First-time author reveals concert misadventures in ‘No Air Guitar Allowed’

May 14, 2008 at 7:17 am (Rock In Print) (, , , )

Interview by Derek Jensen

Author Steve Weinberger has written the ultimate primer for attending rock concerts, a giggle-a-page marathon called No Air Guitar Allowed. As its tongue-in-cheek title suggests, this is a rundown of every silly behavior or bizarre character you’ve ever encountered at a rock show, categorized and described in an achingly real yet wonderfully loving away. At a time when rock & roll is becoming way too serious for its own good (re: emo), Weinberger dares to poke fun at it all, including himself.

Derek Jensen: There are so many different characters in No Air Guitar Allowed, and just about every one of them I’ve seen through the years. How did you keep track of them all? It seems you got all of the bases covered.

Weinberger: When I think about certain shows, the characters I saw at those shows always seem to come back to me. I would stand back before and during the intermission and just watch people. The way they dressed, talked, acted…it became an obsession almost. Classic rock tended to really bring people out of the closet along with some awful clothes. Women trying to get into the same outfits they wore¬†20 years ago and guys wearing that to tight tour shirt.

Jensen: What have you written prior to No Air Guitar Allowed?

Weinberger: This is my first attempt at a complete book. I have nothing written to report so you can pretty much call me a first-time author. I really wrote this book with a screenplay in mind. I can picture a Christopher Guest type mockumentary.

Jensen: You’re a very funny man but your writing has a pretty sarcastic undertow that could only come from someone who is also well-read. Who are your influences as a writer?

Weinberger: It is more TV and film that has influenced me the most as a writer more than say books. Seinfeld is my favorite show of all time along with The Office, King of Queens, Family Guy, and a few others. Christopher Guest movies obviously, Woody Allen, and Napolean Dynamite are some other people and films I enjoy. I also get good comedy from dramatic pieces as well.

Jensen: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done at a concert? Actually, for the enjoyment of our readers, confess a couple.

Weinberger: Actually, I am pretty well-behaved at shows. I did almost get in a fight because I snuck down and sat in front of people¬†who refused to stand at a Fleetwood Mac show. I said,”This is a concert. How can you sit down while Lindsey Buckingham is tearing it up.” He said, “Dude, those are not even your seats.” I will get you kicked out of here right now.” We sat down! One time I spilled a beer on some huge guy’s girlfriend and then ran never to be found again. I really was not controversial at many shows.

Jensen: Of all the characters in No Air Guitar Allowed, who is the most like you?

Weinberger: As boring as this sounds, I am like the Time Cop. I have been all the other characters at least one time or another, but I hate to be late at a show. I get real tense and feel like I missed the rhythm of the night. I need to camp out early, see the people, digest them, and get a feel of what could happen. Walking in late or missing part of the headliner kills me! To me, it is like walking into a movie and missing the guy getting killed in the beginning.


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