Getting all Nordic with Nordic
I don’t know about ya’ll, but I absolutely LOVE breaking into Bjorn or Hot Lixx’s e-mail and finding gems like this, inked by the 2011 US Air Guitar champion himself, Mr. Nordic Thunder. Are you ready to get Nordicy?
You guys, I don’t know where to start. Strap yourself in. I tend to be long winded, get all sorts of Nordicy, and have shitty grammar. Chelsie and I both had the times of our lives, and this trip will be one that will stay with us both until we are maggot food below a pile of dirt. Or turned to ash and smoked out of some tree loving human’s pipe. Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t.
We met Hot Lixx at the airport in Chicago and found out we were leaving on the same flight which was a nice start to the trip! Once we landed in Helsinki Hot Lixx ventured onto Oulu and Chelsie and I had a 6 hour lay over. We could immediately tell we were not in the United States because of how incredibly NICE everyone was to us. You would think the funny money and weird letters on the wall would have given this away, but no. It was the people. A nice man who works for Norwegian Air (THE Nordic way to fly) kindly gave us directions into Helsinki VIA the bus, so we ventured out into the unknown for the first time. We didn’t quite make it to Helsinki but stopped in a small suburb along the way. If you’ve been to my house you know we collect useless junk and decorate our walls with it. I have a keen eye for thrift stores and riding in a bus down a foreign road in a place I’ve never been, my instincts kicked in. I had no clue where we were but I spotted a thrift store and soon we were on the hunt for junk (or “treasure” as we like to call it). Chelsie bought a little cup with boobs on it that jiggle around, and I was going to buy a sword but thought customs might have a problem with that. We then went to a bar and had our first Finnish alcoholic beverages. We drank a beer called Karjala, and each had a shot of what the waitress told us was a “REAL Finnish drink!”. She for some reason knew we were foreigners and thought she’d show us the ropes. She set a shot down in front of us that looked like oil, and smelled something fierce. She said we’d either love it or hate it. Chelsie hated it, I pretended to “like it” but in all honesty it’s not my favorite thing in the world. I would quickly discover though that, Salmiakki is a VERY popular drink/candy/EVERYTHING in Finland. We ventured back to the airport shortly after with a nice buzz and hopped our plane to Oulu …
We made it to the hotel and crashed for a few hours, then ventured out and about around the town. We couldn’t find anything open, but like a metal detector finds metal, my EARS find METAL! We heard some jams blastin out of this bar so we decided to go inside. We ordered some fried good that was frozen then heated up in an oven (Ahh, our first Finnish food!) then got cozy at the bar. It wasn’t long before a local came and sat next to us and we instantly became friends. There was a DJ taking requests and playing songs off of his laptop so we turned him onto some tasty metal, and he did the same. We requested “Cult of Personality” for Chicago’s wrestling champ C.M. PUNK, and also a jam from Chicago’s own Lair of the Minotaur “Cannibal Massacre” (Cannonballmavin’s first ever air guitar song). Oh yeah, and Chelsie got a Hell’s Angel’s phone number. (You HAVE to believe me on this, as I am not lying. Pretty fucking bad ass in my book.) We ended the night with our new friend Mikko singing karaoke at a gay bar, and then he kindly walked us back to our hotel, Cumulus, where air guitarists sleep under the same cloud.
The next few days were packed FULL of awesomeness that is difficult to explain with words. We sat and listened to people speak about air guitar on a whole new level of seriousness that totally blew my fucking mind. Amanda Girffkin, who has a PH FUCKING D in air guitar really set the tone of the day’s events with her lecture on air guitar. This woman knows her air guitar, and it was an absolute honor to hear her speak. Fed up with people asking her questions about what THEY think air guitar is (Guitar Hero, music playing t-shirts when strummed, etc.) she decided to set the layman’s straight, and did so very elegantly. Griffkin went onto say “Air guitar is not a virtual instrument. Air guitar is an instrument that exists in its absence. Air guitar playing does not mark the lack of an instrument, it traces the presence of an absence of an instrument.” Also shedding some light on the the scientific aspect of air guitar Dr. Björn Türoque quoted Moshe Dayan as saying “Freedom is the oxygen of the soul.” He used this analogy and came up with this scientific fact. “Without freedom we have no oxygen, without oxygen we have no air, without air we have no air guitar, therefore, air guitar = freedom.” This is some heavy next level stuff, people!
We rode bicycles through the town and over a bridge that is the launch pad for many who decide to take their own lives, and then into the Murder Tuira (which translates to “Murder Town”). We stopped at a bar and had a Noble Shot, and then onto a local gas station where we all bought some booze! Apparently it’s tradition in Oulu for the youngsters to get smashed in the parking lots of gas stations. Reminds me of Chicago, only we do it in alleys. We then rode to a statue the locals refer to as “The Boob statue” that looked like the weird artsy fartsy chair in Beetle Juice. You know, the one that turns into a monster. You guys know the one? Hey guys, you know the one? This is what I kept saying over and over until someone politely said “Yeah man we know the one…now shut the fuck up.”
After the boob statue we ventured to a beautiful cabin in the woods with hundred year old floors that required being barefoot to touch. This is also where we learned that in Finland potatoes grow on trees! It’s true, ask Chelsie. This is also where stuff got weird…and I mean weird. Just picture this: a Finnish man from Helsinki, naked, screaming at Hot Lixx and I to get naked too. So we do. Then he tells us to air guitar. Naked. So we do. Then he makes Hot Lixx BEAT me with a fire place shovel screaming “Again! Harder! Again! One more time!” Now imagine this happening in a room full of people you’ve just met. It. was. AWESOME! This same room is where I met my friend Aki. I will get to him later.
After the violent sauna we all ventured to a karaoke hot spot and crammed into what was about the size of an overly-large walk-in closet. It was great. It was PACKED, and we all got hammered and sang some jams. On the way back to the hotel I got my first peek of the stage for the big show…it gave me chills, and still does thinking about seeing her for the first time in all of her glory.
The next few days are all a blur, and seem to melt together into one giant awesome memory. In there was the Dark Horse where our very own Cannonballmavin and Zero Prospects KILLED it! ZP smashed a glass on the stage and I’m still picking glass out of my hand a week later. I couldn’t have been more proud of our ladies winning the dark horse and securing a spot in the finals! It was cause for celebration, so a celebration we had! Following the Dark Horse was the world’s greatest air band, Airnadette. Lets just say this: much like air guitar, it is difficult to fully appreciate unless you witness it in person. I was there in person. And holy fucking hell these guys are AMAZING. They put on one hell of a show, and proved to everyone who witnessed why they are THE greatest. After the band finished forcing orgasms onto their audience, we ventured to the basement to celebrate our ladies’ victories further by performing some airaoke. I had the pleasure of taking lead on War Pigs with 2011 WORLD CHAMPION AIR DRUMMER “Drumb and Drumber” on the skins, and Russia’s “The Devil Seducer” on bass. We thoroughly rocked the jam so hard in the 6 1/2 food-high ceiling basement that the speakers caught fire and everyone almost died. We had to evacuate the building, and we had the honor of being the closing act that night. Once we got outside we signed some autographs, got massages, and then headed back to the hotel. It was INSANE!
The day had arrived…the finals were here. I always show up to the venue in Nordic gear, and Finland wasn’t going to be an exception. I walked from the hotel in my garb to the site where the battle of peace would take place. I asked a nice Finnish couple for directions along the way. They didn’t speak a lick of English and didn’t bat an eye at the fact that I was wearing close to nothing and smelled like Chuck Mung. After leaving I said to them Ilmakitara! (air guitar) They smiled and we went on our way.
There were 7,000 people standing in the rain to watch some air guitar, and each and every country delivered the absolute BEST! I got to meet Little Angus and nearly shit my pants in the process. I geeked out as hard as the Tetrad did when he saw my Nintendo room, which was pretty hard. I gotta say, one of my favorite memories of the night of the show was when I came back stage after my routine and standing at the bottom of the ramp was Little Angus…he was jumping up and down and was so stoked, and gave me the biggest high five his little body could give. I knew no matter WHAT happened that night, that I made his night! And that my friends, made mine. I was so impressed with how well everyone played, including our wonderful ladies, and also how very sportsmanlike everyone was towards one another. There was such a wonderful positive energy bouncing around in the tent area where we were all hanging out that you could literally feel it in the air. It was magical. I left the show knowing that I did better than my best, and I left it ALL on the stage. I also left a little on the front rows faces as I slide my Nordic crotch into their head and shoulders. I sweat, bled, and rocked as hard as I could for the country I love! Please know this. The night of course was followed with more partying as I became bonded by blood with my new fellow world leaders. We talked about the night and about how the blood I shed from my feet and knees were all in the name of world peace. I wouldn’t change a thing. As the night wound down, my friend Aki (whom I mentioned earlier-the one from the violent sauna party) invited Chelsie and me to his home and private sauna in the woods. Now, before I left for Finland, Shreddy Mercury mailed me a clipping from a magazine that mentioned proper sauna etiquette. In this clipping it mentions that if you are invited to someone’s private sauna it is considered to be the upmost highest honor in ALL of Finland. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked! So we agreed to meet him and his very wonderful girlfriend and brother for dinner in the woods.
Anna, Aki’s girlfriend, arrived to our hotel to take us to Aki’s house. When we arrived, you could smell Aki’s dinner half way down the road…and let me tell you, it smelled amazing. He had prepared some pork chops in a garlic/mushroom/cream sauce with spices from peppers he had smoked himself over wood from the apple tree growing in his yard. Yup. Pretty amazing. We ate dinner, and then ventured to the sauna that Aki’s brother Leltteri had prepared with wood he chopped himself. You see, this wasn’t an electric sauna like in the hotel. This was a wood burning sauna! It was amazing. We sat in the sauna, heard stories of the sauna elf, the evil spirits that escape during the sauna, the history of the sauna, and the importance of drinking beer in the sauna. As I am typing this now I swear to you I can still SMELL the sauna. It has a smell that is like none other, and I will never forget it. Also, when you dump bear on the stones the entire sauna smells like a bakery. We wound down the night at Aki’s house with the introduction to some Finnish metal, and also some of Aki’s own musical creations. (http://latvamaki.bandcamp.com/) This evening spent with our new friends was the PERFECT way to end our trip, and our trip unfortunately was coming to an end. We left his home, and ventured to the bar where everyone was and we all said our goodbyes. It was a very emotional round of goodbyes, and many hugs and kisses were handed out. It was beautiful, and a night I will never forget. I also cried. And as Hot Lixx pointed out, I cried a lot. Like a baby. A giant Nordic baby. (Note-It’s hard to look tough with long hair and a beard while crying)
Now, if you’ve actually read all this, good for you. It means nothing. Everything you’ve read about my personal trip to Finland can be summarized into this: I am a new person. Venturing out of the United States for the first time in my life (going to Canada doesn’t count) really changed me as a human being. I felt so tiny in the world, and it was absolutely refreshing to feel this way. To be having fun with other people who genuinely CARE about one another and making each other happy, has been the most amazing experience for me. It is so difficult to put into words how I feel, but if I had to describe it, it would be like this: I feel like I have been washed away of all the negativeness in my life, and my eyes are open for the very first time. There ARE good people in this world who DO want to make it a better place to live in. Sure, it might be something as ridiculous as air guitar that made me realize this, but I have realized this. I have an entirely new outlook on life, and life IS good. We are all human beings living on this planet breathing the same air, and farting the same farts. We all bleed red, and we all have the capability to love one another. You just have to want it. Us air guitarists happen to be very lucky. Air guitarists have a unique way of showing we care and that we love one another by being ourselves, and playing our air guitars. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: If the entire world acted the way air guitarists do, the world WOULD be a better place.