Moby’s new memoir, Then It Fell Apart, is loaded with revelations about his peak-fame days surrounding the release of 1999’s Play. Amidst this era of living the life of a debaucherous mega-celebrity, there were tales that range from fascinating (like his friendship with David Bowie) to the disturbing (like that time he essentially sexually assaulted Donald Trump on a drunken dare). The latest detail to make headlines, however, falls somewhere in between.
It turns out that amongst his many sexual and romantic conquests during the early-mid-aughts, Moby found himself courting a pre-fame Lana Del Rey. Of course, back before she was packaged and sold to us as a smokey dream-pop star, she was the platinum blonde pop-wannabe Lizzy Grant. That’s when Moby met her at a New York City bar at 3:00 a.m. back in 2006.
At the time, Moby was 20 years LDR’s senior, and she had just turned 21 (assuming, of course, their meeting occurred after her June birthday — otherwise, what was she doing in that bar?). Describing her as a “beautiful elf,” Moby recalls kissing “Lizzie” (one of numerous misspellings in the memoir) as the bar closed and inviting her back to his place. “She’d smiled and said no, she wouldn’t go home with me after just meeting me, but she would happily go on a date if I called her and asked her out,” he writes.
That date ended up occurring at Moby’s new Central Park West apartment, where he proudly showed off his five balcony apartment. During dinner, Del Rey revealed her musical aspirations, and Moby asked her to play him a song. When she asked if he had a piano, he directed her to the second floor, at which point this choice interaction took place:
“Floors in an apartment.” She shook her head. “Moby you know you’re the man.”
“Ha, thanks,” I said.
“No, not like that. You’re a rich WASP from Connecticut and you live in a five-level penthouse. You’re ‘The Man.’ As in, ‘stick it to The Man.’ As in the person they guillotine in the revolution.”
Unsure if he’d just been insulted, he took it as a compliment and explained he actually grew up on welfare. Still, he led her to his piano and was impressed with her “haunting” song and “dark but strong” voice. Moby asked if she planned on making music under the name Lizzie Grant, to which she responded “I don’t know. When you say it like that it sounds kind of plain.”
Could this be where the seeds of Lana Del Rey were planted? Regardless, the night didn’t end as Moby intended. The memoir continues,
“I think it’s a nice name.” I sat next to her on the piano bench and started kissing her. She kissed me back — but then stopped.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I like you. But I hear you do this with a lot of people.”
I wanted to lie, to tell her that I didn’t, that I was chaste, sane, and ethical. But I said nothing.
“I’d like to see you again,” she said.
I walked her downstairs to the twenty-ninth floor and kissed her good night at the bank of the elevators. This wasn’t how I imagined the night ending. I’d assumed that we would end up christening my new apartment with vodka and sex. But to my surprise, this was almost nicer.
(Buy: Moby’s Then It Fell Apart)
That seemed to be the end of their romantic story, as Moby clearly wasn’t ready to give up his partying ways just yet. Later on in Then It Fell Apart, Moby confirms Grant was indeed LDR when he reveals she sang backup for his side-project Little Death: “Lizzie Grant, whom I’d tried dating a couple of years ago, was one of our original backup singers, but she left the group to pursue her own career as Lana Del Rey.”
There’s even proof of Grant opening for Little Death at NYC’s Mercury Lounge two years after she and Moby met (via Stereogum):
Lizzy Grant performing at Mercury Lounge, Manhattan, NY.
20 September 2008. pic.twitter.com/dEcPtTPOho
— Lana Del Rey Motel (@lanadelreymotel) May 29, 2016
In the end, this budding relationship became no more than a strange possible alternate history in the annals of New York City music history. There are plenty of other gossipy stories you can read about in Then It Fell Apart, which is out now from Faber & Faber. Buy your copy here.