Steve Weinberger wants to keep you from embarrassing yourself at the next concert. In his new book No Air Guitar Allowed, Weinberger runs down nearly every humiliating move and bad rock stereotype that can be found in San Diego’s dingiest rock club and largest venue. He does his best to keep ticket buyers from becoming the Wasted Guy, the Bro-Magnon, That Bitch (which always leads to a girl fight), a High-Five Idiot, or a Make-Out Couple.
“Number one, I’m the biggest geek in the book; I’ve made all these concert fouls myself,” Weinberger says, and he’s not kidding because what music fan would admit to being half of a Make-Out Couple at a 1990 Richard Marx concert? In the book, Weinberger describes being mesmerized by Marx’s mullet and “tourniquet-tight acid-washed jeans.”
While No Air Guitar Allowed is great at triggering readers’ concert memories, the best parts of the book are the “This Magic Moment” sidebars, in which he describes his run-ins and embarrassing moments while reviewing concerts. In the sections scattered throughout the book, he addresses the Cure’s Robert Smith’s makeup, uses Kip Winger as a haircut model, ponders who would see Foreigner without a date, notes Rush’s ability to draw 19,000 dudes and 5 chicks, and discloses why he’ll never again be able to listen to Billy Squier’s “Stroke Me.”
Weinberger, who has more than 30 years of ticket stubs under his belt and is now a father, has advice for both adults and kids, including “how to deal with the pit.” He cautions those returning to the rock arena for the first time in 20 years to stay away from marijuana; yesterday’s dried-out doobie doesn’t have the potency of today’s sticky, green chronic, he warns, so one puff could send the toker on a “Carlos Castaneda—style vision quest.”
He also advises the kids to appreciate parents who will fight traffic to haul them to a show and more than likely pay for their ticket.
– Larry Harmon