Friday, April 21st, 2017
So far, this website has only touched briefly on the musical side of Keith Moon. We have focused primarily on his personality and wild antics. I am thinking that these next few posts will concentrate on the real reason Keith Moon is famous. His drumming.
I thought I would start with some background I was able to find on Keith’s formal training. Keith always claimed to have received no formal training and essentially, there was almost none. But for what little training he did get, there is a story…
At 16 years old Keith saw a local band with a very talented 24 year old drummer named Carlo Little who was also from Wembley. Keith was excited and impressed by Carlo. For those who have never heard of Carlo, he was one of the first drummers for the early Rolling Stones as well as a self taught drummer. He was described as one of the “best and loudest drummers” at that time. He also never formally taught drums to anyone before or after Keith. Most importantly, Carlo had never received any formal training of his own. He was an autodidact.
Carlo only agreed to teach Keith because Keith approached him after a show and offered him 10 shillings per 30 minute lesson, and Carlo was broke at the time. They met about 5 or 6 times and that was the last time Keith Moon had any lessons on the drums.
What did Keith learn during these 30 minute drum lessons? Carlo taught in layman’s terms things like a paradiddle and how it enabled a drummer to lift alternate arms at the top of each beat while keeping a continuous roll.
Among the lasting advice Keith received from Carlo was to hit the drums with everything he had and as fast as he could within the beat. He also advised Keith to sometimes go off the beat, and then come back on to fit the song. In music, this is called syncopation.
He also learned that if he got his bass drum together, it would serve as a foundation for his drumming.
“He was keen and eager,” remembers Carlo. “I remember he came back one week and he’d got off what I’d shown him. So he was obviously listening to what I was telling him.”
When we talked it wasn’t for more than a few minutes, and it was always about the drums.”
Carlo has admitted that he was never that impressed with Keith. “I thought nothing more of it, just a young lad called Keith.”
Well, Carlo, it seems that Keith took your brief lessons pretty well and ultimately got his drumming act together. I mean, considering he’s one of the greatest drummers of all time, and is in the rock and roll hall of fame and all…