Yes’ Rick Wakeman Recalls The Who’s Keith Moon Getting Him In Trouble
Keith Moon, who earned the nickname ‘Moon The Loon’ for his antics, was among those who saw life as a stage on which he could freely perform and do whatever he wanted. Speaking to BBC Radio 2’s Johnnie Walker, Yes keyboardist Rick Wakeman revealed that he also had his share of hanging around with Moon.
When Rick Wakeman was in Australia with Yes, Keith Moon was also there. The drummer offered Wakeman to go to a restaurant but suggested he book it. Although going to a restaurant and having something for dinner sounds pretty normal, their meeting turned into a scene from a circus thanks to Keith Moon.
“I booked the restaurant, and off we went,” recalled Rick Wakeman. “When we arrived at the restaurant, he looked terrified because they recognized Mooney immediately. But there wasn’t much he could do because it was booked in my name. They put us at the table right in the corner, and the waiters were terrified. Mooney was an absolute gentleman; he was polite to everybody. Some people came across and asked if he was doing autographs, he did, and I did some as well. He was absolutely amazing.”
“So, our Mooney was incredible,” said Rick, implying that was a surprise for him. “And you could see the whole place relax and the waiters relax. And it came to an end, and they said, ‘You pay at the counter.’ ‘Okay, that’s fine.’ I got up; I said, ‘My treat Mooney.’ He went, ‘No!’ I said, ‘Yeah. Well, we’ll sort it out later.’ So I got up and walked through all the tables up to where the desk was. And then, when I got there, I suddenly heard all this commotion behind me. Keith had actually climbed on the chair, got on the table, and walked across all the tables up to where we had to pay.”
He continued, “It was carnage! He got off the other end, and he had that toothy grin. He just looked at me and said, ‘Run!’ And we did; we both ran. I got back to the hotel, where I was met by the Australian constabulary, who said, ‘You’re coming with us.’ I went to the police station where Mooney was, and he said, ‘It’s alright, Bill is coming,’ that was their manager. He said, ‘He’ll sort it out and pay for everything,’ which he did.”
Rick Wakeman wanted to have a simple dinner with Keith Moon, but things went south right when the keyboardist felt like the drummer wasn’t going to ‘pull a Mooney.’ Rick thought Keith was acting pretty normal, but he ultimately went out of control and got the two in trouble. It seems like they owed the Who’s manager Bill Curbishley a debt of gratitude for coming and sorting everything out.