Michael von Poutine

Michael von Poutine

Red Deer man is an air guitar hero

Mike Daniels puts a whole new spin on “hot air.” The Red Deer man can play a guitar like no one else in Alberta — mind you, it’s an air guitar, made up entirely in his imagination. Daniels, whose stage name is Michael von Poutine, won the Alberta air guitar competition in Calgary recently and is now headed for the nationals in Toronto this weekend. If he wins that, he’ll be headed to the world competition in Finland in August. “Over there, they take air guitar very seriously.”

Mike Daniels puts a whole new spin on “hot air.”

The Red Deer man can play a guitar like no one else in Alberta — mind you, it’s an air guitar, made up entirely in his imagination.

Daniels, whose stage name is Michael von Poutine, won the Alberta air guitar competition in Calgary recently and is now headed for the nationals in Toronto this weekend. If he wins that, he’ll be headed to the world competition in Finland in August. “Over there, they take air guitar very seriously.”

In Calgary, he performed 60 seconds worth of a symphonic metal version of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’.

Air Guitar Canada rules state: The instrument must be invisible, i.e. air. An air guitarist may play an electric guitar or an acoustic one — or both. Performers are judged on originality, the ability to be taken over by the music, stage charisma, technique, artistic impression and airness.

Originally from Indiana, Daniels moved here because he “kinda got married” to a Red Deer woman. He is a permanent resident and expects to become a Canadian citizen in a few years.

He first got interested in air guitar some years ago when he came across a video of someone playing air guitar in front of a crowd. “He was all silver spandex and rocking out to Daft Punk’s Robot Rock. I was like: What the heck is this? and I found that it was actually the world championship final stage in Finland.

“This is silly. This is stupid. I want to be a part of it. That’s kind of what air guitar is, embracing the absurd,” Daniels said.

“I’m 32. I’m told I’m mentally 12.”

He’s been doing air guitar competitions in the U.S. since 2007, and while he has never won, he was only 0.1 points off winning in Chicago, he said. Every year he had a new song and new persona.

He chose Michael von Poutine because it seemed like a very Canadian name.

They don’t have poutine in Indiana, something he likes to eat. “When I came up here to visit my wife … I would always try to stop by New York Fries at Bower mall to have some.”

He’s been living here since December and works as a photographer at a local auto dealership.

Daniels does not play real guitar at all. The closest musical instrument experience he’s had is piano lessons as a kid and playing the snare drum in high school band.

The most he knows about playing guitar is “the closer that your hands are together, the higher pitch the note will be.”

He likes to think that maybe his “guitar” is a Gibson Flying V.

What did he win in Calgary? “Fame, glory, babes. Actually that’s all the stuff I did not get.” He won a trophy in a guitar shape made out of Alberta licence plates.

“It’s really nice. It’s also really heavy.”

He’s looking forward to representing Alberta in Toronto.

“I like to think air guitar shows are one-third rock show, one-third improv performance art and one-third comedy show.”

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

Nicole Buchanan, chair of Red Deer Public Schools board, says it’s too soon to say how the provincial government’s 2021-22 will impact the district. (Contributed file photo)
Red Deer school boards react to provincial budget

It’s still too soon to say how the latest provincial budget will… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

A nurse prepares to give the first COVID-19 vaccine to be distributed in Edmonton on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Doctors urge Alberta to hold off on easing COVID-19 restrictions next week

Doctors urge Alberta to hold off on easing COVID-19 restrictions next week

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro speaks during a press conference in Calgary on Oct. 7, 2020. The Alberta government and its 11,000 physicians have taken a first step toward resolving an ugly, fractious year-long dispute over fees and working conditions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta and its physicians move to end ugly feud over fees with new tentative deal

Alberta and its physicians move to end ugly feud over fees with new tentative deal

A worker carrying a disinfectant sprayer walks past a WestJet Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, after cleaning another plane at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

WestJet to lay off undisclosed number of pilots amid labour negotiations

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., Tuesday, April 18, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

British Columbia’s Site C dam to cost $16 billion, delayed until 2025

Mark Machin, President and CEO of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, speaks at a seminar on building a sustainable social security system in Beijing, China on Monday, Feb.20, 2017. Machin has resigned after admitting he was vaccinated for COVID-19 abroad. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Canada Pension Plan Investment Board MANDATORY CREDIT
CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

CPP Investments CEO Mark Machin resigns after travelling to UAE for COVID-19 vaccine

Selina Robinson listens to Premier John Horgan in Coquitlam, B.C., Friday, Nov. 17, 2017. Robinson, B.C's finance minister, says she's encouraged by predictions that British Columbia's economy will rebound this year and next. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

Economists predict slight rebound and moderate growth for B.C. economy in 2021

A street sign along Bay Street in Toronto's financial district is shown on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

S&P/TSX composite falls as commodities, financials struggle

Most Read