Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Tom Morello, Patrick Stump ... the list of gifted guitarists from Chicago is a long one, and the list of their accomplishments is even longer. But one thing none of them ever had was a Dr. Pepper commercial. Apparently none of their fretwork ever approached the uniqueness of the Doctor's 23-flavor blend.
Come April 8, one famous Chicago guitarist can claim that Pepper prize: legendary air guitarist Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard, the 2012 Air Guitar Champion of the World. Mr. Thunder has joined Dr. Pepper's "One of a Kind" campaign, which markets individuality as a key component of a beverage that's consumed by millions of people every day.
"Individual" fits Thunder as easily as an imaginary guitar strap.
"Air guitar is the one thing that I have discovered in my life that really allows to me to completely be myself totally and unapologetically," the 29-year-old says in the video below. "Just like, 'This is who I am. I like to have fun. I like to look like an idiot. I'm a dork. I have long hair. I stink.'
"And in the world of air guitar, that's all totally acceptable."
Thunder has toured the world with his custom-built Flying Jim Bluevie, made by Thunder's party-pal in Mexico who is renowned for making some of the finest guitars in the world. (OK, that's all as real as an air guitar.)
An air guitar prodigy at 17, he makes his musician friends jealous to this day because they are stuck hauling actual musical equipment around. Instead, he uses air guitar to spread world peace and even moreso, to express himself.
He may be adored around the world for his rendition of his favorite song--"War Pigs" by Black Sabbath--but he lives by a simple motto.
"Fame is temporary," he says, "but air guitar is forever."
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