Tour Diary

“The Vibes Are Incredibly Strange”: On the Road With the Boys of Militarie Gun

Militarie Gun

Ian Shelton, Waylon Trim, and William Acuña of Militarie Gun, photographed by Reggie McCafferty.

When we caught up with Ian Shelton, Waylon Trim, and William Acuña of the Los Angeles-based hardcore band Militarie Gun, the vibes were “incredibly strange,” as their frontman put it. Nearly a year removed from their debut album Life Under the Gun, with the final leg of their North American tour winding down, they found themselves driving through the snow at Elk Mountain before encountering a curious diner. “We stopped at a weird restaurant where it’s an old couple that runs it, and they’re really hostile, but then really nice,” explained Shelton, FaceTiming in from the van alongside his bandmates. “They kind of keep changing their tone on us and it’s very weird.” That may be how disasters in horror movies often begin, but the band did get their food—and lived to take part in this week’s Tour Diary. From the slopes, they talked to us about proper aux chord policy, skin care routines, and why L.A. is better than New York. As for the story behind their band name, though, mum’s the word. “As far as the band name,” Shelton said, “not telling you…”


What are your names and roles?

IAN SHELTON: Hi. I’m Ian. I’m the singer in Militarie Gun.

WAYLON TRIM: I am Waylon. I play bass and do some backing vocals.

WILLIAM ACUNA: I’m Will, and I play guitar.

How long have you been making music together?

SHELTON: Waylon and I have been making music together for a long time, probably 10 years now, but not as Militarie Gun. We played in a bunch of youth crew bands together, some various things. He’s also filled in for Regional Justice Center. Will was the first person to join Militarie Gun, and this is his first band.

Militarie Gun

What’s the story behind the band name?

SHELTON: As far as the band name, not telling you…

Where are you now? What’s the vibe?

SHELTON: Elk Mountain, and the vibes are incredibly strange. We stopped at a weird restaurant where it’s an old couple that runs it, and they’re really hostile, but then really nice. They kind of keep changing their tone on us and it’s very weird, and they said that it’s going to take a really long time to get our food, so we ordered, and now are doing the interview.

TRIM: It’s 18 degrees outside, too, and we’re in the mountains in between Denver and Salt Lake City.

SHELTON: Yeah, we’re driving through the snow today and it sucks.

You guys are on the road quite a bit. Who wakes up first? What are your self-care routines?

SHELTON: Not Waylon. Will wakes up first. Will has a secret morning routine that none of us know. Can you tell us your secret morning routine?

TRIM: The only part that’s not secret is a lot of zipping and unzipping.

ACUNA: That’s season one. I wake up and I shower just because I want to keep the shower and bathroom clean for other people, but I still want to be able to do a moisturizer routine on my face, and then I like to get some breakfast.

SHELTON: Yeah, he hits the breakfast. I wake up 15 minutes before we have to leave, typically. Waylon always arrives at the van three minutes late, consistently. Always exactly three minutes, which makes me believe he actually stands around waiting for the three-minute mark to appear. Waylon, what do you do with your extra three minutes that we don’t do?

TRIM: I don’t know.

SHELTON: Why is it always three minutes? Have you never tried to just set the alarm three minutes earlier?


What are your pre-show routines? Anything you do to pump up?

SHELTON: I do vocal warmups. Waylon just started doing vocal warmups. We spend a lot of time at the venue. Will drinks a lot of tequila. That’s his pre-show routine.

ACUNA: Yeah.

TRIM: This tour, watching the other bands gets me pumped up. We don’t really get that when we’re opening, but that’s a bonus on this tour. We feel very motivated by the bands we’re playing with. We’ve got to step our game up every day because they’re all killing it so hard.

Militarie Gun

Who controls the aux?

SHELTON: Controlling the aux is for the person who is driving, always. You have an opinion on music and you’re not the driver, you could put in headphones.

What’s on your rider?

SHELTON: Uncrustables?

TRIM: Eight to 10 Uncrustables.

Who are you most likely to find naked on the tour bus/in the hotel room?

SHELTON: None of us have ever seen each other naked. We are very prudish as a band. Will, what do you have to say about being a prude as a band?

ACUNA: Yeah.

SHELTON: There we go.

You guys have been on tour pretty non-stop. What city has had the best crowd so far?

SHELTON: Kansas City best crowd, hands down.

ACUNA: Missouri.

SHELTON: Kansas City, Missouri, not Kansas City, Kansas.

ACUNA: That’s right.

SHELTON: That was the best show of the tour to me. You’re going to debate it? You got a better one?

TRIM: I don’t think so. That was so recent that it’s the freshest in my mind, and I can’t think of anything better than that.

SHELTON: Boston was really cool, but kind of more of a bro crowd. 

Militarie Gun

Who takes the longest showers?

SHELTON: Probably Will just because he gives the most time for himself. Oh, no. Waylon kind of takes really long showers, actually.

ACUNA: I think I take pretty quick showers, but I will be at the sink for maybe slightly longer than other people.

SHELTON: Waylon’s showers are really long.

TRIM: I’m the only one that showers at night and I’m always really tired, so I just kind of zone out, let it all wash over, and then I realize it’s been like 30 minutes and I go to bed.

What’s your favorite song to perform live?

ACUNA: “Very High” and—

SHELTON: “Disposable Plastic Trash.”

WILLIAM ACUNA: … “Pressure Cooker.” Pretty much anything where I get to make extra noise because all three of the songs I just realized I get to do a bunch of feedback and play with harmonics and whatnot.

SHELTON: I really like playing “Pressure Cooker” because it’s more dancey. It’s a different pocket of rhythm than the other songs. Then I sing in a different spot.

ACUNA: Also, “Pressure Cooker” and “Very High” you have crowd cues, which is really fun.

SHELTON: Yeah, a little bit of extra crowd work is fun.

ACUNA: I’ve really been enjoying playing “Return Policy” on this tour.

TRIM: “Life Under the Gun” is fun to play, too.

SHELTON: “Life Under the Gun” is probably my least favorite live song, currently.

What songs yield the best reaction from the crowd?

IAN SHELTON: I mean, the song “Do It Faster” is-

TRIM: By far.

SHELTON: Yeah, by far, absolutely psychotic. It’s our biggest song.

TRIM: “Ain’t No Flowers” also is up there.

SHELTON: That’s when the show starts getting sloppy, when we hit “Ain’t No Flower” and everyone starts hitting each other. And then I’ve got to be like, “Stop. Stop, please.” 

Who’s someone dead or alive you’d love to play alongside?

IAN SHELTON: Damon Albarn. We need to be on a Gorillaz song.

TRIM: Absolutely. 

SHELTON: At some point we’ll get that, and then we’ll play alongside Damon on the stage.

L.A. or New York?

SHELTON: L.A. or New York? L.A., hands down.

ACUNA: Oh, yeah. No. L.A. is the best city in the world.

SHELTON: They figured out how to do things over there and that’s it. It’s the best.

ACUNA: New York’s too tall.

SHELTON: Yeah, way too many tall buildings and it’s cold at times.

ACUNA: Awful.

Who’s the most like their star sign?

ACUNA: I’m not really into that. What’s a star sign?

SHELTON: I think it’s like, Orion’s Belt.

TRIM: It’s a teenage fan club.

ACUNA: I like the Big Dipper. I like Saturn.

SHELTON: Wait, is that a star now?

WILLIAM ACUNA: I don’t know. It looks cool and it’s in space. I like the new James Webb satellite and all the photos they’ve been turning in. I like nebulas. I’m really into black holes as well, like time dilation.

SHELTON: Yeah, so I think Will’s most like the stars.

Militarie Gun