Deadmau5 Versus Ultra: Four Things That'll Probably Piss Off Joel Zimmerman at UMF 2013
He's admittedly "more tech than Mozart or whatever the hell," and he has "never really felt like a musician."
Yet Joel Zimmerman -- the chart-topping, 32-year-old computer geek otherwise known as Deadmau5 -- will still be co-headlining two consecutive weekends of Ultra Music Festival, one of the world's most massive electronic dance music events.
And he's doing so after publicly and repeatedly (albeit figuratively) defecating on the very group paying his appearance fee.
"Ultra to me is the definition of insanity," Zimmerman memorably scoffed during a YouTube tirade in 2011. "I hate these fucking festival things."
The Mau5 even launched another rant against UMF just last month. "Ultra is the same thing every fucking year," he bitched in an interview with Vibe, wondering: "When is it going to be played out?"
Now forget for a moment that the boys from Swedish House Mafia are ending their five-year run as a collective at Ultra 2013. Or that festival executive producer Adam Russakoff told Billboard that organizers are earnestly "bringing people in for the EDM they know and love, but exposing them to new sounds and music" by booking acts like reggae artist Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) and rapper Azealia Banks. Because Deadmau5 is bat-shit crazy, and the potential for an electro superstar train wreck is far too serious to ignore.
From flipping out about the color of his socks to accidentally bumping into Kanye West on South Beach, anything can (and almost certainly will) piss Zimmerman off.
Freak-Out Odds: Slim
For a man who spends the better part of his days behind a computer screen or underneath a Mau5 mask, gratifying social interaction often consists of little more than berating concert promoters on the Internet or treating Ustream like a personal diary.
"I have absolutely no social skills whatsoever," Zimmerman told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation last year, admitting he almost always prefers "socializing" online rather than in person.
"If I'm out at a party and I'm having fun and it's a big day-long event," he said. "Sure, I'll hang out or this and that. But I've always got my phone, saying, 'Hey, I'm at this party.'"
Of course, you'll recall that Zimmerman proposed to his girlfriend, tattoo artist Kat Von D, via Twitter:
-- deadmau5 (@deadmau5) December 16, 2012
But that's normal behavior for an introvert.
In Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking, author Susan Cain writes that introverts are more likely to "express intimate facts about themselves" on the Web than they are face-to-face.
However, that isn't to say that an introvert like Deadmau5 is going to freak when he bumps into fans or colleagues while he's in Miami.
A chance encounter with a certain Chicago rapper, however, may trigger the type of good ole fashioned Joel Zimmerman outburst we've come to know and love over the years.
Freak-Out Odds: High
"I like fucking hip-hop and the hands-on technological stuff," Deadmau5 said in an interview with Vibe last month, explaining how a collaboration between he and Cypress Hill manifested.
But Zimmerman isn't as eager to work with Yeezy, as he was to partner with B-Real. When asked what rapper he'd want to work with on a new production, Deadmau5 said, "anyone other than fucking Kanye."
He added, "I fucking hate him. He's just trying too hard. But the problem is he's succeeding at it. It's like, 'Oh, I'm so hate-able.' And everyone is like, 'Yeah, I hate him.' Ah fuck, he wins!"
While we've no reason to suspect West will be in town during Ultra, it's not unlikely to spot he and Mrs. Kris Humphries, Kim Kardashian, hand-in-hand at a Heat game or dressed up like superheroes at LIV.
Batman vs. Deadmau5? Let's just hope the latter has on the correct pair of socks.
Socks, Fanta, and Cheap Bodywash
Freak-Out Odds: Very High
An artist knows that they've "made it" once promoters start bending over backwards to track down five-foot inflatable animals, "three fresh limes (and a knife to cut them)," enough Redbull to trigger cardiac arrest, and a "bag of cheese strings" because contractual obligations dictates as much.
From "one pair of white socks and one pair of black socks for size nine" to "good quality men's shower gel" and "four cans or bottles of a carbonated orange drink, preferably 'Fanta,'" Deadmau5's exhaustive concert rider is extraordinarily thorough.
Any discrepancies on the festival's part, "no matter how seemingly small minor or insignificant," should be addressed immediately in an effort to avoid an artist meltdown.
Of course, that's if Zimmerman's actually on the bill.
Freak-Out Odds: Certain
The Ultra/Deadmau5 dynamic is only a touch more stable than Rihanna's relationship with Chris Brown. It's rocky and inexplicably still existent, passionate, nonetheless highly volatile.
But just 15 months after cursing his industry's biggest music festival, Deadmau5 is back on the Ultra main stage. Or is he?
Last year, Internet trolls created a fake website for the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and swindled Zimmerman into believing that he'd been added to the bills as headliner before realizing he'd been trolled.
"Did you guys troll me?" he asked fans. "You guys did troll me, this is a fake site! I'm not on the lineup."
While we're 98 percent sure that Ultra's lineup is authentic, the thought of festival organizers Russell Faibisch and Adam Russakoff trolling Zimmerman as payback for last year's unnecessary diatribe has wishfully crossed our mind.
And it's not because we're not excited to see Deadmau5 perform at Ultra. Nor do we want him to feel humiliated. Rather, we'd simply like to see Zimmerman humbled by something....
OK, and everyone loves a train wreck.
Ultra Music Festival 2013. With Deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia. Friday, March 16, to Sunday, March 17, and Friday, March 22, to Sunday, March 24. Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Visit ultramusicfestival.com.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.