By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Supported by his friends and family, Billmeier knew that playing air guitar was just a goof. But that was part of its appeal, he says. Plus, this particular goof ended up paying off.
"Look, I can totally understand how silly all of this sounds, but it's really great fun," he says. " And it's taken me to places that I never thought I'd go."
Billmeier choreographed an over-the-top stage routine that took him overseas in '06 and '07, but didn't result in his winning the World Championship until last year. Most air guitarists claim that it is the combination of song and stagecraft that propels a contestant to victory.
And though Billmeier knew he had the moves, he still needed a great song to bring him ultimate victory. Hott Lixx Houlahan chose "Car Crash" by DFW's own Toadies. Now, Billmeier will be hosting the Dallas contest.
"Next thing I know, these guys are presenting me with a box of air and I'm touring the country, making appearances and MCing events," he says.
Now that Billmeier is part of the USAG staff, he no longer has to worry about defending his crown. That leaves the U.S. and World Championships up for grabs. And Morrison, of course, is more than ready to fill those voids.
"This year is going to be it for me," Morrison predicts. "I've picked out my song that I'm keeping under wraps, and I'm going for the Hendrix look this year."
But the final word on the event has to come from Theron Rodriguez, production manager at The Loft, where the area's regional qualifier will be hosted this year.
"We booked that?" he replies, bemused. "Oh well, I've done worse. You know, a show is a show."