Clark County native rocks air guitar into national competition

A Tecumseh High School graduate will compete in the U.S. Air Guitar’s National Finals competition.

J.D. Frankland, 51, a Clark County native has participated in several air guitar tournaments since 2005 after a co-worker challenged him to perform in an L.A. competition. He went, had a ball and since then has continued playing an imaginary guitar across the country.

He recently won first place in a competition in Nashville, Tenn., and third in a contest in Chicago, reserving his spot at the national finals. The U.S Air Guitar association was founded in 2003 and its motto is “The greatest thing you’ve never seen.” The championship will be held Aug. 6 in Austin, Texas.

Frankland, a former copywriter who recently moved to Jackson, Ohio, performs under the pseudonym Andres SegoviAIR in honor of the late Spanish classical guitar player Andres Segovia. Segovia’s style of music inspired him and surprised judges.

“I was just struck by his guitar technique,” Frankland said. “It’s totally different than Rock n’ Roll.”

Segovia’s acoustic nuevo-flamenco music makes Frankland stand out at competitions — more than he already does performing as an amputee. In 2013 he began performing while sitting since his leg was amputated.

“After my amputation… I would lose my balance,” Frankland said.

He said the Spanish culture he was introduced to as a student at Tecumseh greatly influenced him, leading him to explore and appreciate Spanish music and Latino radio stations.

“It stays in the back of your mind … until I started using it,” Frankland said.

Contestants are judged based on stage presence, appearance and how convincingly they play air guitar. Sitting allows him to more easily command the stage and audience, he said.

“It’s got me noticed … and I just ran with it,” he said.

Frankland is hopeful for his future with air guitar and wants to continue performing.

“I’m not nervous about (the finals) … at least not yet,” he said. “Once the music starts, anything can happen.”