Air Quotes: Press
“A thirtysomething identity crisis can take many forms; Dan Crane’s involved a jumpsuit, alcohol, and simulated six-string action to ”Rock You Like a Hurricane.” He chronicles his obsessive three-year adventure on the competitive air-guitar circuit as the Nietzsche-quoting Björn Türoque in amusing detail in To Air Is Human — from breaking an air string to hitting on air groupies — while seeking meaning in a farcical art form (”It was…the manifestation of nothing, rendered visible”). Devil horns for this reductive takedown of L.A.: ”They got the fake t–s, the fake smiles, and they’ve even got fake air guitars.'”
—Dan Snierson, July 28, 2006
TimeOut New York
It shouldn’t be a surprise that air guitar—the limb-flailing lingua franca headbangers employ to mind-meld in reverie with their fave axemen—has transformed into a competitive performance sport, complete with judges‚ scores and a world championship in Finland. What is surprising is that a you-are-there account would be published, and so soon. In To Air Is Human, Dan Crane (nom d’air Björn Türoque) does for the air-guitar world what George Plimpton’s gonzo-journalism Paper Lion did for football.
The Plimpton comparison is apt: Like the late Paris Review editor, Türoque is a well-connected, media-savvy bon vivant. He’s also a hipster musician who used to be in a faux-French band called Les Sans Culottes. Along his air-strum vision quest to become champion of the world, Türoque waxes (axes?) philosophically about air guitar’s “collective spirit of music,” the Three Beer Rule, and rival airists C-Diddy and Rockness Monster.
Beneath the Nietzsche quotes, laced-up leather pants and obsessive pop-culture asides, Türoque emerges as a sympathetic sage. What French philosopher Jean Baudrillard calls the “simulacrum,” the Disneyland original without a copy, becomes for this glory-seeking author a simulrockrum—an art in and of itself.
—Daniel Nester, Aug 3-9, 2006
“What makes this memoir more enduring than Björn’s noteriety for finishing as runner-up in competition—a failure he proudly claims carries even more rock cache than winning—are the moments in which he pauses to reflect on the pastime as a cultural event. His text is a social critique whose subjects include the air guitarist as a figure of pure passion, musical “talent” as a relative term, the real fame attained by fake artists. The author’s analyses are offered ironically, but always have the ring of truth.
An absurd yet contemplative chronicle that will charm anyone that believes in rocking hard with a guitar—or with nothing at all.”
—Kirkus Reviews June 1, 2006
“Behind Türoque’s flamboyant life story lies the universal impulse to quit your job, change your life, and follow your dreams—however unfashionable or implausible they might be.”
–anthem magazine, issue 24 (fall 2006)
“Björn Türoque is so good that people with real guitars now have contests to see who can do the best imitation of his air guitar imitation.”
—Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink and The Tipping Point
“With hilarious detail, Türoque/Crane recounts what became a three-year, nearly full-time immersion into the cutthroat, usually drunken, but always serious world of air guitar competitors, who choreograph detailed 60-second routines of air-jumping, air-fretting, air–power-chording and air-soloing in order to be “transposed from insignificance into supernatural supershredding superheroes.”
“Björn Türoque, Nietzsche scholar, artisan, or should I say “air-tisan,” is the second greatest air guitarist I’ve never heard in my life! Thank God he wrote a book! If Turoque’s seductive and sizzling rock ‘n’ roll glamour is fool’s gold, then I’m a fool!”
—Jonathan Lethem, author of Fortress of Solitude and Motherless Brooklyn
“I think there are very few invisible musical instrument players out there who can claim the chops and sheer perseverance of Björn Türoque, the world’s perennial second-place air guitar champion. Whoever this Dan Crane might be, he’s captured the mad, seductive spirit of the arbitrary skill contest perfectly, and rocks it hard into the hot Finnish night. There is no number of umlauts that do this Jekyll and Hyde of air-rocking justice.”
—John Hodgman, author of The Areas of My Expertise
“The Björn-man has revivified the practice of air guitar by celebrating rather than suppressing the sheer schmuckiness of the whole art form. Björn is a mad man, of course, best known for his cascading air-arpeggios, but he is not in denial. He lays bare the whole artist-as-schmuck/schmuck-as-artist binary that Greil Marcus has devoted so many pages to deconstructing. He is the past of air guitar and its future. My man!”
—Dave Hickey, author of The Invisible Dragon and Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy
“Few men can mix the tragic nature of the male episode with that extraordinary super-antidote to the pedestrian that is air-guitar. Björn, however, is such a man. Read this book. Understand.”
—Zac “The Magnet” Monro, Air Guitar World Champion 2001 & 2002.
“At long last, after years of neglect, the noble art of air guitar has its own whatever-the-best-book-of-all-time-about-painting-is.”
—David Rees, author of Get Your War On