MILESAGO - Tours By Overseas Artists 1964-75

The "Big Show" Tour, Jan. 1968



Roger Daltrey [lead vocals]
John Entwistle [bass, vocals]
Keith Moon [drums]
Pete Towhnshend [guitar, vocals]

Kenney Jones [drums]
Ronnie Lane [bass, vocals]
Ian 'Mac' McLagan [keyboards, vocals]
Steve Marriott [guitar, vocals]

Billy Thorpe
The Questions

(Note: there were two shows each night at 6:00pm and 8:45pm)
Sat. 20 Jan. 1968 - Brisbane - Festival Hall
Mon. 22 Jan. 1968 - Sydney - The Stadium
Tue. 23 Jan. 1968 - Sydney - The Stadium
Thu. 25 Jan. 1968 - Melbourne - Festival Hall
Fri. 26 Jan. 1968 - Melbourne - Festival Hall
Sat. 27 Jan. 1968 - Adelaide - Centennial Hall

New Zealand
Mon. 29 Jan. 1968 - Auckland - Town Hall
Wed. 31 Jan. 1968 - Wellington - Town Hall


"We really don’t want them back again. They are just unwashed, foul-smelling, booze-swilling no-hopers.’
- New Zealand Truth

The "Big Show" tour by The Who, The Small Faces and ex-Manfred Mann vocalist Paul Jones should have been a dream ticket, but the only Australian/NZ visit by both the two legendary Mod bands was unfortunately a disaster in many respects. Almost from the moment they stepped off the plane, the groups ran into conflicts with the establishment and the media, who saw them as a dangerous and corrupting influence.

The rebellious image of the " 'Orrible 'Oo" naturally attracted the attention of the Australian press, who had long since acquired a well-earned reputation for being difficult, insensitive and often downright provocative. Even the media-friendly Monkees ran into problems with belligerent Aussie journos during their tour later that year when they were agressively grilled about their attitude to the Vietnam War.

The hostility of the Aussie press corp is recounted by both Ian McLagan (who devotes a whole chapter to the tour in his excellent memoir All The Rage) and by Keith Moon's biographer Tony Fletcher. Both describe the hostility which erupted after a jet-lagged McLagan (of The Small Faces) told Aussie journalists to "fuck off" when questioned about his recent UK pot bust. (see below). This resulted in the touring party being harrassed on a daily basis by the press.

According to rock historian Paul Conn, there were constant conflicts with the promoters over the "appalling" sound system. Fletcher and McLagan both mention problems at the Sydney concert, including the Stadium's revolving stage -  according McLagan, the stage was actually pushed around manually, and when Steve Marriott got "pissed off" with the men pushing it they simply left it in one place, to the considerable annoyance of group and audience alike. By the next day, the press had the the bands pegged as "Bad Tempered Louts". Several other incidents upset the establishment, including Pete Townshend allegedly punching out an Australian journalist (who can blame him?), altercations between band members and agressive 'fans', and the groups' public expressions of frustration with the concert arrangements.

Not all of the tour was a bad experience, though -- McLagan fondly recalls their reception in Adelaide, where the groups were met by a troop of expatriate English Mods, who gave them a "scootercade" escort into the city, took them to the pub, and then down to the beach.

The problems and frustration finally came to a head during the flight back to Sydney from Adelaide on 28 January. Ansett Airlines in those days did not permit in-flight drinking but, according to McLagan, members of Paul's Jones' Australian backing band had smuggled bottles of beer onto the plane and were passing it around. A stewardess complained to Who roadie Bob Pridden, who was evidently in no mood for a lecture, and told her " no uncertain terms where to get off." (McLagan).

The stewardess immediately complained to the pilot, who radioed ahead and arranged for the touring party to be intercepted by airport security and police at Melbourne's Essendon Airport. The party was escorted off the plane and into the First Class lounge -- where, to their great amusement, they were served with drinks! -- after which they were escorted onto their flight to New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Gorton sent Pete Townshend a telegram telling The Who not to come back to Australia; Townshend reportedly sent back a fruity reply and left Australia swearing never to return -- a promise he has kept faithfully to this day! Once in New Zealand, things calmed down briefly, although they again ruffled establishment feathers in Auckland when Keith Moon indulged his famous penchant for wrecking hotel rooms.

The extracts below, which gives a more detailed account of the tour, are taken from Tony Fletcher's 1999 biography Moon: The Life and Death Of A Rock Legend, and from Ian McLagan's wonderful memoir All The Rage (1998).

In 1998 British writer Andrew Neil published a special book about the tour, called A Fortnight Of Furore (Mutley Press). It covers the tour in great detail, and includes exclusive interviews with key participants, previously unpublished photos and memorabilia, a full reproduction of the rare, original tour programme, and a complete Australia and New Zealand Who/Small Faces discography.

For more information on this book, check out the press release on Denis Bowler's The Who In Australia site.

There was a comical postscript to the story in 2000, when Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle returned to Australia as part of another "Big Show" -- the Ultimate Rock Symphony tour -- which included guitarist Simon Townshend, younger brother of Pete. It was reported in the Sydney press that at one of the shows, Daltrey made pointed reference to the events of the '68 tour and the Gorton telegram, and vented his "anger" by smashing a guitar on the stage. Unfortunately, instead of using his own guitar, Daltrey inadvertently grabbed Simon Townshend's prized $2000 Maton acoustic guitar and reduced it to matchwood!


Excerpt from
Moon: The Life and Death Of A Rock Legend
by Tony Fletcher
(Avon Books, 1999) ISBN 0380973375
pp 213-215

" ... with the rock community growing in importance all the time — by now it was clear that the music was never going to go away — there was a whole nation of these families out there traversing the globe like bands of modern-day minstrels. In some places they were welcomed with all the aplomb conferred on visiting royalty. In others they were greeted about as enthusiastically as a new disease.

In January 1968, the Who, the Small Faces and Paul Jones (the former singer of Manfred Mann) took a 10,000 mile plane journey to the southern hemisphere to play a short tour of Australia and New Zealand. The groups were popular ‘down under’ and surmised that this was partly attributable to the cultural lure for the homeland that still existed among the thousands of British citizens who had emigrated in a mass drive to Australia after the War. What they did not realise was the extent to which these emigrants had taken their reactionary values abroad with them.

They were greeted off their plane journey, jet-lagged to all hell, by the obligatory press conference that welcomed every band to a foreign country in the Sixties. Ian McLagan, the Small Faces keyboard player, had just got married at the start of the year — to the Ready Steady Go! dancer Sandy Serjeant that Keith had used as a diversion for his own marriage. McLagan had also just been busted for possession of pot. He recalls that he was singled out for the first question: "Mr McLagan, is it true that you’re a drug addict?"

"I said, ‘Oh fuck off’ he recalls, "and that was it, they started packing their equipment up. And they hounded us after that. Everywhere we went there’d be these arseholes. It was hell."

Australia was clearly caught in a generation gap such as Britain had experienced during the initial outbreak of rock’n’roll, and it was the role of the Who and the Small Faces, who represented British pop music at its most vibrant, imaginative, humorous and intelligent, to be cast instead as foul-mouthed, talentless demons come to corrupt the nation’s youth.

It wasn’t a role they even minded provided the shows went well, but though they played twice nightly to crowds of thousands that were mostly comprised of genuinely excited teenage fans, many of them hardened mods who still dressed as though it was 1965 and had the scooters to match, there were constant problems. In Sydney, the revolving stage failed to revolve, leaving half the audience at the city stadium to stare at the groups’ rears; after the bands dared publicly express their frustration The Showman tabloid immediately called for a ban on ‘these scruffy, guitar-twanging urchins’. In Melbourne, one antagonistic member of the audience heckled Small Faces singer Steve Marriott up to the point where Marriott volunteered to come down and sort him out. Once the papers reported that he had instead threatened to fight the whole crowd, the groups were abused on the streets and Keith Moon became incensed enough by a gang of half-a-dozen youths who were waiting for them outside the hotel to propose taking them all on. The sight of an enraged Moon was enough to disperse them.

On the flight that took the bands back from Adelaide to Sydney at the end of the Australian leg, an altercation between a stewardess who obviously believed the groups’ bad press and an entourage that had given up on trying to be polite any more escalated rapidly until someone called the stewardess by a four-letter word, and the captain landed the plane at the nearest airport to have the entire 19-person entourage removed by force. Three hours later, they were finally escorted onto another flight to Sydney, airline security riding shotgun. The Australian papers immediately dedicated their front pages to this latest example of the touring party’s violence and belligerence and the incident was picked up by a scathing British tabloid press too. The Who vowed never to return to Australia and it was a promise they kept. Moon, though he loved touring with his friends in the Small Faces, was particularly aggrieved at their treatment and took to blaming it on his management, as groups are habitually prone to do.

New Zealand offered some respite, partly because both the concert schedule and the atmosphere were less oppressive On January 30, the occasion of Steve Marriott’s twenty-first birthday, the bands took a plane ride from Auckland to Wellington in the morning and, ensconced in their high rise hotel in the latter city, gathered in Marriott's room for a party.

The Small Faces’ record company EMI had kindly bought Marriott a portable record player, and singles to go with it With the night off and the booze in, it looked like being a good party. But when one of the records skipped, an excited and inebriated Steve Marriott smashed the player with his fist, unwit-tingly breaking it in the process. Realising his error, the former Artful Dodger decided to make a proper job of his destruction, and in the madness of the moment, he picked his broken birthday present up and threw it out of the window. Everyone rushed to the balcony and watched the player turning as it fell, the fans who were gathered on the forecourt several floors below parting like the Red Sea before Moses as it landed in their midst. "It looked so good when it went down," recalls John Wolff, "and the smash it made was fantastic, it was music to our ears, that we shouted, ‘Leave those bits there!’ I rushed downstairs in my dressing gown, gathered it all up and brought it back upstairs so we could throw it out again!"

But as Steve Marriott recalled in the Small Faces biography The Young Mods’ Forgotten Story, that "was the wrong thing to do in front of Keith Moon, because the next thing that went out was the telly, armchairs, the lot went out of the window, the whole room. It was just mad."

Marriott was stunned. Even though he had started it, he didn’t realise anyone went in for that kind of behaviour, and he was right; for all that Moon had been building up to something like this, his actions represented a new high — or low — in on-tour vandalism, an over-the-top reaction to Marriott and Wolff s already crazed actions in a moment of collective, chaotic high spirits.

As best as conflicting recollections of what happened next can be correlated, with his furniture now on the hotel forecourt Marriott invented a stupendous lie about unknown intruders breaking into his room and destroying it. Apparently (and amazingly), the hotel took him at his word, the room was redecorated, and the next day EMI supplied Marriott with a new, even better record player. The bands played their two shows each at the town hall and came back for an end of tour party, again in Marriott’s room.

Keith walked in, complimented the hotel on their redecorating job, admired Marriott’s new record player — and promptly threw it straight out the window.

"Me and Wiggy [Who roadie John Wolfe] looked at each other in amazement," recalled Marriott, "and we screamed 'No! No! No!’ And Keith was going ‘Yes! Yes! Yes!’, bunging things out and smashing things. The whole room gets duffed up again. Fucking wrecked."

There was no way of escaping the blame this time and the Australian tour wound up with armed guards outside Marriott’s door and an expensive bill for damages. New Zealand newspaper The Truth sent them off with this farewell:

‘We really don’t want them back again. They are just unwashed, foul-smelling, booze-swilling no-hopers.’"
  © 1999 Tony Fletcher

Excerpt from
All The Rage
by Ian McLagan

(Macmillan, 1998) ISBN 0823078426


This was the flight to hell! The first stop was Frankfurt, and we kept stopping every few hundred yards until we got there. Every hour or so we’d get a meal and a hot towel, or a snack and a cold towel. Then, as we approached Bangkok, the flight attendant said we could get out for forty-five minutes to stretch our legs, and although we’d already that in Cairo, Bahrain and Dubai, we were desperate to get some fresh air because it was so hot in the plane. It was 10.30 p.m. local when they opened the door, but it was hotter outside the plane inside. Oh well, only another twenty hours to go!

When the plane finally pulled up to the gate at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith Airport, it was the morning of January 15th, 1968. The Australian authorities have an unusual way of greeting you when you arrive in their country. They walk the entire length of the plane spraying insecticide in your face. But the best was yet to come. As it was our first time in Australia, there was a lot of hype about our visit, and a room had been set aside at the airport for a ‘live’ TV interview. We sat down in a row on a sofa and our friendly interviewer introduced us, reading our names from a card.

These are the Small Faces folks, all the way from jolly old England. Welcome to Australia fellers. This is Steve Marriott over here on the left Ronnie Lane, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan. Ian, isn’t it true you’re a drug addict?’

Oh, fuck off!’ I said quietly, groaning.

Leave it out, you cunt!’ Steve shouted in his face in disgust, well aware of the effect it would have on the proceedings. As the cameraman and technicians started packing their gear up, the press conference being over, we had time to reflect that this was not a good start. We hadn’t been in the country five minutes and we’d already been sprayed in the face and insulted. I know things have changed a lot since then. For a start most of the gutter press are working for the English or the American tabloids now, but the great Tony Hancock committed suicide Down Under in a fit of depression. They didn’t let up on him the whole time he was there.

They could be very persistent. Marianne Faithfull had a go at it while she was there too. Maybe it has something to do with the climate! We had nothing much to do for a few days but get over the jet-lag by lounging around the hotel swimming pool, soaking up the sun until the ‘Orrible ‘Oo’ arrived from the States. The first time out of the hotel, driving to Bondi Beach in a Jeep, we were pulled over by the Sydney Old Bill and ticketed for having ‘Protruding Elbows’. Things had to get better, because there was a general feeling you could get arrested for looking at spaghetti!

Before the first show we had to sort out a technical problem. As ‘Itchycoo Park’ seemed likely to become a big hit, we’d wanted to do it ‘live’ but we hadn’t yet figured out a way to reproduce the phasing effect on Kenney’s drum track that was so important to the sound of the song. The problem was that phasing was a new studio effect and unlike these days when you can buy a gadget that’ll fit into the palm of your hand for a few dollars, there was nothing remotely like it in any studio then, let alone the music shops.

Steve had a brilliant idea one day while we were sitting around the swimming pool on the hotel roof. We were constantly trying to talk above the noise of the jets that flew over us into Sydney Airport and he suggested we record a few minutes of them on a cassette machine so that we, or I, could push the play button in the drum break and ‘Wallop McKenzie’ we’d have our phasing.

It sounded terrible. Although the mono Sony cassette was a little gem, the jets never really sounded like anything other than jets recorded on a portable cassette machine, but it was a good laugh all the same. We’d get to the drum break and I’d -have to stop playing for a second to start the machine. Of course it didn’t always start when I’d want it to, but even when it did, it started and stopped abruptly because I couldn’t fade it in or out. On one occasion the tape player fell off the organ on to the stage, which gave the other three a good laugh anyway. I had to have a microphone on a stand pointing towards the speaker on the cassette machine, and the volume had to be just right for it to work or it would feed back. It was a bloody nightmare actually. It wasn’t rock and roll, it was fiddling with buttons, like a precursor to the synthesizer age.

Well, soon enough The Who arrived and the fun really began. Pete, Keith, Roger and John were all in high spirits, considering the journey, and they were fired up and ready to start trouble. Roger congratulated me on getting married and ribbed me about leaving the bride so soon, since it was less than a fortnight since the wedding. They’d all known Sandy from Ready, Steady, Go! and the London club scene, so there was a little good-natured piss-taking. Keith was in his usual excitable and very affable state, telling me all about his recent exploits, blowing up hotel toilets with cherry bombs across the States. They’d been touring since June, opening for Herman’s Hermits, if you cou1d believe that for a bill, and playing to Peter Noone’s teeny-bopper fans night after night gave them a great start in America.

It was no stranger than Jimi Hendrix opening for The Monkees, and I regret that we never had a tour offer worth considering.

Someone thought it would be a good idea to take a couple of boats out on a lake. We took along some beers, and eventally it ended up in a water fight with Wiggy, one of The Who's roadies, having his ‘Irish’ knocked off his head. I’d never put two and two together before as to why he was called Wiggy but that was all behind him now. The lads on the other hand had known why he got the name but had never seen him without the thing and they were screaming with laughter as he dragged it out of the water, dripping like a wet cat. Wiggy just had to see the funny side, but his rug was never the same again, because when it dried out it had shrunk. We saw a lot of his bald head that tour because it got all blistered and burnt by the sun. In fact, he never wore a wig again and now goes by his real name, John Wolfe, and he’s bald and proud.

The first gig was in Sydney in an echoing corrugated-iron shed that had a manually operated revolving stage, and I don’t mean someone manually pushing a button. This thing was pushed round by a number of beefy geezers while we were actually playing. Unfortunately for us, whenever they felt like it or got tired, they’d leave it in one place. It was a little spasmodic. They’d start pushing in the middle of a song just when you’d found some little darling to look at in the audience. Steve got pissed off with the guys eventually, so they just left it in one spot, which pissed him off even more. The audience soon picked up on his anger and began squirming in their seats. I was glad when it was all over and, of course, the next day the press slagged off rotten, referring to us as ‘Bad Tempered Louts!’

When The Who hit the stage I knew we’d missed out by not touring the States. They were even more dynamic than they had been in the old days at the Club Noreik and the Marquee. Arden had put forward an American tour for the Small Faces, but it involved travelling on a bus with no toilet, opening for five bands for months on end and earning very little money. We were doing such great business in Europe that we weren’t interested in schlepping around the States for peanuts. As he had no intention of us going somewhere he couldn’t control the situation, it was actually a set-up, another of his red herrings. But after my bust, US Immigration told Andrew Oldham that I shouldn’t bother applying for a visa as I would never be allowed into the country Of all the places in the world, it was the one country I wanted to visit. Considering ‘Itchycoo Park’ was to be our biggest hit in the States, getting to number sixteen in the Billboard charts, it was a bloody shame that Andrew didn’t pursue it, since only two years later they relented, allowing me to tour.

The Sydney gig over, an Aborigine came to the stage door and gave each of us boomerangs with our names painted on them. It was the nicest welcome we’d had, and we were touched by his gesture as we hadn’t seen any native Australians since we’d arrived, and wondered where they were. Sadly, I found out from the crew later that the police beat him up on his way out of the gig, for no reason other than he was black. We noticed that we never heard any black music played in the clubs either, which was a big shock, since we wouldn’t have started playing if we hadn’t listened to rock~n’roll and R&B. Luckily, by 1974 the scene had changed considerably, because they’d discovered James Brown, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin and the clubs were rocking with great black music.

As glad as I was to get out of Sydney, the press slagged us off everywhere we went. At airports they were on us like a hobo on a ham sandwich, chasing us and pushing microphones in our faces, ‘You’re all drug-addicts, right?’ they’d shout, and ‘Hey you, do you ever wash?’ or my favourite, ‘When are you going home?’

The newspapers were rotten to us and it was a drag, but it wasn’t all bad vibes. At least the audiences were appreciative. We had a lovely moment in Adelaide when we were greeted at the airport by a mob of Mods on scooters. It turned out they had all moved from England with their parents in the mid-Sixties, taking their Vespas and Lambrettas with them, and they remained Mods in Australia. As we drove to the hotel in an ancient singie-decker bus we were treated to a ‘scootercade’, probably the world’s first and last. I had an interesting chat with our new expatriate pals over a couple of schooners of cold Australian beer in the hotel bar, and then they took us to the beach. It was a fantastic welcome and I forgot about the daily slagging off in the press for the whole afternoon.

Never mind the press, there was some underlying aggro between Pete and Steve too. It wasn’t that they didn’t get on, but I think Steve was jealous of The Who’s success and both being highly strung like racehorses, something had to snap sometime. Steve was always so hyperactive, you’d want to chin him now and then for his own good, but we weren’t about to hit him. It was just a thought. But when Pete and Steve got into a scuffle in the hotel corridor in Melbourne, it almost got out of hand. Pete had him in an armiock on the floor, but Steve wouldn’t give in and Pete for his part was probably enjoying and physically putting him in his place In the end nobody got really hurt, just some feathers ruffled.

Basically, we got on well and I liked them all, especially Keith, because he was so fuckmg mad! He liked to drink and would find the funny side of anything quicker than most He’d hook you in with a conspiratorial Robert Newton’ look, and before you knew it, with a loud cackle from him you d become part of the scheme. I don’t know how they put up with him I never met anyone like him, he was so much larger than life He was even larger than Steve.

At long last, having played in Melbourne, we flew to Sydney the next day to Connect with our flight to New Zealand and home.

Ansett, Australia’s internal airline, didn’t serve alcohol in those days. It wasn’t a problem for any of us as we were just glad to be leaving Australia But Paul Jones’s backing group were seen passing a beer between them around the cabin. They were silly buggers, because as Australians, they knew the score When the stewardess saw the bottle, she got her knickers in a twist and had a go at Bob Pridden, The Who’s hairy roadie, assuming he was in on it, probably because he resembled a garden gnome She was a snotty little bitch and Bob, or Ben Pump’ as we liked to call him, told her in no uncertain terms where to get off.. Well, one thing led to another and she stormed off in a huff to report all of us bad boys to the chief pilot, who radioed ahead, warning the police to expect trouble.

It was a total farce. When the plane landed in Sydney, we were ordered to stay in our seats until the other passengers got off. Then two policemen marched us all in single file across the tarmac; we stuck our hands in the air as if we had been arrested, just to take the piss out of them. They took us to the first-class lounge where Paul Jones did his best to calm the situation down. When a waitress came over to ask for our drinks orders we fell about, it was so funny, and after a quick one the policemen came back and escorted us to our waiting plane and out of their country.

The New Zealand press heard the exaggerated news reports while we were in the air, so when we touched down in Auckland a crowd of reporters and photographers were waiting for us. Fully expecting a bunch of drunken English arseholes to step off the plane, they were disappointed to find us subdued and tired after the long flight, and after snapping us munching fried chicken at a small reception party, they eventually left us alone. But because the incident had been blown out of all proportion, eight New Zealand policemen were assigned to watch over us, one for each.

member of the Small Faces and The Who even though the Aussie band had caused all the bother. We weren’t under arrest, but were to be escorted everywhere until we left the country It was very silly really, but the policemen turned out to be decent blokes and the gig in Auckland passed without incident, except for the boss of the equipment rental company complaining that Roger had smashed a couple of microphones What did he expect? It was The Who after all The next day was Steve’s twenty-first birthday, and we flew up to Wellington for the last two nights before going home.

It was a hot, dry afternoon when we arrived at the hotel and Keith, Steve, Ronnie, John, Wiggy and I went straight to the bar after checking in we met a couple of homesick English merchant sailors there who were Mods before they’d left England a year before They couldn’t believe their luck, meeting their two favourite Mod bands in a gloomy bar near the docks on the other

side of the world, and they invited us on a tour of their ship with as much beer as we could drink. They were good lads and were as hungry for English company as we were, but it quickly turned into a version of the cabin scene from the Marx Brothers’ A Night at the Opera as more and more sailors squeezed into their tiny mess. it was so crowded the bottles of beer had to be passed overhead and the conversation reduced to shouting, with the cigarette smoke as thick as custard. Everything started to go ‘twiddle twiddle’, you know the sound you get when you fiddle with a radio set and the stations are flying past too quickly to be understood. At that point I should have crawled under the table and fallen asleep, but that was when they brought in the bugle! I don’t have a clue why, and it’s irrelevant now~ but someone had to climb Everest, and Keith and John both had to blow that bugle in the cramped little mess.

We had two shows each night in Wellington and the first evening passed peacefully. I have very fond memories of The Who’s performance that night because I sat behind John Entwistle’s stack of amps for the entire show. They were such a powerful band, but up close they were even more potent and I had the best seat in the house. While Pete’s and John’s amps beat my eardrums to submission, I screamed with laughter watching Keith’s expressions, as he threw his sticks high in the air, and occasionally caught one.

Being Steve’s twenty-first birthday, EMI, our record company gave him a suite so he could have a party after the show, and supplied a fancy record console, a pile of LPs and a few bottles of booze to celebrate the event. Our personal policemen were outside his room in the hallway, but when it looked like nothing silly was going to happen some of them went home, leaving two to watch over us.

‘Like a drink officers?’ Steve was a little bugger.

‘Oh, that’s very nice of you, I don’t suppose it’ll do any harm.’

They came in, took their helmets off and sat down. Steve passed them a couple of beers.

‘Can I try your helmet on, mate?’ he said with a cheeky grin.

‘Go ahead They were feeling more relaxed already and Steve was beginning to enjoy himself. Just then there was a loud knock at the door and Steve opened it. It was Keith and Wiggy.

‘Hello, Keith was all Steve had time to say.

‘Happy birhtday, Steve. What’s this?’

In one simple movement he picked up the record player and threw it with a maniacal laugh through the french windows onto the balcony, where it bounced and fell down onto the street below, where another loud bang and a crash told us it had landed in the street. Someone could’ve been killed.

The ‘filth’ as Wiggy liked to refer to them, were in shock, their jaws on the floor and fists clenched around beer bottles, not knowing how it could’ve happened in front of them. They were accessories to a crime they were there to prevent. They put their beers down and ran out the door and down the hallway as fast as their legs would carry them. We laughed until we hurt. Then I ran for it too! The next day, the press got hold of the story and tried to make a big deal out of it, but the police were quiet for reasons known only to us and them. The damage was paid for and EM! knew it wasn’t Steve’s fault so they brought him another, better stereo player and an even bigger record collection than before, and the hotel staff replaced the broken door and windows.

The second night went as smooth as silk, although the press had slagged Pete off for smashing up his rented amp, and the ‘scum’, as Keith was now calling the police, were dogging his footsteps more than ever. We had planned to get a reasonably early night because of the ifight home the next day, and the policemen weren’t as eager to come in that night, they skulked down the end of the corridor until Keith arrived.

‘Bang! Bang! Bang!’ The Old Bill, fearing the worst, ran from the scene, not wanting to witness the devastation.

‘Keith!’ Steve said, opening the door with a smile. ‘I thought you’d never get here:

‘Happy Birthday, dear boy’ he said quietly, and picking up the record player, turned and threw it through the newly repaired windows without any effort. That’s when I left. I wasn’t going to hang around this time. Going through some photographs and memorabilia the other day, I found a chrome hat badge with the letters N, Z and P intertwined beneath a crown, and surrounded by fern leaves but I can’t for the life of me remember how I came to get it.

©1998 Ian McLagan. Reproduced by kind permission of the author.


My sincere thanks (and undying adnmiration) to Ian McLagan for his generous permission to reproduce the material about the Australian tour from his book. Come back soon, Mac!

Paul Conn
2000 Weeks: The First Thirty Years of Australian Rock
(Moonlight Publishing, 1996)

Tony Fletcher
Moon: The Life and Death Of A Rock Legend
(Avon Books, 1999) ISBN 0380973375

Ian McLagan
All The Rage
(McMillan, 1998)

The Who In Australia

The Complete Who Concert Guide

Making Time: British Beat Groups of the 60s

"Room For Ravers" Small Faces website

Ian McLagan's Home Page


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