Moby aka Richard Melville Hall is a chart topping artist who has sold more than 20 million albums and served as an acitivist championing animal rights. So, what is there left to do? Produce an introspecitive journey examining a traumatic childhood that has shaped the man he’s so profoundly become in snumerous ways. Moby Doc is a surrealist biographical documentary narrated by the artist himself featuring interviews with David Lynch and David Bowie, plus, extraordinary concert footage, utilizing a unique blend of re-enactments and archival footage.
Not a huge fan of techno, but a fan of music, I was curious about how and why this artist became a worldwide phenomenon and what happened to him? It goes without saying that fame is a drug like no other. It’s an addiction that has proven fatal over the decades as artists are expected to repeatedly prove their signficance in an industry that easily discards as yesterdays news. Born in Harlem, Moby’s troubled childhood could’ve easily made him one more ‘senstive’ ‘complicated’ artist whose sound would have become legendary at his passing. Instead this artist chose life, reinvented his sound using choirs and symphonies in order to reach a whole new set of fans.
This doc is a severe departure from the recent barrage of musician docs, which have provided more of a behind the scenes vantage point. After all, artists like Billie Eilish, P!nk, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga still have brands to protect with their labels looming as gatekeepers, while providing a very formulaic structure spotlighting tour rehearsals, some personal tragedy or physical ailment that culminates in a very entertaining concert at the end. Needless to say Moby does all that and more with a little more edge and realism as only he can convey using sharpie cartoons, fuzzy puppet mice and stickers. Oh, and that dark side? Yup, we get to see all that too. Worldwide fame gave him an excuse to indulge in demons resulitng in missing his mother’s funeral because he was passed out drunk or contemplating suicide in a luxury high-rise hotel while waiting to be honored by MTV. The honesty in exploring these darkest of times resulted with getting sober in 2008 allowing him to make animal rights activism his primary passion.
Although we do kind get a very hippie dippy concert at the end, there’s also a ton of music infused including an acoustic version of ‘Porcelain’ and a spirited performance of ‘Natural Blues’ complete with a full orchestra and gospel choir. Despite it all, this is one artist who’s come out on the other side of despair, depression and the overwhelming desire to relive the glory days with a renewed spirit and rejuvenated thirst for life and all it has to offer.