If you can make it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art before the October 1st, 2019 closing date of its attendance record-setting exhibit, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll you will find that it is so much more than just a collection of famous guitars. For me, the Oh, Wow factor is summed up in the true work of art that is Keith Moon’s Pictures of Lily Drumkit circa 1967. Jesus god, look at this beautiful thing. Just look at it.
Inspired by the song of the same title, Pictures of Lily is nine-piece Premier kit — comprised of a snare, two bass (or kick) drums (which are reproductions of the originals), three floor toms and three 14’x8″ mounted rack toms, with two Paiste cymbals, which appear to be one ride and one crash — with custom artwork.
Keith Moon received this drum set at the beginning of The Who’s 1967 U.S. Tour and used it extensively for the performances that followed. The artwork features nude photos of Lily Langtry, the subject of the single “Pictures of Lily.” The psychedelic design incorporates a Union Jack and the text “Keith Moon Patent British Exploding Drummer,” a reference to Moon’s tendency to pack his drums with shells and flash powder in order to detonate them onstage.
The two original bass drums are lost, possibly destroyed by Moon’s pyrotechnics.
Photographed as Part of Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll, on Exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum Art in NYC Through October 1st, 2019.