we are asking a few UBER air guitar champions their thoughts on the subject.
This episode brings you Eric Melin aka "Mean Melin" (if it doesn't rhyme you are NOT saying it right.) As well as winning The World Air Guitar Championship AND placing first in the Darkhorse Competition that qualified him to compete for the world title just the night before, Mr. Melin, a Senior Social Media Community Manager for Callahan Creek as well as The Editor-in-Chief of Scene-Stealers.com, had previously won the Regional Championship for Kansas City 3 times (2009, 2011 and 2012), Las Vegas in 2010 and The Northeast US Air Guitar Semi-Finals in 2013. Like The Terminator he kept coming back and next year will be no exception when he defends his WORLD title in Oulu Finland on August 29th, 2014.
In October 2013 you did a live satellite interview with BBC World News in regards to a study that had been done stating that air guitar could help a musician play their instrument better. In your opinion do you think air guitar has made you a better drummer? Are there any other aspects in your life that you feel might have been creatively influenced by this art/sport in a positive way?
I absolutely think that being an air guitarist made me a better drummer because I've been air guitaring since I was a kid -- and the one thing I always paid attention to was how much I put into the show. I wanted to match the intensity that I play the air guitar with ever since I sat down in front of my first drum set. So I've never just been one of those drummers who just sits there, playing with their wrists and laying down the backbeat. It's always full arms laying into the kits and headbanging, just like when I'm playing air guitar! Everything about air guitar has helped me in my "normal" life as well. I'm more open to new challenges, I'm more confident taking risks and admitting up front that you do something this inherently ridiculous makes for an easy conversation starter and separates you from the pack.
You have assisted your fellow bandmate and competitive air guitarist JoJo Longbottom aka "Air Jesus" who is also a school teacher, with air guitar related projects for the kids in his class. What do you think the benefits are of adding air guitar into the curriculum for grade school children?
Kids need to learn how to come out of their shells at a young age so that they can be social, integrate into society and have stable communication skills. What JoJo has found is that playing air guitar (which has an admittedly low bar to entry) lets them express themselves in a way that's freeing. It's a unique thing with no rules that they can pour energy into with very little effort. It really is a confidence builder and it teaches them so many other lessons as they learn to listen to music critically and interpret it, as well as having to be creative as they create their characters and tell stories. He weaves in video editing skills too, as they make their own music videos as part of the lesson plan.
Is there any advice you can give to a person who has never competed before OR someone who has competed but just can't seem to make it to the second round?
PIck a song you love. Air guitar to it over and over until you find the moments with the biggest, craziest moves. Watch videos from other air guitarists. Learn what brings a crowd to its feet. Edit your song together like a story -- give it dynamics, make sure it goes somewhere! Invent at least one move that you've never seen before. End it with a bang. Play it over and over until the edit is synonymous with your choreography. Perform in front of the mirror. Make sure every limb of your body is in sync with the song, not just your arms. You can illustrate the other instruments with your movement. Accent the drum beat and drum fills with your ass or your head. Jump or kick when appropriate. Make sure its all timed up with the song. Let no ridiculous moment go without emphasizing it. Go beyond what a guitar can do -- get creative. Go big. Mean it. Don't look at the floor, make eye contact. You only have one minute, so make it the best minute of your life up to that point. Or write your own song and do all of this in reverse!
You have been in various bands as a drummer with quite a bit of success for over 20 years, is there some sort of satisfaction that you get from competitive air guitar that you perhaps don't get from being in a band?
Yes. There is a lot of satisfaction. I hate sitting in the back.
Last year you threw caution to the wind, charged up your credit card and flew to Oulu, Finland to enter The Darkhorse competition knowing that world domination was not certain. If the outcome had been different and you hadn't won the world title, would you still be happy that you went?
Absolutely. I had no real feeling that winning was actually possible. I had decided it was my last year and, after five years of dedication to the sport, it was time to visit Mecca (Oulu). Everything outside of winning totally lived up to the hype and I'm so glad to have made friends from all over the world. winning was just the cherry on top, and I'm so excited to go back this year!
If your life in air guitar was a movie, what would the name of that movie be, who would star in it and would it be Oscar worthy or a straight to Redbox special?
Michael Fassbender would most assuredly win an Oscar for his lead role as Mean Melin in the inspiring tearjerker "The Air Out There."
What 5 words would you use to describe the feeling that you had when you realized that you were the 2013 World Air Guitar Champion?
Holy shitballs, what just happened?