

About his decision to continue without Moon, Townshend said:

“I felt The Who was a dead duck, and then I carried on when Keith died because of, directly as a result of drug and alcohol abuse. Instead of taking that message and that hint and stopping, I received it as a challenge. It’s almost like, ‘Life must go on, we must go on,’ and I ended up practically becoming a victim of the same problem.

I used to drink very heavily with The Who, in the studio, and on the road, and it actually became a real problem for me domestically. I started to lose control of my emotions on occasions, and the truth that I came out with when I was drunk would sometimes be the truth and would sometimes be theatrical crap.”

You can listen to the interview below.