Keith Moon’s Drumkits: 1967–1968 ‘Pictures of Lily’ kit
1967–1968 ‘Pictures of Lily’ kit details
“Keith Moon, Patent British Exploding Drummer”
Likely Keith’s best known kit, for its unique look, Keith had Premier custom-build at least three of these kits to his specification. It was Moon’s idea to incorporate “Pictures of Lily” in the design.
- First date used:
- 7 July 1967 – Malibu Beach and Shore Club, Lido Beach, New York, USA
- Likely last date used:
- November or mid-December 1968
Danny Ray, tenor sax in Mad Juana, NYC, confirmed that the first use was 7 July, 1967, Malibu Beach and Shore Club, Lido Beach, New York:
“I was there with him as he opened the crates. They had naked pictures of Lily, Brit flags and said, ‘Keith Moon, British Patent Exploding Drummer’ on them. It’s a sweet story. Spent the day with him, John and his wife (and teddy bear) and later, with Roger. Peter wasn’t there until the show. We hung, read comics, helped set up the stage with the smoking amp (they had no real crew, yet. I even took Keith surfing, though there was absolutely no surf that day (which is why I had sneaked into the beach club in the first place).”
Portions currently owned by Brad Rodgers: A 16″x16″ floor tom was on display at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and a 16″x18″ floor tom. The items currently on display at Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale, Arizona. See whocollection.com for more information.
The Victoria & Albert Museum in London owns three tom toms.
The bass drums are unaccounted for and may have been discarded.
Used Gretsch fittings, Rogers Swiv-O-Matics tom holders. Three of these kits were manufactured, as well as a gloss-black version. [more likely at least four — sparkle chrome kit used late 1968–early 1970 was same configuration; gloss black versions used early 1970–1973]
- The art was pasted on to the shell and then clear-coated. Bonding the finish to the shells had to be done by hand.
- The two bass drums were joined with Gretsch fittings.
- The tom holders were Rogers Swiv-o-Matics.
- Three/four kits were made, plus a black gloss version.
Premier Custom Built (in birch)
- Two 22″ x 14″ bass drums
- Three 16″ floor toms (two 16″ x 18″; one 16″ x 16″)
- Three 14″ x 8″ mounted toms
- 14″ x 5½″ snare drum
- One 20″ ride
- Two 18″ crash
- 14″ hi-hats (usually not used on stage)
Premier LokFast. All three stands are the boom type but still flush base.
Premier 250 pedal
Bass drum fitments
The fitments that hold the bass drums together are the same on the red sparkle kits as on the Pictures of Lily kits: the old type Premier tom holders (possibly called “disappearing tom holders”).
The tom holders are Rogers Swiv-o-matic — they are not Premier parts.
Roger Swiv-o-matic holders were the best during the ’60s; Ringo Starr, Brian Bennett and Ginger Baker (to name only three) used this mount on their Ludwig drums.
Premier Extra heads on tom toms, floor toms and bass drums.
September 19, 1968: IBC Studios, Anyway Anyhow Anywhere references that, “Having exhausted Premier’s tolerance, Keith used a new double kit belonging to roadie Tony Haslam.” See borrowed kits.
Commemoration: ‘Spirit of Lily’
In January 2006, Premier announced the release of a “Pictures of Lily” tribute kit, a replica of Keith’s “Pictures of Lily” Premier kit. See Premier “Spirit of Lily” kit for more information.
Pictures of Lily kit drumskin. Courtesy Brad Rodgers (whocollection.com).
From the 1978 Who Exhibition in London, two bass drums from the silver kit with pieces from the Pictures of Lily kit. (Note: The bass drum skins are reproductions.)
All quotes and references are copyright their original owners and are included for reference only.
Click to view larger version (1mb). Go Magazine August 1967 clip on Keith’s kit. Clip courtesy Martin Forsbom. Original caption:
Keith Moon … Britain’s Patent … Exploding Drummer
Direct from Britain, exclusive to GO, is this picture series of the wildest drum kit around. Above, Keith Moon of the Who selects the final artwork with the help of Jeffrey Hurst, creative directory of Premier Drums’ advertising agency.
The kit is almost finished, but Keith is there to make sure everything is exactly the way he wants it. Listening to Keith’s comments is Phil Franklin, Premier’s promotion manager.
The psychedelic outfit is finished, and Keith sits proudly in the driver’s seat. The $5000 kit is creating a lot of comment during the Who’s current tour of the States.
Beat Instrumental, August 1967, essay by Keith
At first I wondered what to talk about, but then I realised that the obvious subject was my new drum kit. I don’t have it at the moment; it’s down at the Bristol Siddeley factory having its engines fitted. No, I’m serious. This kit has to be seen to be believed. It’s going to be called “The Keith Moon Patent British Exploding Drum Kit.” I’m having the shells strengthened and made more resonant but the drums will still be basically Premier.
The drums are covered in gaudy designs painted in “Dayglo” and on stage they’ll light up larger than life. I’d like to say a bit more about the engine and what it will do but I think I’d prefer you to see the kit in action. I can promise you that it will be really worth seeing. It will give this effect of exploding, hence the name. I’m not sure what the situation is regarding copies of the new kit, but I dare say there will be a version for sale, although I can’t see everyone wanting Keith Moon designs.
Go magazine, 1967: ‘Keith Moon to take $5000 op art drum kit on Who tour’
“I’ve brought my new fab $5000 drum kit with me for the Herman tour,” said Who drummer Keith Moon.
“It took six months to do the whole job and five people worked on the kit. Each drum has designs on it and they all light up under black light.
“Of course, there’s a picture of Lily and also an op art design that says, ‘Keith Moon’s Patent – Britain’s exploding drummer’. I’m very excited with the way it turned out.”
Beat Instrumental, November 1967: ‘The Keith Moon Column’
“Oh yes, I’ve just got a set of timps. You know, those huge drums people like Eric Delaney use. They’re made by Premier and give a tremendous “lift” to songs. I won’t use them in many numbers, that would spoil the effect. I haven’t tried them on record yet, but the time will come”.
Keith discusses the artwork with Jeffrey Hurst, creative director of Premier’s advertising agency.
Clip courtesy Martin Forsbom. Original caption:
Mr. Fred Della-Porta, Chairman and Co-Founder of Premier dropped in for a preview of the finished outfit and spent some time chatting with Keith.
Clip courtesy Martin Forsbom and Tam Rankin at vintprem.moonfruit.com. Caption:
Keith discusses a point with Phil Franklin, Premier’s Promotion Manager, during the final phase. In the background Bob [Pridden], Keith’s Road Manager, adds a deft touch.
25 Aug. 1967, Kiel Opera House, St. Louis, Mo., with third tom possibly missing. Photo courtesy Paula Wills, stlbook.com.
Ca. 1967, U.S. tour (likely Atwood Stadium, Flint, Michigan, 23 Aug. 1967) with rear view of kit and 16x16 floor tom visible at left, among three 16x18 floor toms. Courtesy whocollection.com.
22 Oct. 1967, rehearsals at the Saville Theatre, showing “extra” pieces of the kit.
Ca. October 1967, Keith posing with timpani.
2 Aug. 1968, Singer Bowl, New York, rear view of Pictures of Lily kit. Courtesy whocollection.com.
Ca. 1968, side view showing left floor tom employed as stick and drink holder.
Click to view larger version. 10 August 1968, Jaguar Club, St. Charles, Ill. (Photo: Rick Giles) For more, see The Who at the Jaguar, 10 August 1968.
Click to view larger version. 10 August 1968, Jaguar Club, St. Charles, Ill., stage-side view, post-show, of dissasembled kit. (Photo: Rick Giles)
For more, see The Who at the Jaguar, 10 August 1968.
Resources and Information
Many thanks to the following, who have made this page possible:
- Martin Forsbom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Brad Rodgers at whocollection.com.
- Huw Owens (email@example.com)
- Trevor Penn
- Danny Ray, tenor sax in Mad Juana, NYC
- Brad Rodgers at whocollection.com.
- David Brewis at Rock Stars Guitars, for pictures of Moon’s drumsticks, timbales, claves and drumheads.
- Tam Rankin at vintprem.moonfruit.com for information on vintage Premier drums.
- Drums & Drumming magazine, October/November 1989.
- Modern Drummer, September 2003.
- Moon, the Life and Death of a Rock Legend, by Tony Fletcher. 1999.