By Davis Freeberg
Originally uploaded by
Last night I had the opportunity to compete in the San Francisco Regional Air Guitar championships and had a fantastic time. When I first heard about the competition I signed up without thinking too much about it, but the closer that the competition got the more nervous I became. It’s not easy going up in front of a sold out Independent and making a total fool out of yourself. To make matters worse when I got to the competition I found out that I had been randomly selected to be the first performer for the event. Needless to say I was scared to death for the few hours leading up to the show.
The competition was structure so that each contestant had an opportunity to bring a one minute clip of any song and judges could score anywhere from 4.0 – 6.0 scale based upon technical ability, style, stage prescence & most importantly Airness. Airness is the ability to be so real that the audience forgets that you’re not really holding a guitar, it’s the basis for everything that air guitar stands for. It’s accomplished very subtly but the top air guitarists in the world have mastered this art and there were several performers last night who clearly have been on the Air Guitar circuit for several years.
After all 21 contestants performed, the top ten advanced to a second round where they were forced to play a mystery song without preparation. The person who finished 10th had to play first and the person with the top first round score gets the opportunity to hear the song 10 times before they have to take the stage. The winner goes to NY to compete in the US Nationals and the winner of that contest goes to Finland for the world Air Guitar Championships.
In thinking about my choice for my one minute clip, I wanted to take a risk and choose to use a Blues Brother’s song instead of the more traditional heavy metal genre that’s dominated the air guitar scene for years. Unfortunately, I failed to make the second cut, but in retrospect have no regrets. Rather then feeling foolish for trying something pretty crazy, I instead felt liberated by being able to put my own misgivings aside and take a risk in life when I didn’t have too. Someday I expect to look back on the event as a unique opportunity that not everybody gets to experience. While I would have loved to make it to NY, I suppose that there is always next year.
For the event I did an interview with Current TV and they will be broadcasting the entire event. I’m not sure as to when it’s scheduled to air, but if you want to see the whole thing it might be worth checking out. Fox KTVU was also at the event and has video of several performers including myself. They unfortunately edited out a controversial line in my Blues song, but the clip will show you most of my performance. You can also see more photos at Flickr by checking out the Airguitar tag. If you would also like a chance to make it to NY, you can still participate in the internet qualifiers that VH1 is hosting.