.Everything Under The Gun

Los Angeles post-hardcore band returns

“So I thought, ‘Oh, it would be fun to try to bum people out instead of making them jump around for once,’” recalls Ian Shelton, lead singer for post-hardcore act, Militarie Gun.

Ok, that might not be the usual goal for the scene’s average band. But it’s one of the several reasons that separates Militarie Gun from the cliches.

This Saturday they return to the Catalyst for the Life Under The Gun Tour, their first U.S. tour as headliners with Spiritual Cramp, Pool Kids and Roman Candle. What makes MG interesting is their willingness to push the musical boundaries. While some of their songs lie within the realm of hardcore, many draw influences from Fugazi, The Beatles, Nirvana and others giving the band an almost 90’s alt-rock feel.

But first, back to bumming people out.

Shelton’s discussing the decision around the group’s latest release, Life Under The Sun. The five song EP  is currently streaming online and will see a physical release on limited edition colored vinyl for this year’s Record Store Day on April 20th. It features toned down versions of previously released songs off their 2023 Life Under The Gun full-length with a bonus cover of NoFX’s “Whoops I OD’d.”

secure document shredding

“I’ve always been obsessed with that song,” he admits. “The song starts with the craziest line possible–”Whoops, I OD’d on drugs.” I learned that from NoFX, start in the craziest place you can.”

The catalyst for recording Life Under The Sun came from the most likely of sources, Shelton’s girlfriend.

“She always roasts me for how sad the songs are,” he says. “I tell her I don’t think they’re sad and she’s like, ‘Yeah, cause you jump around at them. If you payed attention to the lyrics you’d be bummed out.’”

Tom Waits once said, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things” and it seems so does Shelton.

 Songs like “Never Fucked Up Once” (with lyrics “And now all your friends have left/they left you in shame”) and “Very High” (“It’s a punch to the face/The way I’m left in my disdain/I’ve been feeling pretty down/so I get very high”) have catchy, upbeat melodies delivering the dire lyrics.

When set to intentionally sullen and often haunting music, it’s almost unbelievable that those same songs surge entire rooms into moshing.

Yet it’s Militarie Gun’s intentions  to never make the music that’s expected of them, that has driven the band–and Shelton in particular–since the beginning. It’s also earned them a quickly growing, dedicated fan base, including international superstar, Post Malone, who was filmed last year singing their song, “Do It Faster” backstage at one of his shows.

“It was very surreal. In fact if you watch the video you can see how uncomfortable I am,” laughs Shelton. “I’m lip-singing into the camera and I’m thinking, ‘I don’t know what this is, this is crazy!’”

He adds that Malone has been “a very generous guy” to the band ever since.

Then there’s Taco Bell, who used two different MG songs–”Do It Faster” and “Pressure Cooker”–in separate ads. Like Santa Cruz’s Scowl–whose singer, Kat Moss,  also had to issue a statement about sexism in the scene when she was accused online of being an “industry plant” after their music was used by Taco Bell–Militarie Gun faced some criticism for the big punk no-no of “selling out.”. [1] 

Band members argue Do-It-Yourself underground bands, traveling in a van from gig to gig, often survive on cheap fast food.

“The idea that we give [Taco Bell] money but them giving us money is bad is a hilarious notion,” says Shelton. “At the end of the day I don’t concern myself with the opinions of losers. So for anyone upset, it doesn’t matter.”

Shelton started the band as a solo project in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. He wrote MG’s first song, “Kept Talkin’”in only half a hour. That track, along with three others, became the band’s first release, My Life Is Over EP written and performed by Shelton.

For the band’s next EPs, 2021’s All Roads Lead To the Gun I & II, he recruited William Acuña and Nick Cogan on guitars, Max Epstein on bass and Vince Nguyen on drums. Cogan also recorded many of the guitar parts for the band’s 2023 full-length, Life Under The Gun, before moving to bass with the addition of Waylon Trim on guitars.

“We have tons of new songs but it will be a long time before their release,” Shelton admits. “Before Life Under the Sun came out there was more than an album’s worth of songs already in the aether.”

I know this reads a little chunky. I feel like since Scowl is from here and they also were in a taco bell ad i should mention them and the statement. However, since i’m also over word count, maybe we should take it out? Your call.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Good Times E-edition Good Times E-edition
music in the park san jose