Category: Air Guitar World Championship

Mock & Roll: At the Minneapolis regional of the Air Guitar World Championship

There is a rock god on stage at the Triple Rock Social Club bestriding the speakers like a colossus, his Loverboy T-shirt sacrificed to a Dionysian frenzy, his tongue out and waggling, his fingers pulsating. With a quick kick and flip, he’s down in the crowd, then up on the back bar, strutting around the beer bottles and whiskeys as he brings the music directly to the people. The fact that he has no instrument is of no consequence; this is rock ’n’ roll.

At the Minneapolis regional of the Air Guitar World Championship a couple of weeks ago, nine contestants took the stage to see whose mimicry of real rock-star moves would be good enough to win a slot at the L.A. nationals. There, one lucky American would be chosen to represent the red, white, and blue at the world tourney of “airaoke” in August.

Though amateurs have practiced the art of air guitar for generations (you only start feeling stupid doing it sometime in your thirties), the formal World Championship first took place in 1996 in the city of Oulo in northern Finland. Though the annual Finnish event has been a reliable source of silly-season news stories since then, only last year did the nation that invented the electric guitar finally send a competitor. Davie “C. Diddy” Jung swept the title just the way the U.S. dominated Olympic basketball after NBA players were allowed to compete. And there are signs that the world’s newest Sport of Kings is headed straight for the Hollywood machinery that builds American Idols.

Originally published June 25, 2004 in Rake Magazine. Read the complete article.

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