The Who’s Roger Daltrey Says Keith Moon Almost Blinded Him During A Physical Fight


The Who lead singer Roger Daltrey recently joined an interview with The Coda Collection, in which he talked about his time in The Who and how he got into a fight with Keith Moon.

Formed in 1964, The Who was one of the key figures in the mid-’60s and ’70s, and they contributed to the music world with twelve studio albums. They gained huge fame with a series of hit singles like ‘My Generation’ and ‘Baba O’Riley.’ Despite the huge success they earned, they also did have their in-group problems as many other famous bands had.

It is known from the tensions he had with his bandmates that Roger Daltrey sort of has a short-tempered character. Thus, it doesn’t come as a surprise that his massive temper would cause trouble someday. Back in 1965, while The Who was touring in Denmark, Roger Daltrey was fed up with his bandmate Keith Moon’s addiction to drugs, and he flushed his pills down to the toilet.

Keith Moon struggled with his drug addiction in his entire life until his death from a drug overdose in 1978. The Who had been already having a series of poor performances in that period and Roger Daltrey couldn’t take it anymore. When he flushed Moon’s pills, the two had a big physical fight, ending up with Daltrey’s being fired from the band. The other band members thought that Daltrey had gone too far by doing that and they didn’t hesitate to fire him.

However, Daltrey’s departure didn’t take a long time when he was called back to the band a week later from the fight. He promised that he wouldn’t get into any violent acts again if the others didn’t take any drugs before the shows. During the conversation on The Coda Collection, Roger Daltrey referred to his bandmates’ drug abuse and told that he didn’t have such kind of addictions because he didn’t want it to negatively affect his voice.

He also stated that when they took the pills, they spoiled the rhythm of the music they played so it was an unacceptable thing for Daltrey. Roger then remembered the big physical fight he had with Keith Moon and said that he deserved it. He also gave the details of the fight and said that Moon approached him with a tambourine and it would almost blind him. The Who achieved to reunite again after this incident but of course, it didn’t end their drug abuse problems.

Here is how Roger Daltrey explained the firing incident:

“What they did in their own time was their business, and that’s up to them. Everyone was doing that kind of stuff at the time. Personally, I couldn’t do it because I wanted to be a singer. And if you want to be a singer, you cannot take amphetamine and all that stuff because it dries your throat up.

You start chewing your lip halfway through a song, and no one will understand what you’re saying, and everything will be going so fast you won’t be able to get the words out anyway. But for them to take it before a show was a complete no-no because it was this brilliant band of musicians. Townshend was an absolute original on the guitar, Entwistle is original on the bass, and what can you say more about Moon being totally original?

But when they got on amphetamines, the music just turned to a load of crap! The songs were too fast and when rock gets too fast, it’s not rooted. The band thinks it’s good but when you listen back to it, it’s come off the ground, it’s not slamming to the floor.

And then he continued by saying:

And that’s what was happening and you’ve got to remember the singer never sees the band, all he ever does is feel. And when that happens, you really feel it because you have to go with it because you can’t fight it. But you know that it’s right because you can’t phrase it properly, it’s clumsy. And it all became clumsy before I threw the amphetamines down the toilet.

And then we just came to the agreement that I wouldn’t fight anymore, although it was a fair fight that I had, that I got thrown out of the band for. Because Moon came for me with a tambourine, and that sounds very like being hit by the Salvation Army. It wasn’t quite like that, he came at me with the bells of the tambourine, slashing!

If it caught me in the face or across the eyes, it would have blinded me. It was not funny. So I did lay into him and I laid into him quite heavy. But I think he deserved it, to be honest with you. Anyway, after a few weeks of them doing shows without me, an audience is dropping off quite rapidly, they asked to have a meeting with me to come back. And I was very adamant, I would only go back if they came to the agreement that they wouldn’t take drugs before a show. I don’t what they did in their own times, it’s their business.”

You can watch the interview below.