Editorial: Deadmau5 Ate Rolling Stone’s Cheese

With a small coterie of electronic music artists breaking through into the mainstream in the past two years, it’s interesting to observe how the media is scrambling to wrap their heads around and capitalize on the gargantuan global fan base of a few select acts. Try as they might, often times their coverage isn’t on target. In March, for example, Forbes launched a DJ column about the best DJs in the world written by an expert in “workplace trends and culture shifts.” The problem is that some of the DJs interviewed weren’t exactly the best in the world, and the questions were, well, lame.

Now Rolling Stone bellies up to the trough with their Dance Madness! (their exclamation mark, not ours) issue, featuring Joel “deadmau5” Zimmerman on the cover and interviews with Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia. In a genre where big personalities and bold opinions are rare among its artists, putting Zimmerman, a live wire who is infamous for his online rants about pop collaborations and his distaste for Ultra Music Festival, on the cover was a no-brainer for RS‘s editors.

But at what cost did Zimmerman pay for this career milestone?

Today we’re reading about how Zimmerman attacked Madonna (again) in the cover story over the silly drug innuendos she made at Ultra Music Festival.

Zimmerman told RS: “You want to be ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ and ‘funky grandma.’ Fine. It’s not my place to say you’re irrelevant. [But] if you’re gonna come into my world, at least do it with a little more dignity. I understand she has millions more fans, and is way more successful than I’ll ever be. But it’s like talking about slavery at a [bleeping] blues concert. It’s inappropriate.”

David Guetta‘s DJ sets were also in Zimmerman’s crosshairs in the article. “David Guetta has two iPods and a mixer and he just plays tracks,” Zimmerman said in the article. “Like, ‘Here’s one with Akon, check it out!’”

Zimmerman even scrutinized Skrillex’s mixing abilities: “Even Skrillex isn’t doing anything too technical. He has a laptop and a MIDI recorder, and he’s just playing his [bleep].”

“There’s… button-pushers getting paid half a million [per show],” Zimmerman said. “And not to say I’m not a button-pusher. I’m just pushing a lot more buttons.”

For someone who uses his blog to present himself as a pragmatist on the side of what’s right, was it really necessary for Zimmerman to be negative, criticize his peers and an aging pop star whose influence will go on forever? Didn’t he see that he was put on the cover because of his penchant for spewing venom, which RS seems to gleefully relish. Ask yourself why Swedish House Mafia, an equally popular global phenomenon, weren’t on the magazine’s cover. Well, could you imagine Axwell taking another DJ to task in an interview? If you know anything about Axwell, you’ll know that’s a rhetorical question.

As someone who is intimate with dance culture, Joel Zimmerman must know the ’90s rave term PLUR (Peace Love Unity Respect). He ought to practice it more often.