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Words: Lord Jason
Photos: Jane Briggs

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The tide is shifting, America*. Be forewarned! How many of you know that old song by Dire Straits(feat. Sting) in which they stated you could get your cash for practically nothing and your chicks for no money down, no interest, and no financing**? Well, the entire premise was this: if you, a lovably primitive CGI delivery-person, had spent the time as a youth learning to play the guitar, or learned to play them drums, you could have led a life of ease.

*And by America I mean BYT readers.

**subject to early termination penalties.

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This truism no longer applies. The music industry is succumbing to the tides of new technology, but you can be the drummer, or singer, or guitarist, of a highly successful band without the fuss and muss of actually working for it. All you need is $100 bucks*** and an Xbox! Now you, your grandma, your drunk aunt, and your cousin that smells like Mountain Dew, Doritos, and hopelessness**** can form your own band and play the musical hits of today and yesterday.

***Only 15 hours of working at McDonalds! That afterschool job is really going to do you right. Plus, free Mcnuggets, yo.

****This actually smells like a 7-11 bacon cheeseburger taquito.

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You dont need to be in a real band to be a little faggot with the ear-ring and the makeup.

The only thing lacking is the adoring fans and the roar of the crowd. So where Guitar Hero and live performance meet, we find its unholy offspring: the US Air Guitar Championship.

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The idea is this each performer chooses 60 seconds of a song to play air guitar to, and then is judged on three categories: technical merit: stage presence, and airness. From the website: Airness is defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself. An art; much in the same way that Tweety-ing is an art.

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I went in fully expecting to not enjoy any of this. The Yngwie Malmsteen inside of me***** was put off immediately. The idea of a packed to the gills show with people cheering a bunch of losers pretending PRETENDING!!! BY GOD!!! to play the guitar really iced my latte. And the part of me that wasnt bitter and angry****** felt kind of sad for the performers. Where going to see a really great band is like watching the Olympics, going to see people play air guitar is like going to see the Special Olympics. And nothing makes me more uncomfortable than the cheering and heckling of retards who are essentially mimes without makeup. Well, SOME of them werent wearing makeup.

*****Not the best porno title, but it has a killer soundtrack.

******this part of me looks a lot like Renee Zellweiger in Appaloosa eating a lemon after crying all night during allergy season. Red, pinched and puffy.

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But, goddam it, some of those retards can really put on a show!******* I wont bore you with the specifics, because frankly, who wants to hear me describe a 300 pound 19 year old ginger kid with the name of Juris Rocktor precariously jumping off a 10 foot high monitor and spraining both of his ankles, or the hypnotic waves of jiggling pale fat and visible crack of the blood red track-besuited Vlad DM Wailer?******** In the end, the night came down to two performers who embodied everything that is the afore mentioned airness the sage elder: The Shred, versus the enthusiastic youth: Sanjar the Destroyer.

******* http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aJFSpkxjtY
(and when Im talking about retards, Im not talking about Corky in the middle, Im talking about the two other guys who look like managers at T.G.I. McShenanigans)

********Whats the deal with really fat guys who have dont have an ass? Please discuss.

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They both embodied what is the essence of air guitarness unbridled passion and the appearance of technical proficiency. And, even after the final Boston medley air-off, which had the crowd sucking each others eyeballs out in fits of unbridled ecstasy, the Shred and Sanjar the Destroyer were tied. And so, for the first time (evidently), in the history of the US Air Guitar championships 2 performers were sent to the finals.

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And now, Im going home to sell my SG, sign up for that NOVA class on the life of Marcel Marceau, and dream of the day I can be a little faggot millionaire with my own jet airplane. Money for Nothing, indeed.

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In case you missed it…

2008 coverage

2007 coverage

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