Who is Tom Milnes?
One of two lead guitarists with ApologetiX, Tom Milnes (rhymes with "illness") played his first concert with the band in Sewickley PA on October 17, 2008. Tom retired from active duty with ApologetiX in December 2011, but he still fills in for us occasionally at concerts and plays and sings on many of our studio releases.
Tom lives in Ellwood City PA, the home of ApologetiX bassist Keith Haynie, and serves as a youth pastor in Ellport PA. He and his wife, Barb, have two adult children Sheila and Eric, and a son-in-law, D.J.
Before joining ApologetiX, Tom toiled in many other Christian bands for over 25 years. A versatile singer/songwriter and musician, he has released a number of solo projects, most recently From the Corner (2008).
Tom brings a number of gifts to ApologetiX, including stellar guitar work, outstanding backing vocals, and a unique sense of humor, as evidenced by his responses to the interview questions below in 2008:
Where were you born and raised?
I was raised in the Village of Chewton PA -- the seventh son of a steelworker and a fiery redheaded Irish woman.
How did you meet your wife and how long have you been married?
My best friend was a drummer in a band I was a member of in high school. He brought this BEAUTIFUL girl to a party one weekend and I immediately fell in love with her. So you could say she was "my best friend's girl." We have been married now for 27 years and have two wonderful children, Fylridia and Beldore. (That translates to Sheila and Eric.)
Tell us about your kids:
I refuse to talk about my kids; Sheila, 23, married, fashionista; and Eric, 17, filmmaker, pre-med student, volcano surfer.
How old were you when first started playing?
I don't like talking about it. (Maybe 14)
Was the guitar your first instrument?
My first instrument was a Nasal-accordion, but as you could imagine it was very unsanitary
Do you play any other instruments?
Look, I am really getting tired of all these questions!
Who were the first groups and/or musical performers you ever liked?
The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Who, the Led Zeppelin, the Lynyrd Skynard, the Judy Garland and Knack (the).
What was the first album you ever owned?
Let it Be by the Beatles.
What was the first 45 rpm single you ever bought for yourself?
I never bought four myself.
What was the first album you ever bought for yourself?
I told you, it was LET IT BE!
Who are your favorite secular groups and performers?
I'll tell you one thing: it's not the Monkees, Neil Diamond or the Carpenters!!
Who are your favorite Christian groups and performers?
Larry Norman, Phil Keagey, Daniel Amos, Randy Stonehill, Steve Taylor and Alice Cooper.
What are your favorite secular albums?
LET IT BE
What are your favorite Christian albums?
In Another Land, The Phlip' Side, Doppelganger, The Sky is Falling, On the Fritz, and School's Out.
Who were your biggest influences as a guitarist?
Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Steve Howe and George Harrison.
Who are your favorite guitarists?
Some guy I saw in the subway and Mary Ford.
How and when did you become a Christian?
In 1980, my girl friend (whom I stole from my best-friend) took me to this crazy Italian Pentecostal church where the preacher told my life story (even though he didn't know me). I knew God was after me, and I wanted to run out, but the preacher gave an altar call, and you could say it was an offer that I couldn't refuse. Since that day, my girlfriend and I (she is now my wife) have been going to church together, studying and learning about our wonderful life in Jesus the RISEN Savior.
Can you tell us the names of secular bands you've been in and, if you know, what years you were in them?
Pure Grain, 1976
Circle of Friends, '78-79
Berg Boys, '79
How about Christian bands you've been in and what years?
Various projects, 1992-00
For Godz Sake, 2000
The Zillionaires, 2001-2002
Citywide Praise, 2002-2006
How did it come about that you tried out for ApologetiX?
A man on a Flaming Pie appeared to me and said, "I hear the Apologetix are looking for a guitarist. Why don't you try out?"
Did you know any ApologetiX members before you joined? If so, how?
I knew J. Jackson since 1992 when I met him at the Paradise Club. (He was a dancer.)
Your fellow lead guitarist, Tom Tincha, joined ApologetiX shortly after you, but you knew him already. When and how did you meet?
We were both in Christian rock bands in the 1980s and '90s. I saw him play a few times and thought, " That cat is GOOD!" Our bands played a few concerts together, and we would chat before and after shows. I am so exited about being in a band with him at long last. He is a true gentleman and a great guitarist.
How has experience been playing for ApologetiX thus far?
J. is a tyrant, but the other guys are nice. :)
What have been your favorite things about playing with ApologetiX?
I think the songs are great! J. is such a master at making all the words fit. We try so hard to do the songs justice, and I think the fans appreciate it.
How have the ApologetiX fans been treating you?
APX fans are the greatest!! They come in all sizes, age groups, denominations and states all over the land. They would give us the shirts off their backs if we asked them to. They feed us, wash our dirty bus from time to time and they even seem to enjoy our music. I love our fans!
What's your home church?
We attend Ellport Community Church.
What other hobbies and outside interests do you have?
When I am not on the road, painting houses, or leading our youth group, I am sleeping.
How do you like playing in a nationally touring band?
It is a life long dream come true. I am blessed.
What are your favorite foods?
I haven't found it yet, KEEP IT COMING!
What are your favorite books?
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan
Wild at Heart by John Eldrige
The Body by Chuck Colson
The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul
What are your favorite movies?
It's a Wonderful Life
Hunt for the Red October
Ground Hog Day
Lord of the Rings
Who is the biblical person you'd most like to meet (besides Jesus)?
Who is the historical person you'd most like to meet?
Who is the famous person you'd most like to meet?