The Private Life and Career of Moby
Richard Melville Hall
Richard Melville Hall entered the world in New York City, in the Harlem neighborhood. His father was a chemistry professor named James Frederick Hall, and his mother was a medical secretary named Elizabeth McBride. Unfortunately, his father passed away when he was only two, and his mother raised him in Darien, Connecticut. He became known as Moby, due to an ancestral relationship with Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick. Moby also released music under other names including Schaumgummi, and Voodoo Child. Moby was the guitar player for the Vatican Commandos, a punk band popular in the 1980’s. He also played for Ultra Vivid Scene, an alternative rock bank. In 1989, Moby was in the video for Mercy Seat.
Eric Harle saw the first solo performance of Moby, and eventually became his manager. The show both impressed, and intrigued Harle, despite the numerous technical difficulties, and he called Moby’s music amazing. The first single for Instinct was released under many different names including UHF, Brainstorm, and Barracuda. Moby’s first single was rap, the vocalist was Jimmy Mack, and it failed. It was called Time’s Up, included a few remixes, and the copies sold were slim. The first single released under the name Moby was Mobility, and it was a breakthrough. The track was progressive, and included the theme from Twin Peaks. In October of 1991, it reached the top ten in the United Kingdom, and Moby appeared on the Top of the Pops for the first time. His singles came out in 1992, and 1993, and were titled Thousand, and Next Is the E. The years 1991, and 1992 saw Moby remixing Ten City, Orbital, Michael Jackson, Mind Metal, The B-52’s, Bob Taggett, Erasure, and The Prodigy. The Curse Recoil rap track was then provided by Moby.
Moby recorded a lot of sensation albums during his career. The titles, and years of release are:
1993, Ambient, Move
1994 Hymn, Feeling So Real
1995, Everytime You Touch Me, Everything Is Wrong, Disk
1996, That’s When I Reach for My Revolver, Animal Rights, Animal Rights: Live at the Splash Club
1997, The Re-Version of the James Bond Theme, I Like to Score
1999, Run On, Bodyrock, Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad, Play
2000, Natural Blues, Porcelain. Find My Baby/Honey, South Side, Powered by Yahoo! Music
2002, We Are All Made of Stars, Extreme Ways, In This World, 18
2005, Lift Me Up, Hotel
2006, Slipping Away, Hotel the Remixes
2007, The BioShock EP
2008, Disco Lives, Last Night, Last Night Remixed, Last Night Special EP
2009, Shot in the Back of the Head, Pale Horses, Wait for Me, Wait for Me – Ambient
2010, Wait for Me Remixes, iTunes Live from Montreal
2011, Be the One, Destroyed, Destroyed Bonus, Live in London – The Roundhouse, iTunes Festival: London, Destroyed, Daytrotter Session
2012, Destroyed Remixed
2013 The Perfect Life, Innocents, Amazon Artist Lounge
2014, Almost Home: Live at the Fonda, LA
2016 Are You Lost in the World Like Me, Trump Is on Your Side, Mixmag Live Volume 7, Long Ambients 1: Calm Sleep, These Systems Are Failing, The Remixes
2017, The Drum & Bass Remixes
Everything Is Wrong
Mute Records signed Moby in 1993, and Move was released. Moby then appeared on Top of the Pops for the second time. His first album, Everything is Wrong released in 1995 by Mute Records. The Underwater special bonus CD was included in the first copies in Germany, and the United Kingdom. The praise earned was critical for Moby’s career, and the album was called the Album of the Year by Spin magazine. Moby became disillusioned because he was not receiving any feedback from the music media. They were not taking his new electronic music seriously. In 1996, Moby released Animal Rights, a punk rock album, and joined the Soundgarden, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a European tour.
The single from Animal Rights titled Come on Baby brought Moby back to the Top of the Pops for the third time. Moby decided to take a different direction, and his old sound started becoming popular, and being recognized. In 1996, Moby contributed to the AIDS benefit with the song Republican Party, from the Offbeat album. Moby’s career was nearly destroyed by the album because the audiences were left cold, the music media had no interest, and fans were alienated. People started questioning who Moby was, and he was considered a has-been. I Like to Score was released in 1997, and appeared in Heat, the film by Michael Mann. In 1998, Moby made a guest appearance on Space Ghost Coast to Coast.
The Business Ventures
In 2001, Moby became involved in numerous business ventures. These were co-owned, and included the Little Idiot Collective. This was a comic store, clothing store, and animation studio in New York City. They specialized in the sales of illustrator’s collective works. Teany was another business venture, and was a small tea shop, and restaurant. Moby, and his ex-girlfriend Kelly Tisdale co-founded the business in 2002. Eventually he decided the businesses overcomplicated his life, and began the process of getting rid of them. His focus was now on his friends, political causes, music, and charitable organizations.
After Gary Gygax passed away in March of 2008, Moby joined the ranks of the celebrities playing Dungeons & Dragons, and was living in Los Angeles, California. Moby and many celebrities were featured in a video supporting Chelsea Manning in June of 2013. As a supporter of animal rights, and a vegan, Moby became an author in 2010. The book was titled Gristle: From Factory Farms to Food Safety, and was a compilation of essays from individuals involved in the food industry. Moby then established a vegan restaurant in Los Angeles called Little Pine. He runs the restaurant personally, and it opened in November of 2015.
The Religion and Spirituality
Moby identified himself as a Christian on a BBC interview in 2003. He talked about his experiences with the Gospels, and stated he read all about the teachings of Christ in 1985. This led to an instant realization in the divinity of Christ. Moby learned a lot from Christ, and his teachings, professed his love, and said it was in a subjective, naïve, and simple context. He admitted he may, or may not be correct in his beliefs, and stated he would never criticize the beliefs of any individual. During an interview with Amazon.com in 2003, Moby said his knowledge is questionable, but he loves Christ on a subjective level, and believes Christ is God. He additionally said his knowledge is predicated on the fact that he is small, and so much younger than the universe in which he lives. He admitted telling people he was right would make him uncomfortable.
Moby gave an audio interview in September of 2006 with Sojourners magazine. He spoke of having read the New Testament, with an emphasis on the gospels. Their divinity struck him, and he believes none of this could have been figured out by people without help. He simply does not believe people, including himself, are bright enough. Moby then used his own blog to discuss faith. When Moby watched Friends of God by Alexandra Pelosi in January of 2007, he made comments about the film. The film portrayed evangelicalism within the United States. Moby wrote about how the film recalled the disconnection present between the teachings of Christ, and the evangelical Christian agenda. Moby granted an interview with Mother Jones in 2014. When asked if he identifies himself as a Christian, he replied he had been led away from conventional Christianity. He also made it clear he still loves Christ’s teachings. He told Mother Jones if forced to put a label on himself, he considered himself a Taoist–Christian–agnostic quantum mechanic.
The Charitable Organizations
Moby began advocating numerous causes, and started working with MoveOn.org, the Farm Sanctuary, The Human Society, and many others. He established MoveOn Voter Fund’s Bush with the help of the Cultural Director, and singer Laura Dawn, and Eli Pariser, the Executive Director. The song Disco Lies is also a music video originating from Last Night. The video features an anti-meat industrial theme. Moby is involved with nonpartisan activism, and is a member of the Board of Directors for Amend.org. This is a nonprofit organization in Africa responsible for the implementation of programs to prevent injuries. Moby is also on the Board for IMNF, or the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. This is another nonprofit organization working to advance scientific research concerning music, and the brain. Their development of clinical treatments is designed to provide benefits for individuals of all age groups.
Moby has performed for many types of benefit concerts to raise awareness concerning music therapy, and has raised funding for the Institute. Moby received honors from the IMNF in 2004 for his work in music therapy, and his support for their program to benefit their recording studio. He received the Music Has Power Award. Moby testified before the House of Representatives regarding network neutrality, in 2006 he debated the issue in front of the committee. MobyGratis.com is a website Moby began in 2007 to benefit nonprofit film makers, film students, and independent filmmakers. Anyone requiring free music for shorts, videos, nonprofit films, or independent films could apply for a free license enabling them to use Moby music. When one of these films achieved commercial success, the revenue accrued from the commercial licensing fees would go to the Human Society. Moby participated in an album titled Songs for Tibet in 2008 to support Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama. Moby talks about his transcendental meditation experiences, and is in favor of the youths at high risk at the David Lynch Foundation using meditation. In April of 2009, the Radio City Music Hall held his benefit concert called Change Begins Within. The guests included Sheryl Crow, Ben Harper, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, Bettye LaVette, Ringo Starr, Russell Simmons, Howard Stern, Jim James, Mike Love, Donovan, Angelo Badalamenti, Paul Horn, and Eddie Vedder.
In 2015, Moby began supporting the David Lynch Foundation, and performed at the Theatre at Ace Hotel located in Los Angeles, California in April of 2015. The night was referred to as The Music of David Lynch, and raised funding for teaching transcendental meditation to 1000 of Los Angeles’s youths at risk. In addition to Moby, the performing artists included Rebekah Del Rio, Angelo Badalamenti, Steven Drozd, Julee Cruise, Zola Jesus, Chrysta Bell, Karen O, Duran Duran, Twin Peaks, Lykke Li, Donovan, Sky Ferreira, Kinny Landrum, Tennis, Rob Mathes, Wayne Coyne, and Jim James. A book of photographs was released by Moby in 2011, showcasing his international tours. The same year he released an album with the same name.