Today is the 33rd birthday of Richard Melville Hall, better known as Moby,
the influential ambient musician and DJ from Darien, Conn., who made an
impression on the British pop chart in 1991 with his house music take on the
theme to the TV series "Twin Peaks."
Moby received his nickname as a child because Herman Melville, author of "Moby
Dick," is his great-great-great uncle. As a teenager, Moby played in a hardcore
Connecticut punk band, the Vatican Commandos. He also played with Ultra Vivid Scene and Flipper, while their singer was in jail.
After moving to New York City, Moby became a DJ on the acid-house and rave
scenes. His 1991 debut single, "Go," a variation on the "Twin Peaks" theme,
made the U.K. top 10. Soon Moby was asked to remix such stars as the Pet
Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and Michael Jackson. Moby attracted more attention
by breaking his keyboards at the end of his performance at the 1992 Mixmag
Moby released his eponymous debut album in 1992. His 1993 double-sided U.K.
hit, "I Feel It"/"Thousand," is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records
as the fastest single in history at 1,000 beats per minute. His 1994 single
"Hymn" was one of the first mixes of gospel, techno and ambient music. That
same year, Moby signed with major U.S. label Elektra. The U.S. press lauded
Moby's 1995 album, Everything Is Wrong, an exhilarating hybrid of
orchestral, metal, ambient and jungle music. Although Elektra pushed the album and Moby played the 1995 Lollapalooza tour, Everything Is Wrong
failed to catch on with the public.
In 1996, Moby surprised his followers by abandoning dance music and issuing
the guitar rock-based Animal Rights to mixed notices.
In addition to putting his highly personal stamp on dance music, Moby
brought along his radical Christian beliefs and environmental and vegan activism. On many of his singles, Moby had inscribed, "Animals are not for eating. Love to Jesus Christ."
Moby toured the U.S. as part of the Big Top tour in 1997. That year, he
also contributed music to The Corners of the Mouth, an album
benefiting the School of Sound project dedicated to using ambient music as a
Two other Moby projects were issued in 1997: his side project Voodoo Child's
The End of Everything and I Like to Score, a compilation of
his movie-soundtrack contributions to such films as "Scream" and "The
Moby has yet to decide on a musical style for his next album. As he recently noted, "It's nice to be able to express yourself in so many ways."
Other birthdays: Dennis Tufano (Buckinghams), 52; Mickey Hart (ex-Grateful Dead), 48;
Tommy Shaw (Styx), 45; Jon Moss (Culture Club), 41; Mick Talbot (Style
Council), 40; and Harry Connick, Jr., 31.