Everything feels so real in Moby Doc, puppetry and re-enactments notwithstanding.
In Rob Gordon Bralver’s documentary, released digitally on Friday, the titular Feeling So Real singer made a concerted effort to put all of his cards on the table, the less flattering the better.
“When a subject is involved in the creation of a — whether it’s a memoir, an autobiography, a documentary — there’s always that assumption that, to some extent, they’re going to gloss over the things that might make them feel compromised or diminished. But because I get so vexed when other people do that, I actually feel like, to an extent… that I went in the other direction and whenever there was an opportunity to make myself look bad, I took it,” the Harlem-born multi-hyphenate, 55, told the Daily News last week.
Even when it came to foibles and mistakes, the electronic musician never glossed over the pictures he paints of himself, be it the success of 1999’s Play having “ultimately corrupted and ruined” him to the “gratuitous” description of waking up with an unknown person’s feces on him.
“That’s just me, sort of like, masochistically taking another opportunity to throw myself under the bus,” Moby, born Richard Melville Hall, said.
Many of Moby’s memories and inner thoughts are explored in the doc through re-enactments of therapy sessions to more unconventional means like puppetry.
Bralver “didn’t want this to be a puff piece. And honestly, neither did I,” Moby said, crediting Alcoholics Anonymous meetings with having helped inspire his candour.
“I was so impressed with people’s ability to tell their stories honestly,” recalled the animal rights activist. “There really was never a goal of trying to gloss over the difficult stuff, as evidenced by the fact that all the difficult stuff is included.”
Among the familiar faces in the film are the eccentric Davids — the late Bowie, Moby’s favourite musician before they struck up a friendship and performed together, and director Lynch, who lauded the Natural Blues singer for his remix of the Twin Peaks track Laura Palmer’s Theme.
The film highlights the good, the bad and the ugly of his life — from his tumultuous and financially strapped childhood to nearly giving up music — but Moby wouldn’t change anything he’s been through.
“If I could build a time machine and go back to meet myself when I was 19, the only thing I would say to myself is, ‘Well, things are going to be complicated,’” he said. “I don’t know if this is gonna sound a little bit odd or esoteric — of all the things I have in my life, the thing that is most precious to me is my perspective: regarding myself, regarding others, regarding the world, regarding music.”
Noting that one’s perspective inevitably stems from one’s collective experiences, Moby says his own “would be compromised if I had made better choices when I was growing up.
“If I had done everything flawlessly growing up, if I had never had mental illness or addiction or stupid relationships or heartbreak, terrible choices… all of those regrettable, embarrassing, terrible things are what have led me to have the perspective that I have today, that I value so much,” said Moby. “So no, even though there’s so many things I would love to change about my past, if I could change them, I don’t think that I would.”
— New York Daily News