Moby Opens Up About Addiction and the Health Consequences of Touring

By Paul Gaita 02/17/17

"The reality of touring and music is that every part of it is actually bad for your health."


Electronic music artist Moby has spoken frankly about his struggles with drug and alcohol abuse in the past, describing himself as "a sad, passed-out drunk at the bar" before gaining sobriety in the late 2000s.

In a recent interview with Mixmag, the Grammy-nominated performer and DJ, whose most recent release was 2016's These Systems Are Failing, said that his addiction issues were exacerbated by the chaos of the touring lifestyle, which he admits runs contrary to the popular perception as round-the-clock enjoyment. 

"Not to indulge in hyperbole, but the reality of touring and music is that every part of it is actually bad for your health," he said. "When you go on tour, you invariably sleep less. You're exposed to all sorts of toxins – both intentionally and unintentionally – in the form of being in an airport and being exposed to disinfectants and cleaners and really toxic chemicals. And then you find yourself drinking too much, doing too many drugs [and] eating much worse food than if you were at home. Over time, it became a little too repetitive. It stopped being exciting and I just noticed the health consequences."

Adding to the mix are what Moby described as "unjustified assumptions"—long-standing fears and anxiety which can fuel the need to alter one's perception of their current environment.

"The reason—and this is a generalization and very self-evident—but the reason people drink and do drugs is because they want to change how they feel," he explained. "And it gives people the ability to control their neurochemistry and control their physiology ... Eventually, you become addicted to controlling your environment ... which is why so many addicts, towards the end, just stay in one room. It's their way of controlling every single aspect of their environment."

As with so many others in recovery, Moby came to sobriety by reaching a breaking point. "The truth is, everyone has to bottom out," he said. Once there, it becomes a matter of re-evaluating priorities, which can be found by "coming to an understanding of yourself, the people around you, the world in which you live."

He's also keenly aware that as a veteran artist with substantial record sales and numerous albums to his credit, his words may fall on deaf ears for many new artists eager to experience the rock and roll lifestyle on their own. For them, he expresses cautious optimism. "My hope is that people have the ability to stop doing things that are harmful while they still can," he shared. "The consequences catch up very fast, and before you know it, it can be too late."

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.