Scot Halpin Passes Away

Lowgens02 at Lowgens02 at
Mon Feb 11 20:33:07 CST 2008 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
all along.

"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.


"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.


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
September 1978.

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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