World Air Guitar Champion Is In Finland To Defend His Title The 2017 world air guitar finals are Friday night in Finland, and Matt Burns is there. He was last year's winner. Burns picked "Airistotle" as his nom de rock.
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World Air Guitar Champion Is In Finland To Defend His Title

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World Air Guitar Champion Is In Finland To Defend His Title

World Air Guitar Champion Is In Finland To Defend His Title

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  • Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All right, Ailsa, it's Friday. It's almost the weekend. I mean, I feel like we should just turn up some music.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Yes. I am so ready for this.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Now, this song is really important because it put Matt Burns in a class of his own.

MATT BURNS: I'm the reigning world air guitar champion. And I am in Finland right now to defend my world title.

CHANG: The Air Guitar World Championships get underway today. And to be clear, there are no guitars in sight in this competition. Matt Burns, who goes by the stage name Airistotle - get it, Airistotle? - says...

GREENE: I see what you did there.

CHANG: ...Judges score each performance in three categories.

BURNS: They're looking for technical merit, which is how much it looks like you're playing an actual guitar, stage presence, and finally and by far the most important is airness.

GREENE: Airness?

BURNS: Airness is almost impossible to define. It's just kind of like the je ne sais quoi. What you're doing transcends the act of imitation and becomes an art form in and of itself.

CHANG: The je ne sais quoi, David.

GREENE: Yes.

CHANG: Matt Burns says he was inspired after seeing a documentary called "Air Guitar Nation."

BURNS: And I was like, that is the silliest, dumbest, most beautiful, amazing thing I've ever seen. And I signed up for the next competition that I could.

GREENE: Yeah. Burns says he starts preparing for competition months in advance. He has to find just the right song, and then he workshops it.

BURNS: I usually go to a buddy of mine's house, and we'll all just have a bunch of beers. And they kind of like help coach me. They're like, dude, if your knee's not higher, Japan's going to win the championship this year.

CHANG: And if youre thinking about trying your hand at air guitar, well, Matt Burns offers these tips.

BURNS: You do not have to be in good shape for this, which is a huge plus. And stretching does help because it is like a physical thing. I used to take Zumba classes to help get me ready for the season. I think Zumba and air guitar have a lot in common because its such over-the-top movements that the two go hand-in-hand.

GREENE: Well, there's your newest ad for Zumba. If you need to air guitar, take Zumba. That was world champion air guitarist Airistotle, also known as Matt Burns. He defends his title later today at the final of the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland. And here is what he will be shredding.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I WILL SURVIVE")

ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES: (Singing) I will survive. Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive. I've got all my life to live, and I've got all my love to give. And I'll survive. I will survive. Hey, hey.

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