A Muscatine, Iowa, native who became a part of rock history by stepping forward from the audience to play the drums for The Who after a band member passed out has died at his home in Bloomington, Ind.
A memorial service will be held Friday in Bloomington for Thomas Scot Halpin, 54, who divided his time between Indiana and Sausalito, Calif.
At age 19, he and a friend were watching The Who perform at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. After drummer Keith Moon passed out for the second time in the night, Pete Townshend called out, “Can anybody play the drums?” Halpin and his friend and fellow Muscatine native Mike Danese were already at the edge of the stage and ready to perform.
“Townshend and Daltrey look around and they’re as surprised as I am because (concert promoter Bill) Graham put me up there,” Halpin recalled in a 1996 interview with the San Francisco Examiner.
Halpin finished the set and locked his arms around the backs of Townshend and Roger Daltry to take his bows.
“It’s like one of the few times you could play royalty,” he told the Examiner.
Halpin was composer in residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and played with and composed for several bands. He also illustrated children’s books and donated artwork to various fundraising events.
Halpin died Feb. 9, and survivors include his wife and son. Friday’s memorial service will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, and a family celebration will be scheduled in Muscatine later this year, according to the Muscatine Journal.