We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Moore and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, how does your business help the community?
The purpose of The Music Ministry is to be of service. The mission is to create a community of forward thinking artists that are journeying down the path of personal growth. The music and entertainment industries are well known for creating addictions that aren’t ever the intention of the entertainer. NO ONE wants to lose that spark of creative energy to drugs and alcohol, yet it has been glorified and glamorized for so many decades. Our intention is to have many conversations that will help people everywhere understand how to get involved with their own personal healing. The beginning of the dialogue.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
It’s been a wild ride that has almost killed me multiple times. The music industry will look at you, chew you up, spit you out, and make you beg for validity of your worth as an artist. My start in music was when I was 5. I have been drumming and singing all of my life. I always knew I wanted to drum. I have to mention that it was the support and love of my parents that allowed me to even get the opportunity to try. They always had my back, and still do to this day, even after losing everything in life at multiple times in life. I’m not sure how they didn’t disown me after some of the crazy stunts I’ve tried to pull off in life. The DJ career started in 2007. I had always had the nickname “Spanky” as I was the short chubby kid that resembled the character of the same name from “The Little Rascals” series. I took on a twist to the name and called myself Dj Spankalicious. I dropped the Dj early on. In 2010, miraculously, I was voted as “The Best Dj in St. Louis” by The Riverfront Times readers poll. Aka: the beginning of an outrageous ego. I couldn’t believe how seemingly easy it was to “accomplish”, or so I thought. Next thing I knew, I was opening up for Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, Excision, Caspa, Eoto, the list goes on and on. I became a Midwest name, and wanted to take it as far as I could. In 2014 I founded ThazDope Records with a team of people that believed in me. I ended up working 16 hour days to put the label on as much as I could. Creating stages at major festival where I would curate music of completely unknown artists that I felt had amazing, untapped talent. As it turns out, completely unknown artists aren’t necessarily good for business in an industry that thrives on ticket sales. I felt like my name and reputation was “big enough” to bring people in under my wings to show them the ropes of the industry and help them get the exposure in a way that I didn’t. It seemed like it was amazing. We certainly had a lot of fun. It’s amazing how many people will love you when you appear to have clout that can do something for others. But it’s also just as eye opening to see how it can all crumble when taking on too many unknowns that are all dependent on your guidance as the foundation of their careers. Without a doubt, I had unintentionally spread myself too thin. In September of 2016 I was rear ended which caused me to cancel at least 100 shows that were planned for 2017. I pivoted my mindset and came up with the “Wake the Nation Tour” concept. This tour consisted of 24 djs from all over the country and would take them on a 14 city tour from Florida to California, ending at The Untz Festival. In my mind, this was the answer to prevent the hurt and pain I felt from my 2013 experience/expectations of that tour by The Untz. In all reality, I was lost. The investor of the label had pulled out, and I was finding myself living the most dangerous life just to try and fund the delusion. I thought that I could be the savior of the largest shit show that was this tour for exposure, that failed. I put myself in some really stressful and life threatening situations due to the insurmountable debt i had taken on. I was attacked at two separate shows. The second attack ended up with me needing to get an emergency facial reconstruction on my face after have my ocular and cheek bones shattered. But get this, that didn’t stop me from trying to do the tour the next year. Why? I’ll never know. I just didn’t want to give up or be seen as a failure I suppose. I had put over a decade of my life into what I thought was the “building of a community”, when the reality was, I hadn’t learned to let go and to accept the failure. At the end of the next tour, I had exhausted all funds, spending my last rent and bill money trying to save the tour. There were two shows that the promoters completely screwed us out of the performance fees, which caused many of the artists to have to step up financially to help finish the tour. At the end of the tour, it was obvious I was done when I found myself stranded on the west coast, as well as multiple artists that also ended up stranded in California because I had not yet purchased their return flights home, and couldn’t because I was tapped. A few days later, the internet lit me on fire, and let me know I was no longer welcome. When I finally made it home to Cincinnati, where I had a home with my daughter, I was forced to move out and put my personal possessions into storage as I couldn’t pay the rent. This was June of 2018. It’s January of 2021 during the time of this interview, and I still haven’t been able to make my way back to the city where my daughter lives. The shame, darkness, and shattering of my reality has been very difficult to live through. I’m not sure people have thought about what losses I incurred outside of monetary. By the grace of God and true friendship, I had a friend named Jerry Cannon that was living in Colorado. I had ended up out there to try and get my mind right, but the person that helped me kicked me out when I couldn’t pay rent. Jerry gave me the time to get on my feet, get a good job, and help me start down the long road of recovery and healing. I’m sure at this point you can all understand the lessons I learned from the pain endured and from the guilt I felt from failing so many people whose music I really cared about. What I want people to know about my story is that, I didn’t give up. I took the time to dive deep into personal growth and development. I became a vegetarian, and then shortly after full on vegan. As a diabetic, these changes to my diet have save my life, and helped me drop my weight from 235 lbs to 185 lbs. The five main objectives that I must complete each day now, regardless of schedule and responsibilities are as follows: 1. Yoga with Kassandra (Youtube) – 10 mins 2. 6 phase meditation – 20 mins 3. Write in a journal, pen to paper on a page. I have a daytime journal as well as a separate night time journal. Writing out my thoughts in the morning helps clear my mind, and generates a plan. At night, I like to recap the day, and make a general outline of what I would like to achieve the next day. 4. Walk 5 miles OR bike heavily for 20 mins. 5. Read 20 pages from an actual book (not on a screen, an actual hardback or paper back). In 2020 I read 27 books. I had never done that in my life. Now I find myself wanting to learn more than I ever have before. I try to complete these 5 daily goals within a two hour window, all in the mornings. This is my routine. The effects both physically and mentally have been the greatest gifts to receive. Keep in mind, with the space and time between my daughter, it’s been amazing to be able to achieve focus and forward momentum. There is always that guilt and failure that I feel resonating at times, It’s hard being a single father that doesn’t live in the same city as your kid. It’s nothing that I ever wanted, but it serves as a daily reminder that karma is real. I know that I can’t allow myself to take those same backward steps ever again. It’s been almost 4 years since I have indulged in any hard drugs or alcohol. The moral of the story is: Life can be painful, but every single one of us has the capacity to learn and grow from our bad experiences. We aren’t taught in school how to be good people. I would say we aren’t really taught in school beyond basic comprehensive skills. We get taught that money is power and that we will never have enough money to have power. So, we settle for a life that we can accept as stable, while we waste our lives away on the weekends drowning in regret. There are too many of us suffering in 2021. All races. All over the world. Therefore, I feel that if ANYONE dealing with addiction can hear my story, hopefully they can attain a small sense of knowing that they can also change and become a better person. We are all always learning and growing.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
1. Watercourse foods – Favorite Restaurant They have really gone above and beyond to create amazingly tasty vegan alternatives to many of the dishes vegans end up sacrificing within their diet. 10 out of 10 (even if you aren’t vegan). 2 Akihabara Arcade and Bar – Just go. It’s a blast! 3. The Black Box – The Hub of Underground Bass music in it’s own right. 4. Red Rocks Amphitheater for a live show, and also when no shows are happening just to be able to stand on the stage and look up. I always enjoy this. It’s always been a dream to play there, and even though that most likely won’t happen for me, I still like to dream. : 5. Boulder Day 6. Idaho Springs Day 7. The Wizards Chest in Denver is one of the coolest experiences when you are completely broke but just want to be immersed in child like wonder and fantasyland. So much to experience in that place. 8. Tattered Cover Bookstore on Colfax. A Prime stop for book and game lovers. 9. Voodoo Donuts but only between the hours of 2:00 am and 4:00 am when they sell the 5 gallon buckets of day old donuts for 12 dollars. I used to go there after Black Box shows and get a few buckets to surprise my students at the School of Rock. Which IS ALWAYS A HIT! 10. A day on the public transportation system all over the city. I had to travel from Thornton to Lakewood daily to work via 4 busses and 2 trains, taking 4 to 5 hours each day. I have a huge respect for that time as it drove me to get off the bus and moving forward. It also allowed me to experience the massive difference in social economics in Downtown Denver. It always felt wild being surrounded by such rich architecture where the wealthy class live in their high rise apartments, and in the same exact zone on the ground level to also be surrounded by the infestation of addiction and homelessness. It’s a trip when you go to use the restroom at Whole Foods just to walk in on someone nodded out with a needle in their arm, covered in vomit. Call me crazy, but it gave me a greater perspective on what is truly important in my life by seeing just how far people will go to numb themselves from the pain and heartbreak they are suffering from. It’s sad, no doubt. But it helped me gain perspective I wouldn’t have attained otherwise. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have two. My good friend Matt Madonna whom produces under the name “POCKITZ” and also for a new power group from the West Coast Calle “Red Giant Project” that features Burkey of “Vokab Kompany”, and Karl Denson (Lenny Kravitz, The Greyboy Allstars, Karl Densons Tiny Universe). I was blessed to tour with Matt back in 2014 when he was half of a group called “Love and Light”. He was there the night my girlfriend of 5 years broke up with me over the phone (on Valentine’s Day). He saw me at all of my lowest points. In 2018, after falling down and losing myself to the life of a non stop music man engaged in the lifestyle of addiction and wanna be fame, Matt shared “The 6 Phase Meditation” by Vishen Lahkiani. This 20 minute excercise helped me reprogram my purpose and discover who I was outside of a club/festival dj. It’s the reason I’m alive today. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to repay him for his friendship, guidance, and steady hand in my mental, physical, and spiritual growth. He is the only one like him that I know here in this simulation. The other person is my long time friend Ryan Plunkett. We had a music project called “Beat Machine” back in 2013 that was awarded 6 major festival plays that summer from “The Untz Challege”. We both wanted it so bad, but the reality is that there was no money coming in from the project, and we had no business being out on the road at that point in time. The true purpose of that contest at that point was to get more emails for the blog mailing list. Genius move on their part. But for us, the frustration, pain, and aftermath from trying to go out on a tour for exposure had crushed us. There was no way to know what was next, and that tour ended up killing our friendship for literally years. Animosity built over time, but I always knew Ryan was like a younger brother to me. The reunification of our friendship and brotherhood was a direct result to me being displaced from Colorado back to my home state of Missouri after COVID-19 caused me to lose my job as the General Manager at the School of Rock in Golden, CO. Which has honestly been a wonderful blessing. We started making music again last summer. I knew that I needed to do my part to repair this relationship (as I hope to be able to do with others as well). As I write this now, he is my partner in The Music Ministry, serving as the co-host of our new podcast “The Music Ministry Podcast”, and also releasing a slew of collaborative tracks with me as well as a full slate of his own solo productions. He produces and releases music under the name “Moon Man”. These days, Ryan and I talk everyday. His friendship has really been a driving factor in the reigniting of my life spark. I wouldn’t be having this interview with you right now if it wasn’t for BOTH of the amazing humans.
All of these pictures were taken with my iPhone minus the School of Rock photo which was shot by “Photography by Alejandro”