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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Premiere: The Who At Kilburn 1977

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Vocalist Roger Daltrey capped a non-stop four-day weekend of Who activity on Monday at the Arclight Cinema in Sherman Oaks, taking fan questions at the big-screen premiere of the Who’s Live At Kilburn 1977. Curious fans overflowed the theater, one of a small handful of screenings before the film’s release next week on DVD. This concert film, unseen since it was filmed for possible use in Jeff Stein’s documentary The Kids Are Alright and then shelved, captures Keith Moon’s last public performance, putting the final exclamation point on one of the greatest runs in rock history.

“It could be very erratic sometimes but always entertaining, and always surprising,” Daltrey said about Moon at a pre-screening press conference. “He had a kind of mathematical brain that could pull rhythms that would totally kick you to where you never thought you would go. And he made it work, what can you say? And he was the funniest guy in the world to watch, to perform with him… he was magical. But he had another side to him that was quite terrifying.”

Daltrey went on to explain why the band's choice of a replacement for Moon didn't work out as planned.

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"Sadly, when we replaced Keith with Kenney Jones, who was a fantastic drummer... but we was a fantastic drummer for the Faces. In the Who, it was just totally wrong. Because the maths were wrong. People didn't understand what I was saying at the time, thought I was being personal, that it was something to do with Kenney. It wasn't. It was just the wrong wheel on the car.

"Some piece of the soul was missing. And it's not Kenney's fault. It wasn't Kenney's fault. Because he is a brilliant drummer. If you put Keith Moon in the Faces, he would have been the totally wrong drummer for them."

But from Daltrey's perspective, the band's current rhythm section, Pino Palladino on bass and Ringo-spawn Zak Starkey on drums, have an easier time with math than Jones ever did.

"Zak is Keith Moon trained! Keith bought Zak his first drum kit, and Zak was taught by Keith. So it's totally organic. So it's almost like Keith is still there. Some nights it's eerie.

"Zak's now been in the band long enough, we can now throw him something like we used to with Keith, and he comes back with something like Keith might have come back with, which is kind of getting even more scary.

"And Pino is just a diamond. Very different from John's style, but melodic in a way that works. He understands the mathematics of our music, and it is about maths."

Asked what inspires him to find the energy to take the stage every night, Daltrey responded, "Just being a part of the human race. Music to me is the ultimate, the ultimate language ... It's the one thing they can't take away from us. They can't shut us out ... yet."

Photo by Elise Thompson for LAist