You are here

Alesana’s Shawn Milke: “No Rhyme, No Reason”

Today is: Monday, August 2, 2010
Where I am: Bonner Springs, Kansas—Day 37 of the Vans Warped Tour
Where I am actually: Laying in my bunk where it is cold because it is hot outside. Very, very hot.
Time of day: 5:44 p.m.
What I am listening to: “Sweet Tangerine” by The Hush Sound (such a cute song!)

Allow me to begin by saying that I was blown away by your responses last week. I honestly read each and every one of them and I still cannot believe how many of you took the time to share your thoughts. Thank you. Oh, and just a heads up. I am in a very hyper mood today, which is causing my thoughts to race about a million miles a second. Needless to say, keeping this week’s blog to only one idea or concept is pretty much an impossibility. If you are lucky, I might label each section. Maybe not. Probably not.

I am going to be a super-fan for a moment, if I may? I recently met Ace Enders (formerly of the Early November, currently of I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business). He is playing the Warped Tour this year on the same stage as we are, which still does not feel real to say, even as I write it down. He watched us play one day, and, no joke, his exact words were: “Wow. I feel tougher just having watched that set.” How cool is that? I have looked up to Ace for years. I used to put “The Room’s Too Cold” into the stereo in my car and blast “Ever So Sweet” as loud as I could and sing my heart out. I remember thinking how cool it must be to have written a song that was so good and so powerful that it led people to make fools out of themselves in their cars (me = that very same fool). Even more important, he is a great person and a kind soul. He is the definition of humility, which is something I strive to become as a musician and an entertainer. In my mind there is no better quality that an artist can possess.  

Student Rick meets Slick Shoes meets Name Taken. If I had to define my first real band, that is the comparison I would have to make. I loved all three of those bands, and still do. Sadly, Student Rick only made one record. Name Taken made more than one, but only the last one ever received any recognition in the public eye. Slick Shoes made a bunch. Wow, I am rambling.

I am not a very religious person, but I definitely believe that there is something that exists beyond our understanding. It is my belief that the term God is something we lend to the possibility of something so powerful that it is beyond the comprehension of the human mind. I do not believe he is a guy sitting on a cloud in a white robe smiting the wicked and embracing the blessed. However, I most certainly believe that we were created by someone or something. I am not so vain as to believe that the beginning and the end rests in the hands on mankind alone.  

Is it OK to laugh if you watch someone trip on their own shoelace? I am not saying it would be funny if they actually fell and hurt themselves. But I think I would laugh if they just stumbled a little bit. Tell you what, if you ever see me trip on my own shoelace, feel free to laugh.

I am going to jump back to religion quickly, but this time in a more lighthearted fashion. When God created Earth, do you think he hid practical jokes everywhere? For example, when it rains, it is our instinct as human beings to run for cover. I am sure God thought of this, so he gave us big, tall trees to hide beneath. But the most readily available thing for lightning to strike would be this very same big, tall tree. I would like to think that God has a sense of humor. I mean come on, a hammerhead shark? Really, God?

“This is what living like this does. This is what living like this does. This is what living like this does.” Damn, the first Taking Back Sunday record is so good.

If you are a writer and are ever experiencing writer’s block, I feel your pain. Sometimes the words are just not there. Sometimes every idea, every sentence just feels hackneyed and mundane. One trick that I have used in the past and have found pretty good success with, is to write with a pen and paper instead of on a computer. I know it is 2010 and the thought of doing anything by hand sounds archaic, but trust me it works. Using the pen and paper technique causes you to write slower and consequently gives your mind more time to relax and adjust. Instead of stressing about having nothing to say, you will concentrate more on the physical act of writing and before you know it you will have written a couple of pages. Even if it is total crap, at least you got something down and gave your mind a chance to breathe. Also, when using the pen, never cross anything out. Writing on a computer literally goes hand in hand with the delete key (a function we all use far too much) causing us to sometimes suffocate potential ideas. Once in a while, go back and read through what you wrote down on paper. You may be surprised how much an idea can seem like a plethora of garbage one day and a pirate’s treasure the next.

Most poorly used word in the English language? Literally. Thank you, David Cross.{pagebreak}

Five bands that shaped my high school years: The Movielife, Lagwagon, MxPx, Riverfenix, and Slick Shoes.

The No. 1 thing not to ask a band to sign? A wet wife-beater. The No. 1 cause of passing out at Warped Tour? Not drinking water. The No. 1 thing never to say to a band? I love your record, I downloaded it off LimeWire. The No. 1 worst thing to paint on your chest at Warped Tour? Free hugs. It is 100 degrees outside, the last thing most people want to do is hug you, trust me. The No. 1 best thing you can do at Warped Tour? Support your local bands. All of your favorite bands were at one time a local band somewhere, and without the support of their hometown they would not be where they are today.

Do you ever find yourself getting mad at the guy who first said, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” I do. On the contrary, I would love to hug the guy who first said, “If the shoe fits.”

Phew. I feel like I just sprinted for an hour. I have never written so fast in my life. I hope I did not lose any of you with my lack of paragraph transitions. But, come on. Sometimes it is fun to be all over the place. Have you ever jumped around in your underwear to your favorite CD while cleaning your bedroom? This blog was the weekly writing piece version of that scenario. And who the heck does not like jumping around their bedroom clad in underoos listening to some killer music? I will be honest, if I get to heaven and at the gate I am told that for eternity I will get to do this, I do not think I will be disappointed.

This week’s question is a two-part question in which the two parts have absolutely nothing to do with one another. At all. For some strange reason that feels appropriate today. The first part brings us straight back to the underwear dance. What record is playing during your dance? The second part: Which feeling theoretically knocks your socks off more? Meeting the person of your dreams or the anticipation of maybe meeting them one day? Why?

I am going to try to do something a little different this week. The amount of comments I have been receiving on these blogs is just astounding. Let’s challenge ourselves, shall we? If we can get up to 150 comments on this week’s blog, I will answer this week’s question myself in the form of a comment! I know you have to be at least a little bit curious as to what record gets me jumping around my house like a crazy person. Let’s do it guys!

Song quote of the week:

“Looking out across the night-time, the city winks a sleepless eye. Hear her voice shake my window, sweet seducing sighs.” —“Human Nature” by Michael Jackson

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I have started putting together a MySpace page for my old band. I hope to have it ready early this fall. Thank you for urging me to do this. Until next time friends, remember that making your bed in the morning sucks but the feeling of crawling into a freshly made bed at night is hard to beat.


Photo of Shawn Milke courtesy of Ave Barr

Exclusive Excerpt From Dave Mustaine’s Autobiography: Meeting Lars Ulrich