Over Mannheim Steamroller's long career, we've been called everything from a "holiday staple" to the "sounds of Santa." It's a distinction we don't take lightly as the holiday season has always been one of my favorite times of the year.
As we approach this Christmas, I'm incredibly thankful for a number of reasons, but one of the most important things is the continued support we've received from our extremely loyal fans. We could not do this without you and every time we are on stage performing and see sold-out crowd after sold-out crowd it just gives us all a feeling I can't even begin to express.
This has been a great year for Mannheim Steamroller! In addition to our amazing tour, our third consecutive appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the NBC broadcast of Pandora's Holiday Moments On Ice, we also opened our first ever Las Vegas show. When I launched Mannheim Steamroller, I never imagined we'd reach this success.
I always say this whole thing was a happy accident. My first album wasn't even a Christmas album. It was called Fresh Aire and while it was well liked by the big record companies, they all turned us down because they couldn't figure out how to market an instrumental group that combined Renaissance instruments with rock beats. There was no nice, neat music category for my new sound. So I had to start my own independent record label to get the album recorded.
We got the idea of sending our album to a national consumer electronics show where there were hi-fi distributors from all over. They used it as a demonstration album because of its quality. Their customers would ask, 'What are you playing?' People would buy the stereo -- and our album along with it. Mannheim Steamroller has sold 40 million albums since then.
People often asked me why it has been so popular and personally I think it's because people want something familiar around the holidays. At Christmas time especially, people want to listen to something that's been with them all their lives, and for over 25 years, that's been us. It's soothing to hear something from your childhood -- kind of like comfort food.
No matter what it is though, I say thank you. Thank you for letting us be a part of your traditions and thank you for joining us ever year on tour. You are all truly the best Christmas gift I could ever ask for.