Alice Cooper holds The Who in the highest regard, considering Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend's band "the benchmark" for every rock band who has followed in their wake: he once told Rolling Stone that the group's 1965 debut album, My Generation, is among his 10 favourite albums of all time. The respect Cooper has for the band only adds an extra layer of black comedy to his memory of his longtime friend and producer Bob Ezrin (also known for his work with Pink Floyd, and Kiss, among others) vomiting all over The Who during a night out with Cooper and his band in London in the mid '70s.
More than just a regular night out, the evening was set up as a "drink off" between the two bands, both groups being aware of the other act's reputation as party animals.
"Each guy had a bottle of what he drank," Cooper explained to this writer, "so I had Seagram’s VO and Pete had Remy Martin: the idea was that you’d drink half the bottle and then switch bottles, and whoever gave up first lost."
As Cooper recalls, the English and American musicians were "about three-quarters of the way through our bottles" when they were joined by Bob Ezrin, who arrived straight off the plane from Los Angeles. Ironically, given the amount of alcohol being downed at the table, it was the Canadian producer's seemingly sensible decision to eat something before getting stuck into beer and spirits which would lead to a memorable social faux pas.
"He ordered a pepper steak, but ate it way too fast, and just projectile vomited all over The Who, properly spraying them, like Linda Blair in The Exorcist," Cooper recalled with a laugh. "But they never flinched. I looked at them and said ‘You win! You guys took that like men.’ And Townshend said, [shrugs] ‘We have Keith [Moon] in the band, we’re used to it'."
For Cooper, Keith Moon remains, "the best drummer I’ve ever heard." Moon was also, he states, "the most outrageous human being I’ve met in my life."
"He and I became very good friends," Cooper said. "He was the court jester of the Hollywood Vampires, and everybody’s best buddy. We’d go to the Rainbow, the roost of the Vampires, and just wait to see what Keith was going to wear that night. One night he showed up dressed as the Queen of England, two nights later he’d be Adolf Hitler, and then the next night he’d be a French maid, he’d just go a costume shop and transform into these different people. We’d crack up laughing every time."
Keith Moon passed away on September 7, 1978, aged just 32.
"There were certain guys in our friends group where it was a shock when they died young, and certain guys where it was inevitable," Cooper admits. "The fact that Keith made it to 32 was almost hard to believe, because he would constantly do things that were just death-defying and somehow survive. His death was not a shock to me, because he lived on the edge at all times.”
Watch Cooper's Hollywood Vampires pay tribute to The Who below: