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Metreopolis / Passing Through

While My Air Guitar Gently Weeps

August 10, 2003|MICHAEL T. JARVIS

For decades rock 'n' roll wannabes were relegated to the shower and the karaoke bar. But that all changed in June, thanks to the First Annual U.S. Air Guitar Championships at the Roxy nightclub in West Hollywood. The sold-out event drew media and contestants from across the country for a night of arm windmills, scissor kicks and spandex. New York's David "C-Diddy" Jung was crowned national champion and will represent the U.S. in the 8th annual Air Guitar World Championships in Finland. We asked a few "slowhands" about the finer points of the imaginary ax.

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Aaron Semmel

(with "air roadie" Sarah Martin)

a.k.a. "Aaron the Baron"

Producer's assistant, 28

Los Angeles

What song did you perform?

An untitled piece composed by me and my friends for the evening.

Best air guitar song ever?

Anything by KISS, Metallica or Van Halen. These are the gods of the air guitar.

Stupidest air guitar song ever?

"Piano Man" by Billy Joel.

Why do more guys play air guitar?

It gets us in touch with the Neanderthal inside. Cavemen had only air guitars.

What price have you paid because of your rock 'n' roll lifestyle?

After three days of partying and rehearsal, I felt like Tommy Lee. I paid in headaches and hangovers.

What do you wear to practice?

Furry pants. You can't go wrong when you're wearing mink pants.

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Anand Motwani

Computer technology consultant, 25

Los Angeles

What song did you perform?

"Cult of Personality" by Living Colour. I wanted a solo instead of chords.

Most embarrassing moment today?

The first 60 seconds were a blur. I thrust my pelvis and stuck my tongue out. I writhed around on the ground a little.

Why do more guys play air guitar?

The guitar is an extension of the male anatomy.

Best guitar moves of all time?

Eddie Van Halen turning his back to the crowd [while] playing. That's the ultimate "I'm innovating" move. It's so arrogant.

Your reply to air guitar taunts?

I have no shame.

What price have you paid because of your rock 'n' roll lifestyle?

I like Jack Daniels a little too much.

What do you wear to practice?

Half the time I'm getting out of the shower.

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Angela Shelton

a.k.a. "Cherry Vanilla"

Writer/filmmaker, 30

Los Angeles

What song did you perform?

Led Zeppelin's "I Can't Quit You Baby."

Best air guitar song ever?

"Let Me Put My Love Into You" by AC/DC. It's awesome.

Why do so few females play air guitar?

It's mainly a male-dominated sport. But I'll be back.

What price have you paid because of your rock 'n' roll lifestyle?

My fingers cramp up from too much Jimmy Page finger fiddling.

Your fantasy guitar hero outfit?

A tasseled, form-fitting jumpsuit. Big collars and feathers. Something nutty.

What do you wear to practice?

Underwear.

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Jerry McNamara

a.k.a. "Scary Jerry"

Salesman, 32

Incline Village

What song did you perform?

Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name." I didn't even get to the second round. I was robbed.

Best song in your repertoire?

"YYZ" by Rush. I mix in air drums, air bass, whatever I'm feeling.

Air guitar: liberating or really stupid?

It's liberating in a personal sense, but it's a celebration of idiocy.

Why do more guys do air guitar?

Guys are more apt [at] being stupid.

What price have you paid because of your rock 'n' roll lifestyle?

We all pay a price when we indulge in our fantasies.

Has air guitar changed your life?

It's made me more attentive. I listen for idiosyncratic behavior. It crosses over into my personal and professional life.

What do you wear to practice?

I've air-guitared naked, in a suit and in a tuxedo.

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