According to the Oxford English Dictionary (online edition), the earliest documented occurrence of the term air guitar in print dates back to 1980:
- 1980 Hartford (Connecticut) Courant 24 Apr. 2/5 (caption) Roy Charette displays his prize-winning form at playing the ‘air’ guitar. 1980 Mountain Democrat (Placerville, Calif.) 19 Dec. A6/1 The fans whip out their air guitars to catch all of Mick Taylor’s licks. 1982 N.Y. Times 21 Feb. XXIII. 15/4 (heading) Her performance almost convinces the audience that she holds a real guitar and not a tennis racquet… ‘Air guitar’, the art of miming musical performances, has caught on around the country. A New Haven nightclub..held the Connecticut air-guitar championships. 1995 Guardian 30 June (Friday Review section) 18/1 Whole venues full of people..playing air guitar and moving their heads in an exaggerated side-to-side motion. 2002 D. AITKENHEAD Promised Land xiii. 139 We did our best to look impressed, but really it was just Armien, standing outside a shed, playing air-guitar on an imaginary AK-47.
That sounds about right to me: I started playing air guitar when I was around 13 years old. Doesn’t everyone?
I indulged in some very public air guitar last night, as well.
Last night we joined Björn Türoque (aka Jean-Luc Retard, my bandmate in Nous Non Plus, aka Dan Crane) and his lovely wife Kate for one of the regional editions of the US Air Guitar Championship at the High Ball in Austin. Björn and Kate travel around the country, emceeing these super-fun events.
Tracie P didn’t join me on stage last night (she’s more of air drum person and man, don’t let this woman loose in the Abba and/or Xanadu karaoke room!).
I couldn’t resist the Chicken Fried Hanger Steak at Lambert’s before the event (probably not the best idea, unfortunately, in the wind-up to an air guitar competition). Lambert’s allows corkage and so we paired with an awesome bottle of 2006 Le Ragose Valpolicella, one of my favorite expressions of the appellation, earthy and grapey, a superb barbecue and southern cooking pairing.
That’s all I have time for this morning as I’m headed out the door. You’re not going to believe where I’ll be tonight… Stay tuned… and thanks for reading!