Why bother learning how to play a real guitar when there is a small amount of fame in air guitar?
Thirteen head-banging, flailing, finger-wagging competitors strutted their stuff at St. Vitus, the borough’s church of heavy metal on Manhattan Ave. between Clay and Box streets on Wednesday night where each was given 60 seconds to make believe they were playing lead six-string on their favorite song in hopes of earning the title, well, best fake guitar player, we guess.
And make believe they did.
“It’s just jamming out, putting up some song that you’re into and feeling it, going for it,” said 27-year-old Josh Perry, who performed to Steel Panther’s “Eye of the Panther” under the name Doctor Rocktapus. “Hearing the excitement of the music overcomes you, and you focus on that.”
The top five contestants advanced to the second round, where the competition got much tougher, as finalists had to rock out to randomly chosen songs — some they might not be familiar with. Perry, for instance, was told to dance to an obscure song called “Gay Party,” which we could not find on iTunes, and one that was much more interesting to Google than the aforementioned “Eye of the Panther.”
“It’s tricky when you don’t know the song,” he said.
When all was said and done, a fake guitarist by the name of David C. Roth took home top prize, with G. Tso Money coming in second. Both earned the right to compete in the New York City championships, which will be held at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom in July.
Andrew Litz, the two-time U.S. air guitar champion, co-hosted Wednesday’s event. He won the U.S. title by beating about 500 competitors each time, but has thus far failed in his quest to become world champion. That contest, of course, takes place in Finland.
The best air guitarists, according to Litz, are the ones who are able to lose themselves in the song.
“You can imagine them in their room alone doing the same thing,” said Litz, who performs under the name William Ocean. “They don’t care that there is a crowd, or people are screaming and throwing beer.”Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@c