Singer Moby says his job now is animal rights, not music


Photo: AFP

Moby (pic) is touring Europe for the first time in more than a decade and donating all the proceeds from his concerts to animal rights, which he says has become his real job.

There is no doubting the electro star's commitment -- the words "ANIMAL" and "RIGHTS" are tattooed in huge letters up his arms and "Vegan for Life" on the side of his neck.

"I've been vegan for 37 years," he told AFP. "Working on behalf of animal rights is my life's purpose.

"I don't think of music as my job any more. Music has become a joyful, calm refuge."

Moby, real name Richard Melville Hall, made an era-defining record 25 years ago in Play and has sold more than 20 million records worldwide.

Now 58, he is returning to Europe for seven dates, with the money divided between eight or nine animal rights and climate organisations. The names are due to be announced in the coming weeks.

Moby says he is dedicated to playing the hits -- mostly from Play and 18.

"It's what the audience is paying to hear. When I go see my favourite bands, it's very sad when they don't play the songs I know and love. It seems selfish to me," he said.

He takes issue with Radiohead, who famously refuse to play its biggest hit, Creep.

"That's a great song. People like it. If you can make someone happy, why not play it?"

That attitude comes from clear memories of his scrappy start in punk bands around New York.

"I remember one show in a Chinese restaurant and there were four people in the band and two people in the audience... I never expected to have music that people knew or liked."

Most of his time these days is spent lobbying politicians on behalf of animals.

There are many well-intentioned people in the current government in Washington, he said, but in an election year they are terrified of doing anything that can help Donald Trump win.

"Donald Trump is a true sociopath. He famously hates animals. His ex-wife says she brought home a dog and he threatened to kill it.

"He hates animals because they can't do anything for him," he said.

Moby dates his veganism back to his troubled childhood -- his father's drink-driving death, being sexually abused as a young child, his shame at growing up poor.

"I learned from an early age not to trust humans, whereas animals were very predictable," he said.

There was a time when he would get even more directly involved, visiting animals as they were being taken to the slaughterhouse -- "bearing witness", offering moments of kindness before their deaths.

He says the meat companies got round them by shifting their animal deliveries to the middle of the night.

"Very few people are willing to get up at 2.30am to drive across town and be one of three people standing in the freezing cold. They won that round."

Now he tries to approach his activism "in a very strategic way".

"It involves working in politics, philanthropy, venture capital for young vegan companies, media," he said.

"I try to identify all the things that are moving the needle away from the status quo and figure out how I can help them." – AFP

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