The "air apparents": meet Shorty McShred

Stage Name: Shorty McShred
Real Name: Brian Wood
Years in Air Guitar: 6
Where You Live: Music City, USA
Where You’re Competing: Nashville, TN

Nashville is a city with a storied musical history. However, as the home of the Grand Ole Opry and other country music staples, it could use some beefing up in the rock category. Enter Shorty McShred (a.k.a. Brian Wood), a southern-charmer of an air guitarist who, after 6 years in the game, feels his obsession might be getting him more attention than he bargained for, 

“I tend to practice air guitar a lot in the car," he says, "which leads to numerous vehicular citations for reckless driving…which leads to many weekends performing community service…which leads me having to talk to kids about the dangers of distracted driving…which I then turn into an opportunity to teach them air guitar. I would say it really come full circle!”

The outcomes of these incident aren’t always as positive. “I constantly have a song playing in my head 24/7,” Shorty continues, “so it’s naturally going to physically manifest itself in my everyday life one way or another. It usually ends up with me trying to emulate the guitar line or making a poor attempt at harmonizing with the lead vocal at the most inopportune times such as funerals, taking communion, or when I’m watching a silent film at my local Cineplex. A good guitar riff can get me amped in just about any situation I find myself in though. So why fight it, right? Just let it out!”

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Like many air guitarists (despite claims of otherwise from many members of the public), Shorty plays an actual instrument. Oddly enough, in spite of his apparent love for at least pretending how to play the guitar, he’s a professional drummer. What is it that makes Shorty want to step outside of that box into the fake guitar realm?

“Who wouldn’t want to get onstage and play an invisible guitar?” he asks. “I think deep down inside I always wanted to be a rock guitarist instead of a drummer. I would do air drums, but that would be like shooting fish in a barrel. I need a challenge! I’ve been air guitaring on the amateur circuit since I was a young kid, so it was just a matter of time before I went pro. It’s the inner-showman in me just dying to be unleashed!”

Perhaps aided by his various ties to the music world of Nashville, Shorty finds himself to be in his natural habitat. “[Aside from air guitar and music], it’s faith, family and football…basically all the F things. That’s how we do it here in the south!” 

See Shorty leave his politeness at the door and melt the faces of his fellow Southerners on Saturday, May 26that The High Watt in Nashville.

Kriston Rucker