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MOON by Tony Fletcher

MOON

The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

By Tony Fletcher

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1999
ISBN: 0-380-97337-5
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

An exhaustive look at the short life of the Who’s legendary drummer. Fletcher follows Keith Moon from his childhood in the London suburb of Wembley through his apprenticeship in the Beachcombers, his 15-year tenure in the Who, and his death by overdose at the age of 32. The writer’s principal task seems to be to dispense with the apocryphal stories that surrounded Moon’s wild life. We learn, for instance, that Moon never drove a Rolls-Royce into a swimming pool (actually, while drunk, he accidentally backed the Rolls into a small pond on his property). In clarifying the record, however, Fletcher paints a vividly ugly picture of Moon as wife-beater, drunk driver, and all-out pathetic drunkard. Unfortunately, Fletcher is first and foremost a fan, and his desire not to paint too dreadful a picture of Moon leads to pleading many, many excuses for his infantile behavior, including a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, when it seems quite clear that drugs and particularly alcohol lay at the bottom of most of Moon’s problems. Still, the musical aspects of the biography are well done; here, in tying Moon’s own story closely to the Who’s, Fletcher is at his strongest. The author conducted a broad range of interviews with industry friends and associates of Moon’s, not the least of them Who bassist John Entwistle. And Fletcher’s presentation of the Who as one of the few bands able to stand the test of time with their integrity intact is notably persuasive. When Fletcher follows Moon to his exile in California during the mid-1970s, he loses the anchor of the Who’s career, and the work suffers. Episodes regarding Moon’s abortive career as a comic actor only partially redeem these portions of it. Few questions will now remain about Moon’s life—in fact, you may know more than you wanted to. (24 pages photos, not seen)