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Who Use Fill-in Drummer

The Who
(Larry Busacca/Getty Images)

The Who had to call in some help on Tuesday night — just hours before their show in San Diego, drummer Zak Starkey, the son of Ringo Starr, became ill.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend reached out to Scott Devours, the drummer in Daltrey’s ‘Tommy’ touring band from two years ago. With only two hours to get the Quadrophenia set down, Devours did a great job, including the encores, which featured some greatest hits that he hadn’t had a chance to rehearse. Afterwards Daltrey said, “Quadrophenia’s not an easy piece. To do what Scotty did took real guts.”

This isn’t the first time The Who have had a problem with a drummer and Quadrophenia. In 1973 in San Francisco, the first night of the Quadrophenia tour, Keith Moon passed out 70-minutes into the show from the tranquilizers and brandy he’d downed before going on. Scott Halpin, a 19-year-old who’d recently moved to the Bay Area from Iowa, came to the attention of promoter Bill Graham, and got the gig.  He played on “Smokestack Lightning,” “Naked Eye,” but not easily, despite instructions from Townshend, and “My Generation.” He then took a bow with Townshend, Daltrey and John Entwistle.

Halpin later told Rolling Stone, “I only played three numbers and I was dead.” That led to an audition with Journey, but he didn’t get the job. You can see Halpin’s performance on the Who DVDs Thirty Years of Maximum R&B Live and Amazing Journey. Halpin died in 2008 from a brain tumor. He was 54.

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