Registration is now open for the annual U.S. Air Guitar competition, which comes to House of Blues on June 3. The winner gets a chance to go on to the national contest in August (the city hasn't been announced yet).
But anyone hoping for a chance to compete on the national stage is going have to get past last year’s local winner, Dave “Derek Not So Smalls” Weissman, who just announced that he’s entering the Cleveland competition again.
Music publicist by day, air-shredder by night, Weissman won in Columbus in 2007 and in Cleveland in 2008. Columbus is no longer on the Air Guitar schedule (we can only assume it’s because Cowtown just doesn’t rock hard enough), so Weissman has to make the trek up to Cleveland to compete.
While some contestants drive from city to city to win against weaker competition, Weissman says it’s win or go home for him. “I’m only competing in Cleveland,” he says. “I’m going to rock out at one show. Some of these guys live for this. I know one guy has to have back surgery. He sent an essay out about why he couldn’t perform this year. He’s got a slipped disc and could paralyze himself if he performs. To me, I love air guitar and am not ready to travel all over the East Coast. When you live in D.C., you could go to Philadelphia or Brooklyn or New York, and there are so many guys who do that. A lot of people take it pretty seriously.”
Weissman says he’s not sure if he’s going to change his song of choice (the solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker”) or try something new this year. “The key is to put 60 seconds of drama into something fun and entertaining,” he says. “Hopefully, it makes people laugh. It’s more of a performance and not just playing an air guitar. There’s no standard. I just go and have a good time. I’ll be ready to rock.” —Jeff Niesel
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