Milo Aukerman

5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (…) – @Pitchfork

10 de agosto, 2016 0 Por Artes & contextos
Modo Noturno

Thirty-four years ago, Milo Aukerman ’s California punk group the Descendents released Milo Goes to College, a recording that perfectly crystallizes how simultaneously magical and deeply painful it is to be on the cusp of adulthood. Aukerman lent not only his name to the album, but his face as well, in the form of a crude line drawing with his signature chunky glasses on the cover.

Now 53, Aukerman has much smaller frames. As a scientist at DuPont, living in Delaware with his professor wife, he lives a lifestyle that’s fairly close to the suburban dream he once sneered at in his youth. But Aukerman didn’t totally drop out of punk and sink into a tidy lawn. He’s periodically found time to record and tour with the Descendents, and the group’s first album in 12 years, Hypercaffium Spazzinate, is out this week. It’s silly, fast, and catchy, just as they’ve always been. The Descendents’ brand of warp-speed punk has a knack for bringing out the 15-year-old in their listeners, and after so many years working in a lab, it brings out the teenager in Aukerman, too. Before grabbing some pizza in New York City, the frontman took some time to lay out his life’s listening, five years at a time.


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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Tom Lehrer: “Pollution”

Tom Lehrer wrote funny songs on piano and made me realize that you gotta have humor in music. He was left-wing liberal, which also rubbed off on me to some degree. As a 5-year-old, I was not picking up on all of the stuff about Hubert Humphrey, but I understood parts of songs like “Pollution,” where he’s skewering the fact that we’re destroying the environment. Because he was doing it in a humorous way, it touched a nerve in me—to be able to poke fun at others, and at yourself, is an important part of what the Descendents do as a band. I still listen to him today.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos batlels

The Beatles

In ’73, I was at my friend’s house and realized that he basically had the entire Beatles collection. I was supposed to be playing with my friend, but I was just like, “Leave me alone, I need to listen to my Beatles.” Of course he liked them too, so we’d do a Beatles study together. It’s hard to deny the DNA that came from the Beatles when you look at what the Descendents did as a band later—that whole sense of melody, that whole sense of pop music.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

X: “We’re Desperate”

A lot happened between ’73 and ’78. I had a brief foray into bad prog rock and then I came out at the other side of that listening to new wave. Then I went to go see Devo play, and X opened, and I was like: That’s what I want to hear. X really does symbolize a shift for me into L.A. punk rock and immersing myself in that scene. I started out with X, and then I graduated to the Germs, and then Black Flag. Those three bands are the holy trinity of L.A. punk rock to me.

So I’m listening to those bands and then I see Bill [Stevenson], the drummer of the Descendents, who was in my geometry class, selling this little single he’s done. He’s like, “You want to buy a copy?” That was the Descendents’ first single, “Ride the Wild/It’s a Hectic World.” I was instantly smitten. After listening to it for a while I got up the courage to ask him, “Hey, can I watch you guys practice?” They would play the song but they wouldn’t necessarily sing it. I said, “Well, that mic is set up for some reason, and I know how to sing the song from your record, so I’m going to sing it,” and they’re like, “Go for it, dude.” So I sang “Ride the Wild.” It was not this mind blowing thing to either them or me, but they thought I had a lot of energy, and shortly after that they let me in the band. It was a good outlet for some of the spastic, frustrated energy that I had coursing through my veins as a 17-year-old kid. So I went from being obsessed with L.A. punk rock to being a part of it.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Bad Brains: “Pay to Cum”

Bad Brains had put out the “Pay to Cum” single in 1980, and that had a huge effect on us. Bill actually played it on a turntable at school, and I was blown away. It was thefastest band ever—but also very solid. They’re such good players. We wanted to play as fast as humanly possible but still be tight.

We then put out Milo Goes to College, and that’s a good segue because I did go to college [at UC San Diego]. I was living off-campus my first semester, not by choice but because I somehow messed up and couldn’t get into the dorms. I was very isolated. It was not what I envisioned as my college experience. But I had my Bad Brains cassette and I was living in a place where all I had was a ghetto blaster. I just played it over and over again in that tiny room, probably at a volume that was too loud for the rest of the members of the house.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Nomeansno: Sex Mad

The Minutemen were no longer around, so who was carrying the torch of intricate, proggy punk rock? It was Nomeansno for me. I saw them several times during ’87 and ’88, but the most memorable time was down in San Diego, because I met my wife at that show. It was like, “Wow, she likes Nomeansno too? I might have to marry that person.” When you meet someone at a gig like that, you know you’re going to have a lot in common.

I’d just started grad school, and the Descendents were on one of our many hiatuses. I missed it, for sure—being onstage and having those fleeting moments of perfection occur is such a rush, they’re almost indescribable. But I also wanted to pursue my career as a scientist. So I kept all of those feelings at bay.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Sugar: Copper Blue

I moved from San Diego to Madison, Wisconsin where my wife was going to grad school. It was not so much a culture shock, but I spent the first several months falling on my ass on ice—you have to learn how to walk like a penguin, and if you don’t, you’re going to fall on your ass. I’ve got distinct memories of thinking, OK, I need to exercise and I can’t go outside, so I’ve got to jump on the frickin’ Exercycle. And I listened to Sugar nonstop, because the energy of that record is so perfect for being on a bike and going fast. Listening to Copper Blue, I would be pedaling along and getting to that point where I was at the peak of my workout and then: “Fortune Teller”! [sings guitar line]

5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

NOFX: So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes

We toured with NOFX back in ’85 or ’86. They were just starting out, and even [lead singer Fat] Mike will admit that they sucked back then. They left zero impression on me. But obviously by the mid-’90s they’d put out some records that were destined to become classics. So Long and Thanks for All the Shoes is the one where Mike put it all together from a songwriting point of view. I really liked the way he brought in a bunch of Beatles-esque melodies but put it onto a galloping hardcore beat.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Dickies: All This and Puppet Stew

So now I’m 40, a geezer. Every time I would get back in the van, I would think, Maybe I’m too old to be doing this. But then, as soon as we play a show, I’d be like, Not only can I still do this, I have to do this. It’ll probably make me feel like that until the day I die. It gives me such a youthful feeling—age goes out the window. It brings you back to your teen angst.

The Dickies are older than me, and I was just extremely impressed with how they put out a great record [at that age]. It definitely set the kernel in my mind that you could be in your late 40s and still put out a record that full-on brought the punk rock from start to finish. I was working at DuPont in Delaware at that point, and I would blast All This and the Puppet Stew in my laboratory while doing my DNA extractions. I was in the forefront of discovering a particular type of molecule that was kind of a new thing, so it was an extremely heady period for me. I listened to music all the time, but at that point I was like, I am a music fan first and foremost, and then science is my gig and I don’t need to perform ever again. I felt like I may never get back up on stage again. But we started playing shows again in 2010, and it was a chance for us to get together and hang out and be buds again after so many years.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

Big Star

I was in the midst of a power pop study, the same way I studied the Beatles. I realized that some of the earliest punk bands I liked—the Undertones, the Buzzcocks—were basically power pop, and I immersed myself in it. It was precipitated by finally discovering the new format of iTunes and being able to search things out online. Thirty years ago, it was all disparate. Maybe you could pick up one thing here and another thing there, and if you were really dedicated you’d go to the five different music shops to get it all together, but now you can just click.

There were always bands that I hadn’t really had the chance to delve into, and that’s what I used that period for. One of the most embarrassing ones was Big Star, so right around 2008, I listened to them for the first fucking time. I was obviously blown away. Then I needed to hear it all.

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5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the (...) - @Pitchfork Artes & contextos

The Menzingers: On the Impossible Past

I’m not immune to the influence of music critics. I went onto Metacritc and saw this album got a good review. Half the time that doesn’t pan out, and you’re like, “That reviewer is full of shit,” but this time it worked. I think they were going for an East Coast Springsteen-esque punk rock thing, heart-on-your-sleeve, confessional lyrics. I liked it because it’s somewhat similar to Descendents in terms of it being very emotional.

Every new generation of bands coming through re-injects [punk] with energy and rawness and just fuck you attitude. It just makes you feel right about the whole thing. There’s always going to be some new band coming in and kicking it up again and rearranging the deck a little bit, but the common denominator is pure energy. You can hear different creative alterations—I won’t call them improvements—of the basic punk rock format. Which is great.

 

 

O Artigo: 5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the Music of His Life, foi publicado em Pitchfork
The Post: 5-10-15-20: Punk Veteran Milo Aukerman of the Descendents on the Music of His Life, appeared first on Pitchfork


 

 

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