Pictures of Lily


Perhaps the most recognized drum set in rock music history is Keith Moon’s famous “Pictures of Lily” kit. Decorated with the logo “Keith Moon Patent British Exploding Drummer” and photos of a naked woman (Lily), this eye-popping dayglo kit was (and still is) a one-of-a-kind design. Using Gretsch fittings and Rogers Swiv-O-Matics tom holders three of these kits were manufactured. The artwork was pasted on to the shells by hand and then clear-coated. Bonding the finish to the shells also had to be done by hand. The two bass drums were joined with Gretsch fittings. The tom holders were Rogers Swiv-o-Matics. The drums were Premier birch shells consisting of two 22” x 14” bass drums, three 16” floor toms (two 16” x 18”; one 16” x 16”), three 14” x 8” mounted toms and a 14” x 5½” metal snare. Cymbals-wise they typically came from various manufacturers and consisted of a 20” ride, 18” crash and 14” hi-hats (usually not used on stage). The stands were Premier LokFast and the pedals were Premier 250s.

Like all of Moon’s kits this one took a beating and was used in the infamous explosion on the Smothers Brothers Show that wounded the drummer in his arm and is rumored to have permanently damaged Pete Townsend’s hearing (see here: According to the History Channel:

Keith Moon was already in the habit of placing an explosive charge in one his two bass drums to detonate during Pete Townshend’s guitar-smashing at the end of each Who performance. But for their Smothers Brothers appearance, Moon packed several times the normal amount of explosives into his drum kit, and when he set it off, a gigantic explosion rocked the set as a cloud of white smoke engulfed Townshend and singer Roger Daltrey. Though bassist John Entwistle never lost his cool, Daltrey practically flew downstage and when Townshend emerged from the smoke, his hair was almost literally blown to one side of his head. Though the incredible explosion has been rumored to have caused Pete Townshend’s eventual near-deafness, credit for that should probably go instead to the Who’s pioneering use of stacked Marshall amplifiers as a means of achieving maximum volume during their live performances.

Despite this abuse Moon had a particular fondness for this kit. In an interview he stated:

At first I wondered what to talk about, but then I realized that the obvious subject was my new drum kit. I don’t have it at the moment; it’s down at the Bristol Siddeley factory having its engines fitted. No, I’m serious. This kit has to be seen to be believed. It’s going to be called “The Keith Moon Patent British Exploding Drum Kit.” I’m having the shells strengthened and made more resonant but the drums will still be basically Premier. The drums are covered in gaudy designs painted in “Dayglo” and on stage they’ll light up larger than life. I’d like to say a bit more about the engine and what it will do but I think I’d prefer you to see the kit in action. I can promise you that it will be really worth seeing. It will give this effect of exploding, hence the name. I’m not sure what the situation is regarding copies of the new kit, but I dare say there will be a version for sale, although I can’t see everyone wanting Keith Moon designs.

In January 2006, Premier announced the release of a “Pictures of Lily” tribute kit, a replica of Keith’s “Pictures of Lily” Premier kit. The kit was only available for 14 months. One for each year Moon was affiliated with Premier.

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