The Who

The first time The Who toured in the U.S.A. was when they opened (rather incongruously) for Herman’s Hermits on their 1967 tour which began on 14th July 1967 in Portland, Oregon.

This tour marked young Bruce Springsteen‘s first ever rock concert and left an indelible impression on him as you can see from his amazingly simple and bluesy cover recorded live at The Backdoor in Richmond on 2nd April 1972 of “I’m Into Something Good”.

. . . and he recalls the concert fondly at the 2015 MusiCares MAP Fund benefit honouring Pete Townshend from 2’10” to 6’34” below:

"The billboard read in big type HERMAN'S HERMITS then The Who.  I was the young pimply teenager who managed to scramble together enough to go see my first rock concert ever.  Pete and The Who were young pimply-faced teenagers with a record contract, a tour and a rude aggressive magic.  They were on this tour of all things opening for Herman's Hermits!  There was no justice!  So I scrambled to my seat in what seemed like a cavernous convention hall and I waited for the rumble to start.  The first band out I think was a band called the Blues Magoos who came out with these electric suits which lit up - high level special effects at the time!  Then The Who came out - I think they played for probably no more than 30 minutes and before Pete and a cloud of smoke demolished his guitar bashing it over and over into the floor and his amplifier.  Now the audience was filled with a significant number of teenyboppers who were waiting for Mrs. Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter.  So they sat there with their mouths agape and wondering, you know, WHO ARE YOU???  All I knew was for some reason this music and the demolishing of these perfectly fine instruments filled me with incredible joy.  There was something wonderful about the wanton destruction of good commercial property.  It was the joy and giddiness of the riot that The Who managed somehow to semi-safely attain.  And all I know is that it made me happy and it thrilled and inspired me. 

I was in a young band called The Castiles, I was about 16 years old.  We had a gig the next weekend at St. Rose of Lima Catholic School in the basement for the CYO dance.  So I went out and I bought a smoke bomb, and I had a strobe light, and I brought them over to the gig.  And as the night neared its end, not being able to smash my guitar, it was the only one I had) . . . so, at the end of the night I lit the smoke bomb in the Catholic School basement, I turned on the strobe light, and I climbed on top of my Danelectro amplifier, holding a vase of flowers that I'd stolen from one of the upstairs classrooms.  And with this huge flourish, melodramatically I raised the vase of flowers as the flickering, blinding strobe lit me up and the smokeball around me and as the nuns looked on from afar I reached up and smashed them hard onto the dance floor and then I jumped off the amp and I stomped all over the petunias bringing them to an early death!  Of course I looked ridiculous like I'd lost my mind.  The vase of flowers simply failed to have the grandeur of the Telecaster Bassmaster splinters.  But we worked with what we had!  I went home smiling feeling a blood bond with Pete Townsend . . . and I never looked back!"

Photo Below – trying to negotiate settlement for destruction damage to Holiday Inn property

Keith Moon was always up to tricks on tour.  I remember a call at 3 a.m. from the manager of the hotel we had stayed at in Alabama complaining about a missing toilet – apparently Keith had blown it up with a cherry bomb!  The Who were banned from Holiday Inns after that, although Herman’s Hermits with their clean image weren’t implicated.

For more information about Keith Moon’s antics as drummer for The Who on their 1967 tour supporting Herman’s Hermits refer to Jonny Black’s Classic Rock article called: “Keith Moon Takes A Car For A Swim“.