My name is Hot Lixx Hulahan
and I play Air Guitar.
If it sounds ridiculous that's because it is.
Age 8 – get a tennis racket for Christmas. Participate in four afterschool group tennis lessons before tying a shoelace to the racket and putting it to much better use as a makeshift guitar. Soundtrack: Billy Joel, Foreigner, theme from Spiderman cartoon.
Age 9 – after seeing the video for Van Halen’s “Jump” I sustain my first real rock’n’roll injury by doing a backflip with my tennis racket and landing on my head. Chiropractors would later describe this as my first major spinal sublexation. Many, many more sublexations would follow, and all in the same vain.
Age 10 – get my first real guitar. I am taught the chords to “Rock You Like A Hurricane” and much like a hurricane I wreak havoc and devastation on one of the simplest songs in heavy metal. The guitar, however, comes with a proper strap and I soon realize I find greater joy in jumping on the bed faking my way through the song than I do in sitting down and practicing it.
Age 12 – finally, finally, nail the 5 chords in “Rock You Like A Hurricane.” This leads me down a road of power chord madness. Due to my continued experience with a ‘real’ instrument my air guitar style would later be filed under the “Technical School of Airness,” meaning my emphasis leaned more towards technical accuracy rather than grand gesturing. I actually try to hit every note. It would also be explained to me later that my style was very “American” in that I packed my routine with as much stuff as possible, “like a Hollywood blockbuster.” To that I say, “Like, whatev.”
Age 14 – the year is 1987 and MTV is splitting at the seams with such flamboyant and gregarious guitar players as Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Michael Angelo, and CC DeVille. At such a formative age this becomes the mold from which I emerge.
Age 15 – I start and/or join countless punk bands. I tour six of the seven continents where I learn the importance and skill in making audiences pay attention. This would later prove to be the fundamental reason I won the NYC National competition.
Age 28 – After a month on tour with our band documentarian Carl Cordova sums up my guitar playing as “air guitar but with a real guitar.” The generally agreed adjective for how I play is “over-expressive.” Fellow band members often lament my choice of action over accuracy. Many notes missed, many jumps jumped. Some would argue that my air guitar playing is far more accurate than my real guitar playing while my real guitar playing is more flamboyant than my air guitar playing. Go figure.
Age 32, Thanksgiving, 2005 – after a feast of Tofurkey and beer I feel inspired by "Freewheel Burning” and jump on my coffee table to act out both Glenn Tipton and KK Downing. James Dardis, an out-of-towner easily brought to tears of laughter, with a tattoo on his forearm of a gun pointing at you with HAVE A NICE DAY written around it, demands I enter an air guitar contest if ever there is one. I change the record from Judas Priest to The Reflex’ “The Politics of Dancing” and promise I will, as soon as I win a Rock Paper Scissors contest, har har har…
May 2006 – sure
enough, the world hosts both air guitar contests and Rock Paper Scissors
While competitive air guitar it is not as lucrative as competitive Rock
Paper Scissors (that competition has a $25,000 purse!), I figure air
more prestige. And it turns out
the US Air
Guitar Nationals are coming through San Francisco. Many emails are sent
my way with a link to the entry application, as if this kind of thing
would appeal to me. Apparently it does because four days before the
competition I make good on my promise to James Dardis and enter, but
the event was being held two blocks from my girlfriend’s house
and also on the night I usually stayed with her. Oh, and because entering
an air guitar contest fits nicely on my list of Stupidest Things I’ve
Done, along with farting into the PA at Lamppost Pizza on my first day
of work, bathing in the pond outside The Louve, and making fun of Tom
Ryder’s bike in 7th grade.