“The stuff that really delivers happiness is available to almost everybody and most of it is free or not very expensive—it’s the meaning we bring to it.”
Most know Moby as the eclectic and introspective DJ / musician behind Play — an album that sold over 12 million copies and elevated dance electronica from the clubs of lower Manhattan into a full-blown mainstream phenomenon.
Far more interesting is the story of Moby himself.
Reared in suburban poverty by a single mom, Moby was an awkward, alienated kid who turned early and often to music for comfort. Classical guitar and music theory morphed into high school punk efforts like the Vatican Commandoes and post college dropout stints DJ’ing at local Connecticut nightclubs. But traction eluded him.
So in 1989, this poor, white, skinny, Christian, vegan teetotaler pilgrimaged south to lower Manhattan, thrusting his frail, wide-eyed self into the beautiful, hedonistic, harrowing life of art, music & impoverished squalor that defined the drug-fueled dance music scene of downtown New York City in the 1990’s.
Cribbing from the flap copy of Porcelain*, Moby’s arresting, magnificent new memoir hitting bookstores next week, “[h]e would learn what it was to be spat on, to live on almost nothing. But it was perhaps the last good time for an artist to live on nothing in New York City: the age of AIDS and crack but also of a defiantly festive cultural underworld. Not without drama, he found his way. But success was not uncomplicated; it led to wretched, if in hindsight sometimes hilarious, excess and proved all too fleeting. And so by the end of the decade, Moby contemplated an end in his career and elsewhere in his life, and put that emotion into what he assumed would be his swan song, his good-bye to all that, the album that would in fact be the beginning of an astonishing new phase: the multimillion-selling Play.”
Not only was Play a multi-platinum smash success, it would soon become the soundtrack to our lives — a record that would shift culture and cement Moby as one of the most interesting and iconic musicians of our time.
Wealth and fame arrived. Obsession followed. And Moby embraced it all. Mansions, lofts and country manors. Debauchery, blowouts and binges. Whatever, whenever. Anytime, all the time. It was always too much. It was never enough.
And this is where things get really interesting.
The story of Moby is one of fidelity to authenticity. It’s about a life defined by survival, perseverance and self-belief. It’s about losing one’s self to surrender to the higher self within. It’s about discovering what is most important in life. And the beautiful trudge towards clarity, purpose, satisfaction and service.
Today we explore the remarkable life of a most extraordinary artist — a man as introspective as he is self-deprecating; and as serious as he is deadpan droll.
I absolutely love this exchange. So press Play and enjoy.
Peace + Plants,
P.S. – If you find yourself in LA, Moby’s Little Pine is a must. It’s 100% vegan. 100% organic. And 100% of all profits are donated to animal welfare organizations. It just doesn’t get any better.
Check out Julie’s new podcast divine throughline
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
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- Moby’s new book Porcelain: A Memoir* (Coming May 17th)
- Moby’s new restaurant Little Pine
- Check out Moby & The Void Pacific Choir
- Moby’s free online music resource Mobygratis.com
- Moby’s amazing photography at… yes, you guessed it: Moby Photography
- Music: Animal Rights (CD)* by Moby
- Music: Play (CD)* by Moby
Background, Context & Reference:
- TheGuardian: Moby to follow ancestor Herman Melville into print with memoir
- WashingtonPost: Moby Describes His Rise From Small Town To Stardom
- Billboard: Moby Talks ‘Porcelin’ Memoir, Announces New Compilation Album
- NY Daily News: Moby Dishes on Music Stardom, Debauchery, Finding God In ‘Porcelin’, A Whale of A Memoir
- Food&Wine: Moby On Veganism, His New Book, And His Love For Mark Bittman’s Vegan Evangelism
- Wired: Organization Moby
- NYTimes: A Castle for the King of Techno
- LATimes: Moby dishes on Little Pine, his new vegan restaurant in Silver Lake
- RollingStone: Moby on California Drought: ‘The Way We’re Living Is Stupid’
- Variety: Moby Talks Veganism, His Memoir and Music Rules at His Cozy New Silver Lake Eatery Little Pine
- Forbes: Moby Calling Upon California Governor For Water Reform
- EntertainmentWeekly: Inside David Bowie and Moby’s out-of-this-world 2002 tour
- LAMag: The 411 on Moby’s Forthcoming Vegan Concept in Silver Lake
- Upworthy: Moby is taking his love of animals to a whole other level with his restaurant
- Spin: Moby Will Give All Profits From His Vegan Restaurant to Animal Welfare Groups
- Bloomberg: Vegan DJ Moby Beefs With California Farmers Over Drought Crisis
- Book: Diet for a New America: How Your Food Choices Affect Your Health, Happiness and the Future of Life on Earth Second Edition* by John Robbins
- Angelica Kitchen is a pure vegan, 100% plant-based restaurant in New York
Notable People/Bands Discussed:
- John Joseph: punk rock signer most famous for his work with the Cro-Mags
- Robert Chambers: criminal nicknamed the “Preppie Killer”
- Morrissey: singer, songwriter and author who rose to prominence as the lyricist and vocalist of the indie rock band The Smiths
- The Stooges: proto-punk band from Ann Arbor, Michigan, first active from 1967 to 1974
- Pantera: heavy metal band from Arlington, Texas
- Sepultura: heavy metal band from Belo Horizonte
- The Bad Brains: hardcore punk band formed in 1977 in Washington, D.C.
- Minor Threat: hardcore punk band formed in 1980 in Washington, D.C.
- Lou Reed: musician, singer, and principal songwriter of the Velvet Underground
- Charlie Knoles: one of the world’s leading Vedic Meditation teachers
- Light Watkins: teacher and expert on mindfulness and meditation
- Salman Rushdie: Indian novelist and essayist
- Dave Eggers: American writer, editor, and publisher known for the best-selling memoir A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP #035: Gene Baur on Factory Farming, Ag-Gag Bills, Health & Consumer Choice
- RRP #062: David Simon on Meatonomics
- RRP #079: T. Colin Campbell on How Plant-based Nutrition Can Prevent & Reverse Disease
- RRP #080: Howard Jacobson on Rethinking The Science Of Nutrition
- RRP #091: Keegan Kuhn & Kip Andersen, filmmakers of Cowspiracy
- RRP #176: How Animal Agriculture is Destroying The Planet
- RRP #188: Dr. Gabor Maté’s Call For A Compassionate & Holistic Approach To Healing
- RRP #203: Suzy Amis Cameron’s Mission To Save The Planet — Rethinking Education, Agriculture, Health & The American Diet
- RRP #211: Russell Simmons: The Yogi Path From Hip Hop Mogul To Happy Vegan
- RRP #223: John Joseph Wants You to Wake the F*ck Up
Thanks toJason Camiolo for production and audio engineering; Chris Swan for production assistance; Shawn Patterson for his graphic wizardry; Moby for this week’s interstitial music; and Ana Leimma for theme music.
Last week we offered 10 signed copies of my friend Mishka Shubaly’s newest book entitled I Swear I’ll Make It Up To You – A Life On The Low Road*
- Angela Murphy
- Janet Ouchterlony
- jared goldman
- Jory Howell
- Lori Allen
- Mans Breimer
- Mary Rusnak
- Omar Pinto
*Disclosure:Books and products denoted with an asterisk are hyperlinked to an affiliate program. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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