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Shred Like a Pro: Air Guitar Tips from the Champs (Riverfront Times)

Nordic Thunder performs an air guitar routine in a photo courtesy of Miriam Doan and U.S. Air Guitar for the Riverfront Times

Digital sidebar, Riverfront Times, June 27, 2013

Guitar Zero: The Search Is on for St. Louis' 'Air' Apparent

By Allison Babka

Courtesy photo by Miriam Doan for U.S. Air Guitar

Musicians do quite a bit of prep work before performing a face-melting show. After all, there's makeup, costumes, choreography and (sometimes) fake blood to consider.

To the surprise of many, air guitarists make the same intensive provisions.

"[Air guitarists] give countless hours to creating characters, editing music and choreographing routines," 2012 World Champion Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard tells the RFT in an outtake from this week's cover story.

"These brave souls spend weeks, sometimes more, preparing a routine that lasts only a minute."

With St. Louis hosting its first official U.S. Air Guitar qualifying event this week at the Firebird, local competitors might need a little pre-game advice before taking the stage.

Luckily, Howard, Eric "Mean Melin" Melin and Jason "Lt. Facemelter" Farnan are around to be Yodas to our air guitar padawans. Below, the three USAG champs share a few secrets to nailing the performances that adults secretly have been honing behind closed doors :

  • Your character should be a heightened version of you. - Melin

  • Know and love your song. - Farnan

  • Never air guitar a song that you don't love all the way through - Melin

  • Be prepared to look silly on stage. - Howard

  • Practice. Work on your routine in front of a mirror. - Melin

  • Never eat a burrito 30 minutes before showtime. - Farnan

  • On the night of the show, employ a three-drink minimum. Liquid courage is very important. - Melin

  • Have no shame. - Farnan

  • Support your fellow air guitarists - Howard

  • Have as much fun as you possibly can. - Howard

U.S. Air Guitar is hosting St. Louis' first-ever qualifying event Friday, June 28, at the Firebird (2706 Olive Street), with Eric "Mean Melin" Melin emceeing. Two winners from the qualifier will continue to the Mid-Atlantic semi-finals in Washington, D.C. Tickets are $10, and contestant entry is a few bucks more.

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