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Worst air-guitar injury?
I had to go to the emergency room after nationals that year [2009 in Washington, D.C.].... I almost gave myself a concussion on the stage.... I hit the floor with my head, and then everything was dizzy for a while. I couldn't hear [host] Björn [Türoque]. He had to help me up. And I thought this was only temporary, but I was pretty dazed for the rest of the show, and my ear was just killing me.... I went to the emergency room because I wanted to make sure that it was OK to go on the plane after that.
Guitar Hero or Rock Band?
I don't play either of those. I'm a purist. I don't need to hold a piece of plastic.
Does air guitar help or hurt your chances of getting lucky?
I think it helps. Despite what my girlfriend says about how nerdy and silly it is, as long as she's there at the moment of triumph, the 59-second mark of any song of any onstage performance, I think it's impossible for women not to be swept up in that moment.
Tell me about your wardrobe.
For me, the pants have to be loose enough to do a lot of jumping around. They have to be well-stitched in the crotch area because I've had problems there before. And I have to go sleeveless. I will forever be a sleeveless air guitarist because I've heard from other people that their favorite thing about watching me is seeing my arms getting all tense and muscular and whatever. I guess that's the one moment in my life that I can say that happens.
What is your pre-air-guitar ritual?
Drinking beer and listening to my song over and over on headphones, and going into the corner of the backstage area and forgetting that there's anybody watching me and concentrating on my song. For me, it's more about getting the fingering right on the air guitar, and then once you have that ingrained in the back of your head, you can concentrate on your performance. Even until the last minute, I'm thinking about getting all those little details right so that when I go onstage, I don't have to worry about it anymore. It just happens automatically. My limbs just move.
Why will you win?
Because I've got deep love for the art form, and I'm not afraid to take chances.
What is your signature move?
Take the guitar, throw it around your body, and catch it on the other side right at the high note. Swinging the guitar around the body — what would you call that? The only thing that comes to mind is the "Kip Winger guitar hurl." He was a bass player, of course, but in the "Seventeen" video, he did that move where he threw it around and caught it. Coming from him, it looked really bad. I'm not afraid of that.
Please don't make me play ...
... anything by Pearl Jam or the Smashing Pumpkins or Alice in Chains. Any of that '90s alternative mainstream rock. It's so serious that it's not fun.
Finish this sentence: Excuse me while I ...
... slay your eye.
From Roller Derby to Air Goddess
Name: Christy Ubelaker
Air-guitar alias: Rabid Dong
Day job: Veterinary technician at the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City
Who is Rabid Dong?
A rock goddess
Who is your guitar hero?