"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> MILO AUKERMAN
Last month I had the chance to make an interview with my friend Milo Aukerman of the legendary band The Descendents...There are not many Descendents interviews out there and this is one of the rare times that they’re giving an interview since their last (2004) album and talking about the future of The Descendents...Here it is,Enjoy!!
PUNK GLOBE : Milo, firstly thank you very much once again for accepting this interview. How’s family life and how’s life as a research biochemist going? How was 2009 for you?
MILO : Life is good; my kids (5 and 7) are healthy, I love my wife; I can’t complain. I haven’t been sacked from my job yet, and it’s relatively interesting work. Delaware kinda blows, but there are worse places to live. 2009 was a good year, except at the very end my best friend Bill Stevenson had a pulmonary embolism, which put a damper on the Christmas holiday. I hope he recovers quickly.
PUNK GLOBE : Tell us a bit about the early days of The Descendents please… What made you decide to be in a band and make music?? Were there any other alternative names thought of naming the band? As The Descendents formed in 1978, what were the band members thinking about other bands like The Clash, Sex Pistols and Buzzcocks around that time?
MILO : The Descendents started in 1978, with Frank, Bill and Tony. Frank named the band; I don’t know if there were other names he considered, but I think it’s a great name because it’s not cool-sounding or anything, and it means whatever you want it to. In 1979, the Descendents trio lineup put out a single (Ride the Wild/Hectic World), and Bill used to bring copies of it to sell to students at our high school. I bought one, and thought it was great. I started to go watch them practice all the time at this place called the Church. Then Bill and Frank thought, “let’s see if Milo wants to sing,” so we started doing that. We played around in L.A. and in San Francisco for a few years (this would be 1980-82), made the FAT EP in 1981, then did the Milo Goes to College record in 1982.
Musical influences: Of the three English bands you mentioned, probably only the Buzzcocks had a big influence. I loved “Singles Going Steady,” it was kind of a blueprint for melodic hardcore in my opinion, even though it was less frenetic. More important influences were the LA bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s. Right around the time I joined the band, I was getting into all the LA punk bands (Black Flag, Germs, Minutemen, LAST, etc). For a spaz like myself, it was perfect music, and I found myself wanting to “join in,” so when Bill asked me to join the band, I figured why not.
PUNK GLOBE : While attending college, you also fronted the San Diego band “Milestone”… Can you please inform us about this band and any of your side projects/collobrations we may not have heard of before (although some maybe as one time performances-rehearsals with small unknown bands)?
MILO : Milestone was Jovi Butts, Chris Maggio, myself and Bob the drummer. I was in grad school, and came across the three of them practicing on campus, and offered to sing. We played locally for a year or so (1988), but never put out a studio album. There is a Milestone CD (on Elastic Records), but it was basically a band practice we recorded at a radio station. The vocals were sung through a guitar amp; that’s all we had for a PA. High quality, eh?
Other than Milestone, the only collaborations I’ve done have been with the Descendents/ALL folks, like backing vocals on ALL records. I sang one of Stephen’s songs very recently, a song called “She’s Got Everything,” for his solo record which will come out this Spring. It’s called “Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton.”
PUNK GLOBE : You are in the music scene for 30 years now and you fronted one of the most influential and special bands in the punk-rock world. But other than the amazing Descendents, if you were to create your all time dream band, who would you choose to be the members of this heroic army?:)
MILO : Drums – Bill Stevenson
Guitar – Dr. Know
Bass – John Doe
Vocals – The (improbable) offspring of Joe Nolte and Dez Cadena
I have no idea what they would sound like, but they’re all so great, it would have to be amazing.
PUNK GLOBE : In the lyrics of your song “Caught” from the succesfull 1996 album “Everything Sucks”, it says : “Junkie drug dealer does 50 years time, while millionaire murder just pays a fine…” As you are also a father , what do you think, will this rancid-money centered system in this world ever change? What can you say to all the kids out there who will one day be a family and grow kids like themselves,with these examples around them?
MILO : Karl wrote that one, but I agree – money corrupts, and rich people can literally get away with murder sometimes. I’ve always wanted enough money to live a stable healthy existence, but that’s about it. Do you need a gazillion dollars, really? For example, the whole “money = power” thing really disgusts me; don’t think that just because you’re rich that allows you to be an asshole. Unfortunately, you do need money to survive, I just hope people don’t allow the mindless pursuit of money to overtake their lives and cloud their ability to create, make good judgments, and enjoy life.
PUNK GLOBE : Back to music again… I’m sure you’re proud of all the songs you’ve written and enjoyed all of your albums, but which song is the most special for you or the one that you will never get tired singing of ?
MILO : Probably “Hope,” because it was one of the first songs I ever wrote. The lyrics are just me talking to my ex-girlfriend at the time, but they clearly connect with a lot of people going through a similar relationship, so that’s a nice feeling. Whenever I sing it, I can always remember that time of my life.
PUNK GLOBE : What were you listening to when you were a teen and which bands are you listening to nowadays? Are there any unknown bands that you like and recommend us the check out?
MILO : Black Flag, Germs, X, the LAST, Bad Brains, Saccharine Trust, Minutemen, Husker Du. Most anything played on Rodney on the ROQ circa 1979-1980.
Lately: There’s this cool band Bill produced, A Wilhelm Scream, that I like.
PUNK GLOBE : The question I would like to ask the most:) Where’s Kabuki Girl now? Has she met Mr.Bass or Eunuch Boy at the end of the road or left like Wendy or Jean in this Hectic World? Where are they now:))
MILO : I have no idea; Tony wrote that one about some girl he met at the Atomic Café. I don’t know about the rest of the band, but the sad reality is, I haven’t kept in touch with ex-girlfriends.
PUNK GLOBE : Descendents’ last album was “Cool To Be You” in 2004 and sadly, former member Frank Navetta passed away in 2008… As the members have their family lives now + children and as it is maybe harder to come together because of living in different parts of the country, what can we expect from the Descendents world this year and in the following years?? (Perhaps less touring and more albums?)
MILO : I don’t think many of the band members can really “tour,” due to family commitments, but it would be nice to do a few shows. No promises, though. Recording? Maybe.
PUNK GLOBE : When you were a kid growing up, who did you imitate when you stood in front of the mirror??
MILO : Mark Mothersbaugh of DEVO…my role model for all things geek!
PUNK GLOBE : Last question; What’s Descendents current favourite coffee choice and any last words for Punk Globe Readers?
MILO : Espresso – I gotta get that caffeine in me quickly! No more Bonus Cups, it makes for too much flatulence. To the people: Thanks for listening, and smelling.