Where Is He Now: the Original Little Caesar’s Air Guitar Guy

Posted by Holly Whitfield | July 13th 2012 1132 1

If you passed through the intersection of Park and Mt. Moriah sometime between roughly 2006 and 2010, you've probably seen Chris Robinson. But chances are, you don't know him as Chris – you know him as the Little Caesar's Air Guitar Guy.

He was the Tony Allen of sign holding. Headphones on, Chris played his square pizza sign like it was a flying V and he was in an arena, not on a street corner during rush hour. He jumped, he slid, he arched his back and lifted his air guitar to traffic in a neverending, silent solo.

Chris Robinson, Memphis, Tenn.

Though Chris has been replaced by a new, less exciting Little Caesar's sign holder, he's still in Memphis. I caught up with him to find out where he is now:

So, where are you now?

Right now, I’m at home doing a bunch of nerd stuff. I have a hobby / side job where I fix iPhones and computers. I also work in the art department at Brunner Printing. It’s a pretty fun job.

No more Little Caesar’s?

I quit about two years ago.

Did Little Caesar's sell more pizza when you were working?

I couldn't tell you how many people came up to me saying I made them want to buy a pizza!

What do you think when you see other sign holders?

I think, “That used to be me.” I know how it feels to be out there. I got lucky, though – I hit a sense of awareness on the first day (of the job). It’s going to be just as embarrassing not matter what, so you may as well have fun.

At least they never made you wear a costume.

I chose not to wear the costume. There was a gorilla suit. I wore it once, just to see what it was like and said no. It was 80 degrees outside and the mask kept falling in my eyes, and I said no. I just did my own thing.

You do know that you ruined sign holding for everyone, right?

I get that so much. I’ve had people who are sign holders come up to me and be so angry because they’re getting told “You should be more like that guy at Park and Mt. Moriah.” I’ve gotten so much crap for that.

Do you still get recognized? How often?

In my heyday, it was every day. Now, it’s about once a month.

How did the job change you?

I used to be the shyest person before that job. It helped with my anxieties and gave me confidence. The way it changed me was important – I’m not afraid to go into a new situation.

Did the sign help you meet girls?

A lot of girls came up and talked to me. I was in high school – I didn’t understand that some of them actually thought I was cute. I just thought that people were being nice.

You got to see a lot of Memphis drivers. Do you have anything you’d like to say to them?

Drivers should stop picking their noses. I do notice. Also, don’t throw things.

People threw things at you?

Mostly just in the beginning. My philosophy was to make them laugh. People can’t throw accurately if they’re laughing. Most people were nice, though.

In what way?

One woman – I think she was a teacher – came up to me to talk, and I mentioned that I hadn’t taken my ACT yet. She kept bringing me materials and checking up on me until I took it. An elderly lady laminated the Commercial Appeal article about me and gave it to me. I thought that was really sweet.

Do you still play air guitar?

Air guitar and real guitar.

What are your top five, all time air guitar songs?

In no specific order: Tool – “Parabola”, Lamb of God – “11th Hour”, Iron Maiden – “Fear of the Dark”, Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Tell Me Baby”, and Tenacious D – “Tribute”.

Where did you get your moxie?

Usually I answer this with, "Pizza and Gatorade", but I'll give you the serious answer. The source of my energy was emotion. All the events and memories of my life, both good and bad, became fuel for the air guitar machine. Because I was drawing attention to myself I was thrown into more unique situations with people, which in turn became more for me to draw upon. I also had music to amplify whatever I was feeling. It was easy to have a self-sustaining flow.

 


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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Comments

  1. William says:

    Awww! This is awesome! I used to see him every day on my way home. Glad to know he's doing well–and playing the REAL guitar! Thanks for doing this.

  2. Trent J says:

    Its funny because I can tell people, " I graduated high school with that guy." He truly is as cool as he is in this interview.
     

  3. J and A says:

    Meat air guitared outside on the sidewalk at my 30th b-day party! He is the best!

  4. Anonymous says:

    He is awesome. Really knew how to make people's day. No one will ever be able to replace him! He rocks!!!

  5. Amber says:

    Now I feel cool because I can say hey, that guy's sister is dating my brother! Ha. He's cool though! I see the the guys here in Jackson, TN waving the sign and they suck at it..nothing like Chris could do! 🙂

  6. Antonico says:

    All I can say is he put a smile on my face everytime I saw him. Great story I always wondered what happened to him great to know.

  7. Paul soileau says:

    Hey buddy never hought I'd see u kinda famous. Congrats man keep on rockin 

  8. Candace says:

    My uncle! He is the coolest!

  9. Tim says:

    We hired Chris for a party one time, he air guitared as people walked up. He was a hit, people took pics with him and everything. We paid extra when we found out he was a Senior at Overton High School. About 10 of us had graduated from Overton.

  10. Jonathan T says:

    I actually did a short documentary on Meat when I was in college for a class. I should dig that out and put it on Youtube or something

  11. this was great. great little piece. thanks so much. this guy brightened up so many days for so many people–a real entertainer. 

  12. Reed says:

    This kid is a total boss. I think he'd be a great addition to any sales team simply because of his enthusiasm and work-ethic.

  13. Herro says:

    he kinda has a Michael Cera/SPVW thing going on

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