Pete Townshend - The Windmill
Rock guitarists and ludicrous onstage antics go hand in hand. Whether it’s Jimi Hendrix’s innovative approach to flossing, Justin Hawkins tendency to mount the security, or Townshend’s armoury of acrobatics, here are 10 classic guitarist stage moves…
Pete Townshend – The Windmill
The daddy of stage moves by the god of guitar histrionics, Uncle Pete’s windmill is irresistible, simply requiring you to ‘rev up’ your strumming arm like a cartoon boxer. The only danger is that ‘the windmill’ can become ‘the kebab’, as the Who man learned when he impaled his hand on his whammy bar at a gig in 1989.
Pete Townshend – The Windmill video
The audio's quite out of sync here, but it's the best we could find...
Angus Young - The Spasm
Dropping onto his back, writhing, spinning and flailing, all while still soloing, the AC/DC manchild’s most iconic stage move is seemingly based on a toddler being refused sweets. It was actually invented when he tripped on a cable at a ’70s club show. And get this: he’s not even pissed.
Angus Young - The Spasm video
Begins: 5m 36s
Tenacious D - The Powerslide
The powerslide was patented by Pete Townshend in Won’t Get Fooled Again, hijacked by Premiership strikers, but stolen back by Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Coasting on both knees works best with velvet trousers, a polished parquet floor and a groupie with tweezers to remove the splinters.
Tenacious D - The Powerslide video
Taken from Tenacious D's 2006 film The Pick Of Destiny. Begins: 0m 40s
Jimmy Page - The Bow
Nothing in The Rules says you have to use a plectrum and a highlight of early Zep shows was Pagey molesting his Tele with a violin bow. He also inspired the funniest moment of Spinal Tap, when Nigel Tufnel plays his Flying V with a violin.
Jimmy Page - Bow solo video
Yngwie Malmsteen - The Whirligig
Spinning your guitar over your shoulder à la Yngwie is child’s play. First, check your strap locks. Then step over your lead and launch that bad boy with intent. Wait for the sickening crunch of headstock on cranium, gather up your little brother’s teeth in a handkerchief and phone for an ambulance.
Yngwie Malmsteen - The Whirligig/Strap Spin video
Begins: 0m 21s
Jimi Hendrix - The Showboater
As if Little Wing wasn’t hard enough, Hendrix’s past in R&B show bands meant he hit London with a bag of tricks, including soloing between his legs, behind his back and using his teeth. Watching slackmouthed, Britrock’s class of ’66 shared the same thought: ‘Well, that’s us screwed, then…’
Jimi Hendrix - Teeth Solo video
Grant Nicholas - The Scissor-Kick
This legs-akimbo jump-for-joy is best launched from the drum riser as you hit the chorus while wearing loose trousers and underwear without holes. Feeder’s Nicholas didn’t invent it, but gets the nod for the cool-as sleeve of The Singles.
Hank Marvin - The Shadows Shuffle
Back in the ’50s, when ankles were pornography, The Shadows minted a stage move so mild that audience arousal was not an option. It saw Marvin, Bruce Welch and Jet Harris toting their guitars like Buckingham Palace guardsmen and shuffling footto- foot like virgins at a tea dance.
Hank Marvin - The Shadows Shuffle video
Begins: 0m 27s
Chuck Berry - The Duckwalk
Jutting your arse and waddling might seem more like symptoms of constipation than a cultural flashpoint. Yet in the ’50s, the duckwalk established rock was one part music, one part exhibitionism. At 84, Chuck’s knees ain’t what they were, but he still makes a token effort live.
Chuck Berry - The Duckwalk video
Begins: 1m 49s
Justin Hawkins - The Shoulder Ride
Angus did it first, but The Darkness man brought it back. You will need: one strongbacked roadie who doesn’t mind your sweaty balls in the nape of his neck, one wireless system and a burgeoning messiah complex. Now make your stately progress around the arena, soloing like a maniac, while your adoring audience parts like the Red Sea before you.