Moby will perform an acoustic concert at the Ridgefield Playhouse Dec. 8 at 8 p.m. to benefit the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, featuring his own music, new songs, and covers of classics by Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash, and Neil Young. He will share the stage with singers Mindy Jones and Julie Mintz and violinist Claudia Chopek. A guitar signed by Moby will be available during a silent auction at the concert. Andrea Valluzzo spoke with him about the show.
Andrea Valluzzo: How did you get involved with this benefit?
Moby: I grew up in Connecticut and started going to the Aldrich when I very young, maybe 4 or 5. I always found the Aldrich to be this really fascinating beacon of progressive creativity. Over the years, I’ve kept going back there and I’ve just been increasingly impressed with the way they approach their curatorial mission and the general ethos of the museum.
AV: Do you have a favorite Aldrich memory?
Moby: One of my oldest friends, Damian Loeb, is a painter and we grew up together. He had his first serious career retrospective at the Aldrich in 2006. It really just felt like a bunch of different narrative threads from my life coming together. That felt like a really special moment.
AV: Why is this benefit important?
Moby: To be honest, if the benefit had been scheduled before the midterms, there’s no way I would have been able to do it because my focus in terms of playing fund-raisers before the midterms was trying to get a good result in the midterms. Now that the midterms have happened, the results were quite good so now I can sort of focus on some other philanthropic interests. I’m not really that interested in a museum that is not dynamically involved with the community and doesn’t address important ideas. If it’s just a space for old art, I’m glad it would exist but that’s not the sort of thing that would inspire me. Whereas, the Aldrich … Richard [Klein], the curator, has such a dynamic vision for what they do so it’s not just pretty pictures, it’s really social engagement and the advancement of a very progressive ethos.
AV: What can the audience expect?
Moby: The show is an acoustic show so it’s quite intimate and stripped down with me, a few different singers and some string players. I’ll be playing guitar and piano, doing acoustic versions of some of my own songs and also some cover versions of songs that were important to me when I was growing up in Connecticut, everybody from David Bowie to Lou Reed.
AV: What else are you doing? Planning a tour?
Moby: I hate touring. The only live shows I do tend to be fund-raisers. I really don’t ever want to do a normal conventional tour again as long as I live. I run a non-profit restaurant in Los Angeles called Little Pine; any profits generated go to animal rights organizations. I mainly focus on charitable and philanthropic work. I’m putting out another memoir next year and a couple new albums next year, working on some documentary projects, but doing everything in my power to not have to tour in a normal conventional middle-age guy way.
AV: Are you excited to be coming to Connecticut?
Moby: It’s just so interesting for me to go back to that part of the world. I lived all over Connecticut and spent a lot of time driving up Route 7 to visit my aunts and uncles who live in Newtown and Cornwall Bridge. It’s a part of the world that obviously I have really a longstanding connection with so it’s always interesting to go back.