Tiger Claw West Coast Air Guitar Tour
USAG Dept. of Bloggage doesn't usually accept unsolicited posts, but in the case of TIGER CLAW (Dan LaFever) exceptions must be made.
Tiger Claw West Coast Air Guitar Tour Written by Tiger Claw
A tour of epic proportions, even if it was only 6 cities. And split in half, thank God. Here is a timeline of the events that occurred in and outside of the various regional air guitar competitions. It isn’t just the competition that gets all the attention but the stories that are told outside of it. Enjoy!
NorCal leg of the TC West Coast Air Guitar Tour
Friday, June 15, 2012 – Portland Regionals
The NorCal leg of the tour has Singar and Claw driving up to Portland, followed by Seattle. Starting at 6am. 12 hours. But not before over-shooting I-505 off of I-80. After stopping for directions we’re pulled over because one of the brake-lights is missing a cover. Supposed to be red. CHP ran our licenses for warrants, pending violations, etc, and we’re clean. Claw chatted him up about our travel schedule and he told us to hit up the auto store for some red cellophane and let us off with a warning. Claw handed him a USAG trading card and Singar followed up with one of his own pics. The officer handed mine back. Claw responded, “if you don’t want it, I’d rather have it back than you throwing it out.” The officer said, “Oh no. That’s not what I meant”, as he handed Claw a pen to autograph it. Nice start on the way to Portland.
Singar introduces Claw to Brian Dunning, of Skeptoid.com, on NPR. The whole way, not one song on the radio played. Props to Singar, cuz Claw needs to air and this was an unsurpassed feat on Singar’s behalf.
We arrive at Whalin BigAir’s estate to meet Whalin and his better half, Um, for the first time. An hour later Claw grabs two of three bags to head to the competition only to later realize his flash drive (song) is in the third bag, back in Singar’s truck. Ouch. Fortunately, ATC gots a multitude of tracks from which to choose. Van Halen’s Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love. A Claw favorite, pulled off without a hitch. Claw decides to go first, to incite the crowd, and not just there but all other following cities (except his hometown of SF). Tony Tapatio pulled off a repeat win (he won Portland the previous year). Even the neighbors were fans.
Saturday, June 16, 2012 – Seattle Regionals
Claw woke up before all others, to honor his rep of 3 beers before 9am. Thing is, no one was there to get the photo so Claw laid back down so Whalin could take the shot later in the morning.
Heading on to the Seattle Regional, we all stopped at Walgreens, while Claw went across the street to Starbucks. Always the shameless self-promoter, he handed out his USAG #14 trading card to all, even to the four Portland PD officers sitting inside. One lady followed Claw outside and after hearing of the trip to Seattle she asked, “Can I come, too?” Singar had joined them, and the lady asked for 2 dollars for sandals (she was barefoot at the time). I didn’t have singles so Singar coughed it up. We crossed the street to Walgreens, and she flashed Claw. Both sides. Turns out, which Claw knew from SF, she was a “toss-up”, a semi-hooker that only turns tricks for their habit. After a 15-second, sloppy kiss, Whalin, Tony Tapatio, Um & Singar all yelled out, “Come on, Claw, we gotta go.”
Seattle was awesome. Pulled off without a hitch. Great performances by all of us. Um (the honorable name issued by Hot Lixx himself), ended up with the win. She earned it. The next day back at Whalin House, preparing for departure back to SF, Claw broke out his nunchaku he had planned for his performance. Thank God he didn’t use them because outside Casa BigAir, while swinging the chucks, one of them broke sending it straight to Singar who “took it on the chin”, literally. Fortunately, he was 20 feet away and the impact, hopefully, wasn’t so bad. But Singar’s a warrior. The Goat Demon. Singar’s a warrior, a Goat Demon, and a flying “numbchuck” is not enough to deter him from his mission. Sorry, man.
The SoCal leg of the TC West Coast Air Guitar Tour
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 – San Diego
Claw was fortunate to have accommodations at a Comic-Con hotel thanks to Ahab, a trusted friend of Comic-Com for his years of service. Those years of services yielded a six-pack of Comic-Com comps for Claw’s tour mates, Brock McRock from Houston, along with his manager and first-timer, Mormon Rockwell, and the always-entertaining, Shred Boy R.D.
Thursday, July 12, 2012 – San Diego
Boy RD stole the show, as we were all in air guitar uniform, him as Mike Myers. He was only rivaled by all the others dressed in superhero outfits. The three of us had to stop many times while people would stop RD for photos. Claw honestly believes Boy RD had more fun at Comic-Con than he did at the competition.
After arriving at the Soda Bar for the San Diego Regional, Claw crossed the street for food and beer. Respecting the club and not drinking out front, Claw sat in between the market and a gas station, across the street. After a swig, Claw noticed an SD police cruiser passing by, getting in the left lane to turn around, and come back. Claw got up to cross the street as another SDPD cruiser passed by, behind the first one. Claw threw his “40” into the back of Shred’s SUV, and ducked into the Soda Bar while the two SDPD cruisers were still waiting in the left-turn lane a block away. Claw clued in everyone, as we watched the two cruisers pull into the gas station across the street, get out of their rides, and sit and wait…for 20 minutes. As if they thought Claw would return. He did. But quicker than they could catch on. The SD show was awesome, even for the dive bar it was. Overnight accommodations were greatly appreciated by Boy RD, up in LA.
Friday, July 13, 2012 – Los Angeles
Claw obviously had a “40” handy upon awakening, before everyone else, but fell asleep when the others left for the beach. Claw went shopping and fortified the beer supply. While waiting for the bus to go one block back to Casa Boy RD (the blocks in LA are really, REALLY, long), the bus driver actually mentioned that beer was not allowed on the bus. He must have saw Claw from a half block away. He wouldn’t even accept a Claw card. (Ouch) LA Regional was off the charts. At the famous Troubadour, no less. Everyone kicked it into high gear, especially Six-String General, who eventually won LA.
Saturday, July 14, 2012 – San Francisco
The Four Horsemen of Air Guitar arrived in SF, at the Tiger Den. Claw’s hometown. The SF competition at The Independent was off the charts. Taken by Seth Leibowitz. (SETH LEIBOWITZ v3.0 (aka Houston Rockit – LA champ 2009, aka Steve Lavender – Brooklyn dark horse champ 2010, aka Tony Dilemma – SF runner-up 2011, thanks to Hot Lixx for the bio intel). Boy RD left Sunday for the long ride home while Brock and Mormon hung out to see the sights. The sights. Right. While Mormon and Claw left early for errands Brock heard a knock at the door (9am). He called us, “someone’s at the door, what do I do?” Let him in. It’s the landlord, delivering a new stove for Claw. After 17 years of inactivity. Ask him later.
Leg 3 – The National Finals
Saturday, July 21, 2012 – Denver
This was icing on the cake, finally meeting everyone in the air guitar family. Claw has spoken with them online over the years, seen the pics and vids, but never met. While 20 regional winners were present, also were another 30 veterans who Claw had yet to meet, and they had yet to meet Claw. It was an honor and a privilege. Whalin and Tony, from Portland, Lt. Facemelter from San Diego, Jason Leung and Chuck Mung from Seattle, Brock and Mormon from Houston (along with Boy RD who competed in SF for years), Goldiroxxx in SF who made the trip, Lost Heartbreaker from MN, Mean Melin out of Kansas City, Tommy Fretless, the “stache” Doug Strook, Van Dammage from Chi-Town, newcomers White Flame, Um and Weird Wallace, Windhammer, G Tso Money, Airistotle, Air Bear, Kara Picante, Flying Finn, and Nordic Thunder, my man…the list goes on. Now if only you had returned to the room so Claw didn’t have to sleep in the hallway, blocking the door, waiting for you.