Scot Halpin Passes Away
Lowgens02 at aol.com
Lowgens02 at aol.com
Mon Feb 11 20:33:07 CST 2008
www.thewho.com Forum is reporting:
Artist and musician T. Scot Halpin,resident of Bloomington, Indiana
and one time substitute drummer for The Who at the Cow Palace in
1973, passed away yesterday at age 54. He is survived by his wife,
Robin, and his son, James. No services will be held.
San Francisco Examiner, Thursday, October 17, 1996:
Teen got his 15 minutes of fame
SAM WHITING, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thomas Scot Halpin has the greatest rock concert story of them all.
He went to see the Who andended up onstage as the band's drummer.
It was Nov. 20, 1973, at the Cow Palace, opening night of
the "Quadrophenia'' tour. That notoriousshow was the last Bay Area
performance of the rock opera until this weekend, when the band
returnsto perform it in San Jose.
Nobody caught his name, but everybody remembers the skinny kid
plucked from the audience toreplace the legendary Keith Moon -- the
one-man lunatic fringe who went down that night likeconcrete, passed
out at his drum kit.
Halpin, then 19, in low-slung bell-bottoms, tight T-shirt and mod
haircut, coolly took the seat of hisidol, picked up the sticks and
laid down the beat for three songs. Then he took a bow, arms
aroundPete Town shend and Roger Daltrey, as if he had belonged there
"For some reason it keeps coming up,'' says Halpin, who had scalped a
ticket to the sold- out show."It's like one of the few times you
could play royalty.'' In the documentary "The Who: Thirty Yearsof
Maximum R&B,'' singer Daltrey recalled that when Moon collapsed for
the second time thatnight, Townshend called out for a substitute. A
sea of hands shot up and a line of drummers formedat the stage
entrance for auditions.
This doesn't square with the way Halpin remembers it.
Now 42 and a painter, Halpin splits his time between San Francisco
and Bloomington, Ind., wherehe was tracked down earlier this month
for one more go- round of every teenage garage drummer'sfantasy.
The Who was the most drum- driven band in rock, with Moon an
unorthodox showman who didflips and walked on his drums. He would
pound the air and contort his face, but he never missed abeat.
Though his playing was erratic that night, a bootleg recording of the
show indicates that Moon madeit through 70 minutes and all the
Quadrophenia material, including "Bell Boy,'' his drum and
Then the band went into "Won't Get Fooled Again.'' Moon reared back
to hit his cymbal and wentright off his stool.
`SUDDENLY THEY PULLED THE CORD'
"The guy was completely a locomotive, and then suddenly they pulled
the cord. I thought it wasKeith Moon theatrics,'' recalls Halpin, who
was watching from the side seats with Mike Danese, ahometown pal from
Muscatine, Iowa, who now lives in Lafayette.
Two stagehands picked up the slumping drummer and carried him
offstage, feet up. This also wasnot beyond Moon's sense of drama, but
then the houselights went on.
Backstage it was determined that he had probably overdosed, possibly
on PCP, or angel dust. Aninjection of cortisone got him back onstage
after a 20-minute delay, but it wasn't long before he wentdown again.
When Townshend called out, "Can anyone play the drums?'' Halpin and
Danese were already at theedge of the stage.
"And my friend starts saying to the security guard, `He can play,' ''
Halpin says. In truth, he hadn'tplayed in a year, but that didn't
slow the braggart Danese, who made such a commotion thatpromoter Bill
Graham appeared. "He just looked at me and said, `Can you do it?' ''
Halpin doesn'trecall his answer, but Danese assured Graham that he
"The story was that I stepped out from in front of the stage, but
that's not what happened,'' Halpinsays. "Townshend and Daltrey look
around and they're as surprised as I am,'' he says, "becauseGraham
put me up there.''
With a shot of brandy for his nerves, Halpin shook hands with
Townshend, then sat down at his firstdrum set since he left Iowa, in
front of 13,500 critics. "I get onto the stool. Was it still warm?
Whoknows. I'm in complete shock,'' Halpin says. "Then I got really
focused, and Townshend said tome, `I'm going to lead you. I'm going
to cue you.'
"I'm laying down the beat. They're doing all their `Live at Leeds'
kind of stuff, and then I don'tremember what happened. I guess I
played a couple more songs. It was such a weird experience.''
The bootleg reveals that Halpin drummed through the
traditional "Smokestack Lightning'' and"Naked Eye,'' from "Odds and
Sods,'' closing with the anthem "My Generation.'' He wasonstage for
about 15 minutes. "I played long enough with them that no one booed
and no one threwanything at the stage,'' he says.
PARTYING WITH DALTREY
Afterward he was invited backstage and managed to get Danese back
there as well. They wereescorted into a party room, and Daltrey gave
him a tour jacket and promised him he'd be paid$1,000. Danese recalls
that "Daltrey was drinking Jack Daniel's straight out of the
Halpin remembers mostly the buffet table. "We were about the last
ones to go,'' he says, "becausewe're eating all this food and tak ing
food with us.''
To do so he put down his souvenir tour jacket and sticks, and
somebody snatched them. Then hedrove his Volkswagen Beetle back home
to Monterey, woke up his girlfriend and told her the story.
He might have passed anonymously into lore, but pop critic John
Wasserman put out an all- pointsbulletin in a column titled "Mystery
Drummer Into the Breach,'' and the mystery drummerresponded. Then
Townshend sent him a thank-you letter from Los Angeles, but it did
not contain the$1,000 Daltrey had promised. -- perhaps his memory was
clouded by that Jack Daniel. As a result ofhis fame, Halpin got an
audition (but no job) with Journey, and Rolling Stone magazine named
him"Pick-Up Player of the Year.''
The Who returned in 1976 for a series of shows at Winterland, and
Halpin went down there to seeabout some unfinished business.
Again without a ticket, he waited four hours at the limo entrance
until he found a way into the show.Afterward, he found Graham, who
took him backstage to meet Moon.
The drummer was his old self, changing clothes in front of everyone,
blathering nonsense. "He saidsomething, and I couldn't even figure
out what it was,'' Halpin says. Like many Who purists,Halpin lost his
heart for the band when a drug overdose finally killed Moon in
When the Who documentary aired on PBS a few years ago, Halpin got his
moment of screen time,though he wasn't mentioned by name. Somewhere
in the Bill Graham Presents archives, a video ofthe whole show
exists. Halpin would like to see that, to fill in the gaps in his
memory. He'd also liketo see the paycheck Daltrey promised him.
"That's $1,000 plus interest,'' he says. "Let's figure it out.
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