Thursday, September 28, 2006

Air Guitar and the Rockstar of the Future

In the Mission last night, I met up with Andrew and his roommate, Michael. Andrew had called earlier to tell me that there was this guy at his work who was a serious Air Guitarist. Andrew, a San Francisco native, set up his friend Dan (aka Tiger Claw LeFever) with a gig at 12 Galaxies.

I had to see it for myself. A guy who worked in a corporate mailroom by day, and went into clubs, masked and armed only with his air guitar by night. That's entertainment. When I arrived, a middle-aged man in a Shriner's hat with a blinking blue light sat on stage with another, probable twin. They were an act called Ask Dr. Hal. People from the audience could ask Dr. Hal anything, and they did. From the gross (Do unborn babies poop and pee?) to the curious (Which country makes the best chili: Israel or Palestine). A large man with bad home highlights sat in the corner on a computer, googling images to go with the corresponding question. If it doesn't sound interesting, consider that there was a lot of dry ice-just what a doctor needs to make him credible while fielding totally ridiculous questions from the semi-intoxicated.

Then came the star of the show, the main act...TIGER CLAW LeFEVER! He sprang to the stage in a red animal print shirt, mask and pleather. Behind him, dry ice and a slide show of the 80's glam rock greats played. It was the perfect backdrop for an Air Guitar performance. He may not look like your typical polished American Idol, but Tiger Claw is going places with his air guitar. One of those places being the 1st Annual Air Guitar Festival, here in San Francisco. Tiger Claw was a contestant, until he got onstage and the music began to play. They were playing punk, which according to him is a stepchild of rock and metal. There are no solos. He then threw down his air guitar on stage and stormed off. Any serious air guitaristwould never perform to Punk!

Tiger Claw LeFever explained to me that Finland has the longest running air guitar festival. The Finland Air Guitar Championships have been going for 10 years. Air guitaring has roots from a Joe Cocker performance at Woodstock, but didn't take off as a household name until the 80's when bands like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest took the reigns along with the MTV Generation.

Don't look for a Greatist Hits album from Tiger Claw leFever, though. "I'd love to make one, but it's all copyrighted," he once told Andrew. Ah, the classic Air Guitarist dilemma. Maybe we should call Dr. Hal about that one.

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