In the interview process for the writing of “When Stars Were in Reach, The Who at Union Catholic High School, November 29, 1967,” Mike Mazzarisi, drummer for The Decoys, the band which opened for The Who at Union Catholic, related how Keith Moon’s snare drumhead broke during The Who’s performance. Having no alternative, and with The Decoys’ equipment directly behind the stage and ready to be taken apart and packed after The Decoys’ performance, Bob Pridden, road manager for The Who, ran to Mike’s snare drum and started to dislodge it from its kit.
Seeing what was happening, Mike Mazzarisi ran to protect his equipment. But Mr. Pridden explained that Keith Moon had broken his drumhead and had no choice but to use Mike’s snare drum for the remainder of the show. Mike at first protested but In the end he relented and the rest is history, as they say.
That much was recounted in “When Stars Were in Reach.” But what was learned on Saturday night November 18th 1967, at The Decoys’ 50th anniversary reunion concert, is that the drum didn’t belong to Mike at all. Mike had borrowed the snare drum for the show from a friend named Chris Salman (pronounced Salemin). That could be one reason why Mike was especially reluctant to let Keith Moon use his snare drum. Chris has remained Mike’s friend until today.
While Mike’s or more exactly Chris’ snare drum was being used by Keith Moon, Keith bloodied one of his hands on a cymbal when he hit it awkwardly. When the show was over Mike took back the snare drum Keith had been using and it had blood stains all over it.
Fast forward 50 years to The Decoys’ reunion concert from November 18, 2017 when Chris Salman and his snare drum from the Union Catholic show made an appearance. Below is a photo (from left to right) of Chris Salman, author Michael Rosenbloom with the famous snare drum and Jim McClurken, lead guitarist for The Decoys.
Mike Mazzarisi jokes till this day that Keith Moon’s DNA is embedded in that snare drum. If one day, mad scientists will look for a way to clone Keith Moon, we can now direct them to Chris Salman.