By Scott Vanderpool

Set the wayback machine for November 20th of 1973, Mr. Peabody. The Who’s colorful drummer Keith Moon was at the height of his colorful habits of consuming massive quantities of drugs and alcohol before shows. The band were playing San Francisco’s Cow Palace on their Quadrophenia tour, about 70 minutes into the show and 11 songs into their new album when Keith slumped over his drumkit, out cold. Roadies carried him backstage while Roger, Pete, and John took a break. The roadies put Keith in a shower, and gave him an injection of cortisone…which seemed to work…for a while. Keith came back after about 30 minutes, and managed a few minutes of Magic Bus before passing out again. Roger banging a tambourine was all the percussion for a drumless version Tommy’s See Me, Feel Me, and the crowd seemed to enjoy it, but at the end of the song Pete Townsend asked the audience, “Can anyone here play the drums? I mean somebody good?” 19 year old Scott Halpin had recently moved to San Francisco from Iowa, and hadn’t played drums in a year, but his friend started shouting and pointing to him: “He can! He can!” It caught the attention of promoter Bill Graham, who brought Scott on stage to do an admirable job of filling in for one of the greatest drummers in rock, earning more than his 15 minutes of fame when Rolling Stone Magazine named him “the Best Pick-Up player of 1973 (Sadly Scott died of a brain tumor at age 54).

Fast forward to last Tuesday night, when The Who were forced to use another stand-in drummer named Scott. Their regular drummer Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr’s son and Keith Moon’s godson) was experiencing a great deal of tendon pain, and couldn’t manage the gig in San Diego. Luckily they were able to hook up with a 46 year old drummer from Long Beach by the name of Scott Devours, who’s played in Roger Daltrey’s solo band, as well as Oleander and IMA Robot. He seems to have done a good job with only one run-through before the show, as few fans complained, and Roger said on The Who’s website, “Quadrophenia’s not an easy piece. To do what Scotty did took real guts.”


More from Hidden Track here.


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