By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
But what about the fans? "I'm sure someone who likes the dance records I made and then buys the one that's more punk-rock-oriented -- well, it makes me sad when they dismiss it just because it's a punk-rock record. But if they listened to it and said, 'You know what, I just don't like it,' if they're open-minded and still don't like it, that's their prerogative. Culture is democratic."
A quiet chuckle follows, but no money-back guarantee.
MOBY'S BRAND-NEW PLAY, PERHAPS HIS best album yet, is a democratic helping of three distinct styles, boasting dreamy instrumentals, a return to Everything Is Wrongflavored ditties, and six songs incorporating black American voices recorded by folk-music historian Alan Lomax. "I found these old blues vocals which had been recorded in the '20s, '30s and '40s, and fell in love with them," he says. "I loved their emotional, sonic and lyrical quality. They were a cappella, so I sampled and wrote songs around them."
"Honey," the album's first single, is a blues-soaked shred of b-boy bravado. And another ditty from the blues batch, "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad," brings "tearjerker" to mind. While talking about these songs, whose vocalists are either long buried or long lost, a prankish spark lights in my eyes. Moby catches it. I inquire whether he'd be amused if someone bribed a bluesy-sounding elderly man to call and introduce himself as the crooner of, say, "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad." Heck, anyone from Mississippi would do . . .
"I'm gonna kick your ass," he snarls -- "pacifist" is one of Moby's other well-known labels. But before I can challenge that with at least an arm wrestle, he insists we cease and desist.
"A part of me is envious of people who can define themselves strictly and conveniently," he sighs, "but for myself, I just can't. My sense of identity is there, but it's sort of nebulous."
In the distance, I can hear a label machine punching that one out.