Last week I posted an entry where I touched on the origins of Mannheim Steamroller. Since then, I have to say I'm amazed and touched by the kind words and feedback I've received.
As I sit here at my home in Omaha and watch the winter-like weather outside while sipping from my mug of (Mannheim Steamroller Cinnamon) hot chocolate, I actually found myself lost in the moment.
In 1984, I released a holiday album featuring modern contemporary interpretations of Christmas favorites. I really always had an appreciation of the music of the Renaissance, and also Christmas songs that came from that period so I remember thinking, why not put them together and create something completely different?
As it turns out "that something" was "Mannheim Steamroller Christmas," and it has now gone platinum six times over.
It's funny... many record labels initially tried to talk me out of doing a Christmas album. They all said it's only something people do when they run out of new ideas. For an artist, they said it represented a decline in their careers or a sign they had given up. Yet for me it was just the opposite, and I was just getting started.
I've also had a lot of people ask the origin of the name Mannheim Steamroller. Well, it actually comes from Mannheim, Germany. That's where Mozart and composer/music theorist Joseph Stamitz both lived. Stamitz came up with the idea of the crescendo: music building and getting louder in order to excite the audience.
The 18th century musical phrase 'Mannheim Valse' literally meant, 'roller,' and people used to joke that the loud music would roll over the crowd and flatten them. When it was time to start selling my band, I had to come up with a name to market. At the time the big rock groups had interesting names like Jefferson Airplane or Iron Butterfly. So I came up with the name Mannheim Steamroller and the rest, as they say, is history.