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Airguitars were wielded for the 12th time in Finnish Oulu, and this year the AAAA (All Austrian Airguitar Association) had reason to celebrate: The Austrian Champion Max "Herr Jaquelin" Heller came in third and also won the audience voting. The new Airguitar World Champion remained the same, Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke from Japan won for the second time in a row. Second was Guillaume "Moche Pitt" de Tonquédec from France. STALKER met the happy champ in Helsinki.
Guillaume, Ochi and Max (from left)
„It was great! I´d never expected that, and I did not even know that there are awards for the second and third, too, I heard about it at the contest“, says Max, 25, surveying and alignment technician from Northern Austria, who participated in Oulu for the second time. „Last year I came in 15th, but this time my performance went much better with the Foo Fighters-Song Monkey Wrench“ Max is indeed a musician, playing the drums with his band Panjapol (www.panjapol.com). His local fame, though, is rather based on his airguitar skills: „People at work actually recognise me, as Austrian media reported about it, and sometimes it´s difficult then to remain serious as a technician.“
The AAAA-Team in Oulu
Being third Max made the best results for Austrians so far, but back then he joined only by chance and „just for fun“ one of those airguitar events that are organised in Austria by AAAA-Boss Michael Klemsch since 2001. „Finns are really nice and open“, finds Max. „It´s not so much about the competition but about the people, airguitarists cheer for each other, there´s no competitiveness. We are one big family.“ And: „Finland is great, although the beer is so expensive.“
Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke
Yosuke became the second air guitarist who has ever won twice in a row, along with the 2001 and 2002 World Champion Zac Monro. In addition to the growing fame and prestige, the Japanese received a custom made Finnish guitar "Flying Finn“, de Tonquédec and Heller - along with Dainoji - got Nokia 5700 XpressMusic mobile phones. For the first time also the international air guitar audience got to vote its favourite, which turned out to be the Austrian contestant, who was awarded with a Baby Brian May electric guitar, signed by the Queen guitarist himself.
The Swiss Stefan „Bugi“ Meier at the qualifying round
Before the contest the qualifying Round of the Air Guitar World Championships was battled on Thursday at the rock club 45 Special, where the only woman in the contest, Finnish Hilkka "Gore Kitty" Suvanto made it to the Final, together with Swiss Stefan "Bugi" Meier, the Spanish David "Moreno del Metal" Moreno Gil and the German Christian "Heart Buckboard" Sweep. They were challenged with the winners from national championships of Japan, France, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, the United States, the Netherlands, Norway, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Greece (also Brazil participated for the first time, but the contestant didn´t make it to the Final), plus Dainoji defending his 2006 AGWC victory. After a round of optional songs, the ten best players performed a song chosen by the organisers, "I Don't Wanna Stop" by the heavy legend Ozzy Osbourne.
As usual, the contestants welcomed everyone to join in as they played their air guitars along with the song Rocking in the Free World. According to the air guitar ideology, all the bad things would disappear from the world if everyone played the air guitar.
Other treats during the night included emo/punk band Disco Ensemble and rapper Signmark. As the official AGWC Host acted radio station YleX host Jani Kortti. The air guitar event gathered approximately an audience of 1100 people.
Results of the Air Guitar World Championships and the points:
1. Ochi "Dainoji" Yosuke, Japan (34,6)
2. Guillaume "Moche Pitt" de Tonquédec, France (34,3)
3. Max "Herr Jaquelin" Heller, Austria (33,9) + The Winner of the Audience Vote
4. Christian "Heart Buckboard" Sweep, Germany (33,5)
5. Alessandro "Mystic Barrito" Veletta, Switzerland ( 33,0)
5. Tatsuya " Ichikawa the Rock" Ichikawa, Japan (33,0)
7. Ramon "The Shaking Devil" Compagnoni, Italy (32,4)
8. David "Moreno del Metal" Moreno, Spain (32,3)
8. Hassan "Mr. Hassan" Cordero Terriguez, Mexico (32,3)
10. John "Rootin Tootin Redneck Johno" Gerrand, New Zealand (31,8)
11. Stefan "Bugi" Meier, Switzerland (16,4)
11. Andrew "William Ocean" Litz, USA (16,4)
13. Tom "The T" Vorstius Kruijff, The Netherlands (16,2)
13. Renè Schmidt, Germany (16,2)
15. Kristian "Living Jukebox" Klevberg, Norway (16,0)
16. Wes "Tommy Air Manuel" Roe, Australia (15,9)
16. Gabi "The Hoxton Creeper" Matzeu, UK (15,9)
18. Tim "Glen Airy Glen Rocks" Evans, Canada (15,8)
18. Hilkka "Gore Kitty" Suvanto, Finland (15,8)
20. Petros "Muruth the Barberian" Stathatos, Greece (15,7)