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Awesome Men Throughout History: Milo Aukerman

Rock musicians don’t have an easy time aging gracefully. Look at Axl Rose, or Steven Tyler, or Eddie Van Halen.

Actually, don’t look at Eddie Van Halen. Poor guy looks like a stick of beef jerky.

My point is that running all over the country playing music and doing drugs and trying to get laid with varying degrees of success looks pretty weird when the people doing it are north of 40 years old. One of the few exceptions to this is Milo Aukerman, lead singer of seminal pop-punk band the Descendents and this week’s Awesome Man Throughout History.

Milo was born and raised in California, and was a nerdy kid who loved punk rock (especially the Buzzcocks) and often watched his friends’ bands practice. One of those bands asked him to sing for them in 1980, and he agreed.

The Descendents drafted the blueprint for modern pop punk; bands like Green Day, Blink 182, NOFX, and Fall Out Boy owe a lot to their sound, which was simple and melodic and aggressive (due in no small part to the insane amounts of coffee consumed by all four members). There’s a certain weird, spazzy optimism to the lyrics as well, even in the songs that are self-deprecating.

Milo’s upfront, unapologetic nerdiness and playful, screw-you attitude onstage made him an excellent frontman, and his voice fit the band’s style and songs perfectly. Even now, it’s hard to imagine anyone else doing half as good a job as him.

That said, Milo has a pretty cool life outside of music. He not only went to college (as Milo Goes to College would suggest), but got a doctorate in biology from UC San Diego and works for Dupont as a plant researcher. That does carry the unfortunate burden of living in Delaware, but aside from that Milo has no complaints.

Because of his job, marriage, and kids, Milo can’t tour all that often, so the Descendents are only semi-active these days. That sucks, but Milo’s maturity is refreshing, given how rock musicians generally behave. “I love rocking out on stage,” he told Verbicide back in 2004, “but I also like living in the real world. The rock star fantasy life isn’t very conducive to having a relationship, raising a family, and pursuing other career interests.”

Neat, huh? He’s like the anti-Lemmy, but in a very genuine way.

I’ll leave you with an interview with Milo Aukerman and the rest of the Descendents from last year.

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About Dave Kiefaber Dave Kiefaber is a Baltimore-based writer who regularly contributes to Adfreak and the Gettysburg Times. His personal website is at www.beeohdee.blogspot.com.

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