The destructive, wildman drummer is something of a played out trope in rock and roll at this point, but it had to originate somewhere. And anyone currently fitting that mold can in some way be traced to the periodically bearded Keith Moon, who basically invented the stereotype starting in the early sixties.
As the powerhouse drummer for The Who, Moon was bombastic in every sense of the word, an impressive feat for a band who had two cults of personality in Roger Daltry and former beard of the day Pete Townshend out in front, not to mention the virtuosity of John Entwistle. Moon and the rest of the band became known for destroying their instruments at the end of performances, and he took it the further by planting explosives in his bass drum. This propensity for destruction seemed perfectly emblematic not only for his technically proficient yet rambunctious style of drumming, but also for his personal life, where Moon’s rampaging alcoholism could not be stopped. And in 1978, at age 32, he died of an overdose of pills and booze.
In his absence he’s left a string of imitators both behind and away from the kit for going on 40 years, but to this point no one has been able to surpass the original in either arena. And it’s unlikely anyone ever will.