Untitled

In his first column, Garrett Kamps ponders the big questions

Wait, that's bullshit. He's totally fucked.


Sure enough, Johndrow's happy-go-lucky composure doesn't stand a chance, not against the spazzmotic freakout of the body-condom-wearing Airtight Messiah, not against Bjorn Toroque's Led Zeppelin mega-medley, and certainly not against Benjamin Walkin, who is miraculously cured of his paralysis onstage by none other than God himself -- the God who, according to Walkin's T-shirt, "Rocks!!!!"

But no one -- not me, not Johndrow, not even the panel of judges, which includes Audioslave's Tom Morello, arguably one of the best real guitarists of the last decade -- is prepared for C. Diddy. Really, seriously, the only way to say it: Holy Fucking Shit. When Diddy goes head to head with West Coast winner Krye Tuff, "playing" the solo from Extreme's "Play With Me," which sounds like the heavy metal equivalent of "Flight of the Bumble Bee," I can actually see the guitar. When he swings it around his head toward the audience, I flinch; when he hurls himself around the stage, I worry that he'll break it or, for that matter, screw up the song, which is impossible because he's not even playing an instrument. But shit, that's not what it looks like. And, of course, the Hello Kitty breastplate is a really nice touch.

After the show -- after everyone gets back onstage to play air guitar to Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World" and C. Diddy riles the crowd up into chants of "USA! USA!" as he promises victory at the world championships in August in Finland -- Johndrow goes out with his friends and parties like a rock star on the Sunset Strip. The next Monday, he goes back to working downtown as an accountant. And that's that.


But me, I have some things to think over. Namely, in the context of Hickey's quote, I find myself musing, What kind of Air Guitarist am I? When I write about music -- as I'll be doing in this here space, week in, week out -- am I like Johndrow, content to play the song I know by heart, wear the bluejeans and wig, and settle for just showing up? Or am I like C. Diddy, unapologetically wielding my (Cauc)Asian Fury? In other words, can you hear the music I'm writing about? Can you actually see the guitar? I hope so. And toward that end, I'm taking the master's advice. When asked the secret of his success, Diddy offered the simplest of words: "Enjoy yourself, so the audience may enjoy you."

To which I'm adding: And refrain from playing it safe.


As you may have noticed, this column has no name. Please give it one. E-mail suggestions to garrett.kamps@sfweekly.com. I will choose a name on Aug. 20. The winner will get some CDs or something.

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