The New #USAirGuitar Format

spontaneous air band jam sessionPhoto credit:

Nothing is official yet but next week US Air Guitar will (likely) officially release a change in the competition’s format in addition to show announcements.  Following our really brief  overly simplified email to past contestants, we’ve been listening to everyone’s comments across the social media landscape and will continue to do so throughout.  Keep on commenting, right here if you please, and tell us what we need to know.


The format change responds to a myriad of questions that have been creeping on us for years: is USAG getting too big for its britches? Is Yankee Stadium out of the question? In an increasingly volatile world, have democracy and peace become mutually exclusive?


Five words: No and fuck no, motherfucker.


But as the spectacle has grown year after year, some of us have pined for the shows that started it all: Dive bars, back yards, dank basements where our moms once yelled at us for practicing alone in our undies.  Sure, mom still owns the basement and the futon.  But we clearly won the argument.


And despite increasing moments of historic glory, we’ve lost some reach along the way.  Every year we beg our booking agents to send us back down south, and every year we’re told it’s not economically viable (and I quote, “You guys, until now I didn’t think it was possible to get ‘more bankrupt’ “).


San Francisco’s TIGER CLAW (Dan LeFever) taught me that when air guitarists are given the opportunity to create something of their own, something pretty fucking amazing results.  And I once again quote:


. . . When TIGER CLAW – the guy who followed the tour cross-country (and bailed out many a performer in routinely volunteering to go first), the guy who includes on his resumé nights he’s spent incarcerated, the guy who wakes up to a breakfast forty whenever there’s something left from his dinner eighty – told us he wanted to host a performance-slash-art thang in SF’s tenderloin district, we shrugged our shoulders and said why not . . . Tiger Claw, this could have been your Waterloo, France. Instead it was your Waterloo, San Dimas. [Full Post]


In this blogger’s opinion, USAG, Inc’s biggest mistake has been not being everywhere at once always.  We always wanted to return to Atlanta and the Carolinas then swing northward to talk some more shit in Nashville.  We wanted a couple more shows in the Heartland and even tried for Hawaii a couple years back.  We could see it in the air, but never in the cards.


So the only real change in 2013 is: Democracy (that’s right, fuck you Air Guitar Turkmenistan) and a return to our roots in the Qualifiers, immediately followed by a thunderous advance toward the future in the Semis: more balloon drops, glossier posters with social media shit happening on top, and all the god damn bunting we can collectively steal from this year’s Memorial Day parade.


#USAirGuitar Qualifiers will thrust into Semi-finals, Finals will shoot into Finland, and Finland will squirt all over the back of the universe.  And just when you think it’s all over, the universe turns around and takes one in the face (it’s called a “Houdini”).


Maybe I’m the only guy who thinks this rocks. You host the Qualifiers, we host the Semis and Finals, and once again Finland is fucked.  Make the Qualifiers as crazy as you want, play around with your own format.  Get funky.  I assure you, none of this will make it any tougher to compete in the Semis, it will just make it funner to compete in the Semis.


2013 will be a breath of fresh, you know . . .