Monday, October 01, 2007

Make Air Not War

Being a girl with very refined and classic tastes, the other day I treated myself to an interesting little documentary at the cinema called Air Guitar Nation. It followed the stories of two men hell bent on being not only the best air guitar errm..artists in the US but also THE WORLD! Yes, apparently there is a world championship for this kind of thing and yes, it's serious business indeed.

I'm an air guitarist from way back. I think that most people who learn an instrument from a young age (me: piano: 5yrs old) don't have a choice. When I hear music my fingers immediately twitch along with the notes. In fact my first instinct is actually to air piano even the guitar based songs. Indeed with that in mind, maybe the best air guitarists are those that have not been sullied by keeping time with the metronome and learning major and minor chords at the hands of Madam Piano Teacher who used to slap at my fingers if they went the wrong way. Is air guitar inbuilt in all of us or is it something that only people so into music that they can't help it partake?

Before the lights went down in the cinema I thought about the vast number of Air Guitar CLASSICS I know and came up with one main contender should I ever find myself in an Air guitar showdown with the devil. Not Stairway to Heaven (though it's a good one) or Rebel Rebel (though it's one of my favourites) and not Back in Black (though it rocks all colours of socks). These songs were all too much about the "music" and not enough about "the cock" for my liking. Let's face it folks, if I'm going to be playing a fake guitar I might as well go all out and go the full fake cock stroking bonanza! I can't think of any other time in musical history when it was more about the cock than 80s hair bands.

So since I am also a girl of impeccable taste regarding "the classics" my mind went to one place and one place only.


So clearly the choice for me had to be Play With Me by Extreme. Which happens to be featured in the scene (Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) where all the famous historical figures go wild (wyld!) at the mall - beating up on each other and sampling the goods (Genghis Khan seen perusing baseball bats at a sporting goods store..of course, what else?). If you haven't yet heard this song then I have to prepare you by saying that the GOLD is in the guitar solo (about 3/4 of the way through) and while I find this song infinitely amusing it also happens to be a guilty pleasure of mine. The solo is just a little bit on the awesome side, I promise.

Play With Me - Extreme


Is this what guitar solos and indeed Air Guitar is all about? Self indulgent, theatrical, masterful and technical? Or should it be something more meaningful?

As it turns out the main "guy" in the documentary C.Diddy agreed with my choice. He rocked Play with Me to the likes of which the world has never seen before and probably won't ever seen again. The other guy Bjorn Turoque however did not agree that Air Guitar should be quite so funny. His style was more punk rock, tight and with street cred.

The movie was funny, interesting and rather thought provoking. While I don't know if it legitimised Air Guitar the doco certainly made me think about how I engage with guitar rock and indeed think about why people air guitar in the first place?

So with that in mind - I have some questions for you, if you wouldn't mind.

1. I know what Bill and Ted, Beavis and Butthead and Wayne and Garth would say but what say you: What is good Air Guitar? Should it be funny, theatrical and preferably penned by bands sporting big hair and tight spandex or is air guitar something anyone can to do any song at any time depending on ones tastes?

2. Is air guitar in the soul or in the crotch?

3. You certainly can air guitar to Nirvana, The Saints or The Ramones (etc) but should you?

4. Can one air 'other musical instruments'? Is it right to air piano, air violin or air flute (Jethro Tull anyone?)

5. Can you air guitar to acoustic guitar?

6. Can girls air guitar as well as boys or should we just stick to being air groupies?

7. Can one Air Guitar to Sweet Home Alabama or is it better to make the twangy twangy sounds using your voice instead?

8. In a song like Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones do you go Air Guitar or Air Tamborine or BOTH (are particularly good at multi-tasking)?

9. Are there some songs so sacred that air guitaring (made up word) shouldn't be allowed?

10. What songs give you the urge to air guitar?

11. Why do people air guitar?

12. Is there anyone out there in blog land who does not partake in the art form of air guitar?

And now songs* (which are not necessarily the BEST air guitar choices but I like 'em):

Paradise City - Guns and Roses

White Riot - The Clash

The Stroke - Billy Squier

Rock N roll Part II - Gary Glitter

Smoke on the Water - Deep Purple

Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

I love Rock N' Roll - joan jett

20th Century Boy - T-Rex

Are you Gonna Be My Girl - Jet

Aneurysm - Nirvana

21st Century Digital Boy - Bad Religion

And Because it's got my name in it

More than a Feeling - Boston

I <3 "Brown Bear"

* All songs have been through vigorous Air Guitar testing by yours truly and are safe for the general public to air guitar their little hearts out to. Having said that I hold no responsibility for anyone who strains their groin, fingers or neck while "performing".

* I wanted to include Evie - Stevie Wright (which is a TOP guitar song) but couldn't upload it for some reason).

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