I was driving home from work last week and cut in on an interview on NPR about the World Championships for Air Guitar.What?? REALLY?? NPR and Air Guitar in the same sentence? Well, rock my world! The dude that was being interviewed(didn't catch his name b/c I was still in shock over the fact that NPR was doing a story about AIR GUITAR) was apparently some big-wig of air guitaring and was going on and on about how it was an art form-yada,yada,yada! Note to self: check this out on the internet when you have absolutely nothing else to do! Well, my friends, that happened early this morning! It is flaberghasting what a person can encounter on the Information Super Highway, if you have a few moments to spare!
Here's what I found out. Both Wikipedia and Uncyclopedia have extensive entries for air guitar. I found 3,760,000 results on a Google search! There are air guitar Tshirts for sale, an official air guitar magazine, blogs on both MySpace and Facebook, Rolling Stone Magazine is considering a full-length feature all about air guitar, there's a movie called Air Guitar Nation, there are books and dvds teaching the finer points of air guitaring, there's Air Guitar- The Musical, there's a toy inspired by air guitar called Guitar Hero Air Guitar Rocker, someone's doing their doctoral thesis on air guitar-specifically why more women don't do it! Some brilliant soul even has an air guitar for sale on eBay for $5,000 that was "once owned and played by JFK"! NO WAY...WAY!
Here's the rest of the 4-1-1 on air guitar. The first recorded performances began as early as 1957 when Bill Reed of The Diamonds did an air guitar routine along with the song, Words of Love. Joe Cocker did some air guitaring at Woodstock to the song, With a Little Help From My Friends. Air guitar really got slammin' in the 1970's when the band Iron Maiden was performing. According to the band, people would bring wood and cardboard cut-out guitars and "play along". The people in the audience who hadn't thought to bring the cut-outs just played along on air-from then on air guitar spread like wild fire! Admit it-even YOU have done it! Yes, even I have done it...
There are World and US Championships for this, along with hosts of local contests around the globe! The world and national competitions even have a very specific set of rules and are judged with a 4.0-6.0 rating scale just like figure skating! 17 countries participate in this network. The rating scale is based on three elements: Technical Merit, which has to do with how accurate and true-to-life the strumming, chords, picking, runs, etc. are to the real thing. Stage Presence means whether or not the judges feel the air guitarist has rock star quality and presentation. Finally, the third element seems like the toughest to pin down. Airness is the quality of the artistry with which the air guitaring is done. This is considered to be the dance and flow element of the performance. VH1 recently sponsored an online air guitar contest called, "Air to the Throne", where contestants would send in their air guitar videos to be judged by celebrity judges for REAL prizes. According to the Internet sources I viewed, this form of expression, air guitar, is popping up in all the venues which were once reserved for karaoke. Now it's called airaoke!
Who'd a thunk it!
Now you know.