As Christmas revelers head out for last-minute shopping in the last surge of pre-holiday capitalism, they might catch over piped music the ouvre of one Mannheim Steamroller. For all the electronic artists we might imagine as representing the genre, this guy has sold one heck of a lot of Christmas records, in a strange brew of hyper-active electrified timbres and New Age. How many records? Well, enough that he is able to, from his Omaha home, raise wolves.
Not yet fully grown, they require a full-time trainer (they now respond to commands in German), walks up to three hours long, acres of space to roam and a professional meat grinder to create their diet of sushi-grade raw salmon and whole chickens ground up with their bones.
And thus begins the tale of how Mr. Steamroller – erm, Mr. Chip Davis, in fact – lives on the fortune of his musical output, one that might be described, fairly, as a bit eccentric. Hence, the Egyptian artefacts and replica sarcophagus, and crystal balls and cape (yes, he’s worn it while producing, at least on occasion), and apparently flown-in female companionship. Even the wolves get their own iPod speaker and framed pork chop artwork. (Come to think of it, actually, I could go for a picture of some pork in my living space, so maybe I’m not so unlike the wolves. I’m, meanwhile, learning to respond to words in German.)
A must-read article in The Wall Street Journal Real Estate section. (This will be the first and last time you ever hear me say that.)
Eat your heart out, Skrillex. Here’s what a real crossover electronic artist looks like.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m suddenly craving salmon.