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July 14, 2011

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This was the tour where Keith discovered cherry-bombs, dumped a Lincoln Continental into a Holiday Inn swimming pool, and knocked out his front tooth.

The latter two events taking place on Keith's 21st birthday, 23 August 1967.

Ahhh, memories.

Expanding on the above: When the band was touring the south, an American roadie introduced Keith to the amazing demolition powers of the cherry bomb and the M-80. By the time the tour got to the west coast Keith had progressed from rolling them down hotel hallways to dropping them down toilets (and, as it turned out, loading them into his bass drum during an appearance on The Smothers Brothers Show.)

It was when the tour was in Detroit, booked into a Holiday Inn, that the infamous 21st birthday mayhem took place.

The Who had an impressive show and came back to the hotel banquet room ready to celebrate their little drummer's becoming legal to drink in the States. Premier brought a multi-tiered cake in the shape of stacked drums, Chris Stamp supplied the booze. In the course of the revelry Keith wound up getting "debagged" (stripped) by Peter Noone and John Entwistle and retaliated by flinging heaps of the marzipan cake at the two before grabbing a semi-nude groupie and running out the door with Noone and others in hot pursuit.

Parked up the hill, with its windows down on that August evening was a new Lincoln, into which dove Keith and the groupie. As they landed in the car and rolled up the windows to escape Keith pursuers the parking brake released and the Lincoln rolled downhill and crashed through the swimming pool fence before crashing into the pool. When the water pressure equalized, Keith and the girl opened the doors and swan to the top.

As this was taking place, other revelers emptied fire extinguishers and created such a noise that the night manager called the police.

Keith, steaming water from his y-fronts, reentered the banquet room only to see a policeman talking with Chris Stamp. Turning to run, Keith slipped on a piece of cake, landing on the bottom rail of the sliding door, knocking out his front tooth.

Keith was placed in custody and taken to an emergency dentist to have the stump of the tooth extracted. Because he was so inebriated, anethesia couldn't be used.

As a final birthday gift to Keith, the two groups pooled their tour profits and sent a check to the hotel to cover the many damages. The check was sent in a card marked "BALLS!" Inside were the bandmembers' signatures and the post script "see ya soon!"

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