Cat-lover, internet troll, and Grammy-nominated producer, Deadmau5 wears many hats—if only one headpiece. Famed for his explosive, big room production, and for calling out DJs like Skrillex, David Guetta, and himself for getting paid hundreds of thousands to “just press play”, the performer is as controversial as his music is innovative. Donning the mouse head at the Pacific Coliseum on Tuesday (October 24), Deadmau5—or Joel Zimmerman to his mom—will bring his high-octane live set to the city for the first time since 2015.
MAYBE BABY. It’s common knowledge that Zimmerman had a high-profile relationship with tattoo artist and TV personality Kat Von D—and that it didn’t end well. Early questionable signs came when the DJ popped the question to Von D in a public tweet. Sending along a .jpg picture file of the ring (which, incidentally, didn’t even show the correct rock), Zimmerman nevertheless managed to convince the LA Ink star to marry him. The engagement didn’t last too long, however, when the on-again-off-again relationship collapsed due to the DJ’s alleged infidelity. According to Zimmerman, the fling happened while the couple were on one of their breaks—something Von D contested in a string of tweets that implied that Zimmerman had gotten another woman pregnant during their relationship. The DJ married his latest squeeze Kelly Fedoni in August of this year, so here’s to hoping those baby allegations weren’t true.
HOME SWEET HOME. Despite having a net worth estimated at $45 million by The Richest, Zimmerman snagged a bargain when he locked down his MTV Cribs-worthy new house last year. Spending just $5 million on the pad in Campbellville, Ontario, the DJ now owns a 14,000 square foot mansion complete with an enormous swimming pool, a home theatre (read: mini cinema), an abundance of luxury chandeliers and columns, and 118 acres of land. Designating one of the bedrooms as a home studio, Zimmerman has turned the space into something that resembles the inside of Tom Lee with its pimped out speaker systems and custom racking for his various synthesisers. It’s a good job he didn’t buy in Vancouver, where $5 million might have allowed him to purchase a small shed.
SING ME A SONG, YOU’RE THE.... Growing up in Niagara Falls, Zimmerman found himself pushed into piano lessons by his parents. That meant (presumably once he’d mastered “Chopsticks”) a massive diet of classical music, which he quickly grew to despise. Fuck Mozart and Bach—a self-described bad boy as a kid, the feature Deadmau5 was more into Skinny Puppy, Tears for Fears, Metallica and, um, Steely Dan (apparently his dad had bought into the Columbia House 21-records-for-a-penny scam, which explains the rather eclectic mix of styles). Perhaps eager to give credit where credit is due as far as his musical development goes, Deadmau5 has included classical-music samples in his work, including Frédéric Chopin’s Piano Sonata, Op. 35, No. 2 in B-flat Minor in “Moar Ghosts ‘N’ Stuff”. In interviews near the beginning of his career, he claimed that he’d lost the ability to play, that having something to do with having fried his grey matter. Evidently, however, riding a bike isn’t the only thing you never forget to do. In a 2011 Toronto Life profile, he proudly points to a Steinway Model D concert grand piano when asked by writer Sarah Liss what his most extravagant post-success purchase has been. His comment on said piano, reportedly previously manned by Harry Connick Jr.? That would be an eloquently put “Fuckin’ rad.”
DOUBLE-DOUBLE TROUBLE. Sometimes pop music makes for strange bedfellows. Think Snoop Dogg hanging on the tour bus with vintage country icon Willie Nelson. Or Bon Iver hitting blunts with Rick Ross. Or Coldplay’s Chris Martin picking up the Ace of Spades tab when clubbing with his pal Jay Z. One of Deadmau5’s closest music biz pals is pop-metal legend Tommy Lee, famous for both the size of his dong and for his work with Hollywood bad boys Mötley Crüe. The two met back when Zimmerman was still very much underground and Lee—dabbling in rap and electronica with his Methods of Mayhem project—was presumably looking to change musical gears. Some of the young Torontonian’s work ended up included on Methods of Mayhem. Lee obviously left an impression, with Deadmau5 commenting “I’ve had a taste of the rock star lifestyle hanging out with Tommy Lee. I could get used to it.” Fast forward a few years, and both have indeed been living life like rock stars, sometimes together. In his ongoing YouTube show called Coffee Run, Zimmerman had Lee jump into the passenger seat of his Mustang back in 2013. As the two drove to, um, a Tim Horton’s (it takes place in Ontario-what the hell else did you expect?), they reminisced about some of their adventures, including an ill-fated guest appearance together at Coachella. Apparently landing a helicopter unannounced in the middle of a major music festival and detonating a van is seen as a major breach of etiquette. Either that or one of the two of them banged some promoter named Toilette’s girlfriend. Ahh, bro-mance.
MASKED AND ANONYMOUS. At the risk of irresponsibly spreading unfounded rumours, we’re going to go ahead and declare that Joel Zimmerman is not only Deadmau5, but also Marshmello. If true, it’s a totally brilliant move, allowing Zimmerman to be booked twice for lucrative EDM festivals and take home double the money. Let’s look at the facts: both acts are masked, globe-trotting DJs/producers whose music is stylistically similar. Marshmello has explained that last point by acknowledging Deadmau5 as an “influence”. Uh huh. In what seems like a classic act of misdirection, Zimmerman has publicly dissed Marshmello and accused him of “dick riding” in a Rolling Stone interview. Marshmello dropped a major hint in his video for “Alone”, which opens with him waking up in the morning and feeding his pet mouse, who just happens to be named Joel. Some say Marshmello is actually American DJ Christian “Dotcom” Comstock, and then there was that stunt at last year’s Electric Daisy Carnival at which “Marshmello” took to the stage and removed his signature mask to reveal Tiësto under it. None of that is fooling anyone, Deadmau5! We know it’s you. Maybe. Or, uh, probably not. But the idea amuses us, so we’re running with it.More