Chris Fisher only had a couple of rules when his son, Aidan, started performing the national anthem on his guitar at various sporting events.
“I just told him to stay respectful, and make it sound cool,” Chris said.
Aidan has mastered both of these and it’s a big reason why he’s been asked to perform the anthem at numerous events across the country.
His most recent venture took the Papillion-La Vista South sophomore to Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium where he performed the anthem prior to an Oct. 1 game between the NFL’s Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. It was his second time performing before a Browns game, also having done so in 2016.
He got his first taste of performing the anthem at the age of nine at an Omaha Storm Chasers game. Since then, he has performed at NFL games in Kansas City and Cleveland, Major League Baseball games in Kansas City, NBA and NHL exhibition games and at the Texas Motor Speedway.
“I love how it sounds and I like to figure out different things I can do with it,” Aidan, 15, said.
Jimi Hendrix’s version of the national anthem at Woodstock in 1969 has set the standard by which many guitar anthem performances are measured. But at nearly four minutes long, Hendrix’s version is not one Fisher chooses to replicate.
“Mine is similar to his, but in my opinion he took his a little too far,” Fisher said. “They want you to stay under 90 seconds when you perform and I want to respect the flag and the troops.”
Despite playing in front of nearly 70,000 people in Cleveland, Aidan said he doesn’t get nervous when he performs.
“I’ve done it so many times, I lost the nerves a few years ago,” he said. “When I’m playing, I focus on the guitar and not what people might be thinking.”
From that first performance at 9 years old, Aidan’s shredding has gained him plenty of attention.
While attending a Guns N’ Roses concert with his father in 2013, he was invited to join the band on stage by lead signer Axl Rose at the end of the show.
He also appeared on stage at a Steel Panther concert later that year and got to show off his ability during a guitar solo that wowed both band members and the audience. It gave him a taste of rock n’ roll he continues to enjoy.
He said guitar players like Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page and Slash have been among his inspirations.
“My dad introduced me to rock music when I was little and I really liked it,” he said. “Not a lot of kids my age listen to that kind of music.”
Chris began getting the word out about Aidan’s anthem prowess to venues across the country. Many responded to his requests and this year, the Browns reached out to him about having Aidan come back.
“I want to help get his name out there and this is really building a résumé for him,” Chris said. “It’s been a lot of fun and we’ve had a great time with it.”
Aidan performs in the PLV South show choir and also does some recordings with the O’Keefe Music Foundation in Cincinnati.
There will likely be many more performances as he progresses toward what he hopes is a lifelong relationship with music.
“At some point, I’d like to have music be part of my career,” he said.