Admin

Posted by

Mike Dow Mike Dow
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

edge staff writer

Share

U.S. Air Guitar champ ‘Smiley Rod’ set to defend his title

Rate this item
(0 votes)
2020 U.S. Air Guitar Champion Smiley Rod says he is ready to defend his title at the U.S. Air Guitar finals event scheduled for August that will air on ESPN2. The Nashville resident, who prefers not reveal his real name, says he manages the careers of a number of notable music makers. At the World Air Guitar Championship event scheduled for 2022 in Finland, air guitarists from around the world will battle it out in front of a panel of judges to claim the global title. The United States is the winningest nation with a 41% win rate, according to Smiley Rod. 2020 U.S. Air Guitar Champion Smiley Rod says he is ready to defend his title at the U.S. Air Guitar finals event scheduled for August that will air on ESPN2. The Nashville resident, who prefers not reveal his real name, says he manages the careers of a number of notable music makers. At the World Air Guitar Championship event scheduled for 2022 in Finland, air guitarists from around the world will battle it out in front of a panel of judges to claim the global title. The United States is the winningest nation with a 41% win rate, according to Smiley Rod. (Photo by Kyle Payton)

The reigning champion of air guitar in the United States says he is stoked to defend his title at this year’s national championship set for June. ‘Smiley Rod,’ a Nashville-based artist manager, says his surprise win in 2020 was no fluke and that he’s prepared to virtually shred winningly once again to bring home another U.S. win. After that, he says, he’ll take the world title.

About that name, Smiley Rod explains that many U.S. Air Guitar Championship contestants use variations of their actual name and that his moniker was bestowed upon him while onstage one magical evening several years ago.

How does one actually become an internationally renowned air guitarist? According to Smiley Rod, the first step is to survey your competition from afar. In his case, he watched some YouTube videos of a competitor named Nordic Thunder, a Chicago-based air guitarist.

“I was impressed with what I saw so I looked up the nearest competition,” Rod said during an interview. “Some college friends joined me and it turned out to be the best night of the summer. I kept signing up for more competitions and came to know many people in the air guitar community.”

Rod describes that community as kind of a fun summer camp where friends get together each year to have a good time.

“10 years later, I’m still doing it,” Rod says. And these days, he’s become the guy to beat.

At the U.S. Air Guitar Championship, the only official national competition recognized by the Air Guitar World Championships, contestants are judged on three main criteria: technical merit, meaning it actually appears that you’re playing the guitar. Second is stage presence, a contestant’s ability to captivate an audience. The third point of criteria is something called “airness.” I asked Rod to define it.

“You just know airness when you see it,” he explained. “That’s kind of the one that wows you the most.”

At least 10 countries take part in the Air Guitar World Championships held each August in Oulu, Finland. This summer’s world championship has been moved to 2022, but Smiley Rod says the U.S. Championship is firmly in place on the schedule for June. For the first time, the event will air on ESPN 2 later this summer in a program that will cover the history of U.S. Air Guitar, highlights from four regional championships and all the action from the 2021 finals.

The U.S. has a 41% win rate, according to Smiley Rod, which makes us the country with the most air guitar wins.

When a contestant is called to the stage, they have only 60 seconds to wow the judges and hopefully nail the three crucial points of judging criteria. Selecting a key piece of music is essential, according to Rod.

“You want the judges to check off all three boxes in 60 seconds so it’s vital that you pick a song you can match,” he said.

In 2020, Rod took the stage to the song “Heart Attack American” by L.A. punk band The Bronx. It’s loud and fast, and Rod says that’s his formula for success.

“Other people seem to do well with slower music but a more technically sound performance where you can tell they’re really picking away,” he said.

For the record, Rod says he’s actually a drummer and does not play guitar in real life.

Last year, he beat 25 other contestants on the national stage, many of them actual players. As it turned out, one of the people providing play-by-play commentary during Rod’s win last summer was none other than his initial inspiration, Nordic Thunder.

Rod says he’s in training at the moment, preparing for his minute in the spotlight next month.

“I’m doing a lot of running around in my backyard and looking at myself in the mirror,” Rod said. There must be more to it than that, right? “Stretching is also important,” he added.

Van Halen famously had a clause built into a concert rider demanding M&Ms with all of the brown candies removed. What might Smiley Rod’s concert rider look like if he had one?

“Gotta have lots of Skittles backstage,” he said. “Skittles and Red Bull, because that sugar rush is important when you hit the stage.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 26 May 2021 05:43

Advertisements

The Maine Edge. All rights reserved. Privacy policy. Terms & Conditions.

Website CMS and Development by Links Online Marketing, LLC, Bangor Maine