Peter ‘Dougal’ Butler worked for The Who for 10 years, initially as a £15-a-week roadie but, more significantly, as Keith Moon’s chauffeur and minder. This book, first published in 1981, charts their time together and, amid the wild man antics that have been well documented time and again, there’s a sense of a very real bond between the two men.
As one might expect, the drug-fuelled and death-defying japery makes for a rattling read and is always worth another look, yet it’s the sensitive side of Moon, the life and soul who was no stranger to loneliness, that adds an extra poignancy. The bad behaviour is punctuated by stints in rehab, though Butler seems resigned to the fact that his employer will forever struggle to change his ways and that his problems are steamrollering to an inevitable conclusion.
Written in the present tense with a raconteur’s lyrical brio that sometimes recalls Damon Runyon’s colourful prose, plus a useful glossary of rock’n’roll slang at the back, Butler transports the reader to the eyes of several storms. As a first-hand account of showbiz mayhem it has few equals.