deadmau5 Shares The Story Behind His Famous Mouse Helmet

Twenty-five years into his illustrious career, deadmau5 has shared the origin story of his iconic headgear.

Earlier this week, in an interview with SiriusXM, the legendary producer and DJ told Pitbull’s Globalization radio show host Richard Vission that the idea for his famous mouse ears began simply as an inside joke with his friends.

deadmau5—real name Joel Zimmerman—explained that early in his career, he made a 3D model of the now instantly recognizable helmet, a goofy play on his stage name, which has its own oddball origin involving an actual dead rodent found in his computer processor.

Zimmerman then sent the concept art to his friend Jay Gordon, frontman for the Los Angeles metal band Orgy, who jokingly superimposed it over an image of himself. Gordon also suggested that he wear it on stage if he were ever to perform live, and the rest is history.

“I’m like, ‘That’s stupid,'” Zimmerman recalled of the idea. “But it’s actually kind of funny. It just kind of rung in my head for years and years and years. And everybody thought it was really cool.”

“I was just like, ‘Wow, that actually kind of was a good idea,’ even though I didn’t mean it to be,” he continued. “Because no one is going to f***ing forget that.”

A quarter century later, the cartoon-like headpiece remains one of the most recognizable silhouettes in music and popular culture, appearing on merchandise, in numerous parodies, and even in a legal dispute with Disney.

Though not the first to don a mask behind the decks—duos like Altern-8 and Daft Punk had covered their faces with various costume pieces since the early ’90s—Zimmerman and his mouse head helped catalyze a movement that continues today with artists such as Marshmello, Claptone, DJ Pickle and many more.

Celebrating 25 years in the business, Zimmerman’s deadmau5 retro5pective tour will make its final stop at Red Rocks this November.

Check out the full SiriusXM interview clip with deadmau5 below.

Featured image from deadmau5.

Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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