From 1969 to 1989, CREEM magazine was an essential read for any music fan, showcasing the work of legendary writers like Lester Bangs, Cameron Crowe, Patti Smith and Robert Christgau. On September 15, CREEM returns after 33 years out of print as a subscription-only quarterly with an issue that includes features on Slash, The Who and new artists like punk act Special Interest. And ABC Audio has a first look at one of its exclusive feature stories.
The Who feature is an excerpt from an unpublished book by late legendary tour manager Richard Cole, probably best known for working with Led Zeppelin during their most debauched years — yes, he was an active participant in the infamous incident with a groupie and a mud shark. But before Zeppelin, he worked for The Who, and soon learned the drawbacks of working for a band whose drummer loved blowing things up.
In CREEM’s except from Cole’s book, the year is 1965, and Cole and The Who have just arrived at a beautiful hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. He’s confused as to why drummer Keith Moon asked them to stop so he could purchase some weed killer and several bags of sugar — and why bass player John Entwistle is so amused by the request. At the hotel, the band settles in, Cole orders some food…and then all hell breaks loose:
As soon as I had taken the first bite out of my ham and cheese sandwich, I heard the almighty blaring of the fire alarms going off. When I looked over at [my assistant] Alan, he had this big stupid grin on his face, as though he knew something I didn’t. When I opened the door, I was shocked to see smoke steaming out of the emergency-exit door. I then looked the other way and saw the grinning faces of Moon and Entwistle peering around their room door.
As I closed the door behind me, the phone started ringing. I answered it to the irate voice of the hotel manager requesting my presence at the front desk immediately. Alan, who had started up with the band before I came around, was still smirking on his bed when I left the room. To him, it was just another day on the road with the Who.
The fire brigade was just leaving when I walked across the hall to the front desk. The manager had made out our bills, but there were no room charges: just a bill for my sandwiches and the fire brigade. We were then given instructions to get out of his hotel immediately before he called the police to throw us out.
To read even more of Cole’s exploits with The Who, subscribe to get CREEM’s new issue when it becomes available in September. Digital-only subscriptions are also available.
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