we are asking a few of our previous competitors their thoughts on the subject.
This episode brings you Grinnin' BAIRett aka Ben Hamill.
Though Mr. BAIRett has traveled far from the wilds of Idaho only a few times to compete in our fair city, we have seen a LOT of Grinnin' BAIRett
in the last couple of years here in Portland....
I grew up on hair metal, lived in LA in the 80's and have always done my share of ass-kicking air guitar. I was living in Orlando back in 2003 and some bar had an air guitar competition, they didn't have anything to do with the US Air Guitar people I don't think, but there were a lot of eerie similarities such as "Celebrity" judges, 6.0 scale, 2 rounds, a compulsory song, I knew at that moment that I had to compete. It wasn't until a couple of years later after I watched Air Guitar Nation when I found out about the US Air Guitar competitions blowing up. I had to be a part of it. What keeps me coming back? It does get harder as I get older but the air guitar people are some of the best people I've ever met. It's such a great group of crazy, insane folks but some of the nicest people you'll ever have the privilege to get to know AND I've always wanted to be a rock star. Where else can you rock out on stage, have people yelling for you and not know how to play an instrument?
Wardrobe malfunctions, a choice or a curse?
Well, I can say I've lived up to the name Grinnin' BAIRett. No one believes me now, I've never intentionally let everything fly but I've always been a bit of an exhibitionist so I've never really minded. I'm just happy to have gone down in U.S. Air Guitar lore. It certainly helped me my first year in Portland but I think it hurt me last year. It is a bit of a curse because I think everyone expects it from me now, I think I am going to make sure everything is tucked away next year though.
There are many people (often but not always family members) that do not understand why someone would waste their time on something as silly as air guitar let alone practicing hours upon hours to perfect a 60 second routine. As if you were Perry Mason and the perceived doubters are the jury, please state your closing argument in less than 3 sentences:
Many have questioned the validity of air guitar, the passion of the participants, the sanity of those who would stand on stage with nothing but air in their arms. I ask you, just once, to stand there for 60 seconds, rocking your heart out to fans screaming your name, and every question and doubt you ever had about air guitar will melt away, just like the faces of those you just rocked. Then you'll understand.
What advice would you give to someone who was thinking about entering an air guitar competition?
Don't hold back, let everything fly (well, maybe not everything!) I can guarantee you it will be some of the most fun you will ever have in your life. How often do you have a chance to be a legitimate rock star for a couple of hours, without actually knowing how to play guitar? Oh, and don't drink too much. There's a fine line between liquid courage and downright impairment. I found that out the hard way last year.
What ONE word best describes the feeling you get when you make it to the second round of an air guitar competition?