about me

about me

"Ya know why they'll never make a movie of my life? Because there's no tragedy in it. And that's just fine with me."

                                                                                                                Dean Milano

Fun From Day One

A lot of people have asked me to do a biography page since that seems to be a popular thing to do on a Website. It's also a tough thing to do because there is such a fine line between telling what you've done and "bragging". I'll try to do this without too much of the latter....hopefully.

(By the way, apparently some people have been taking my photo captions quite seriously. Many of the captions are true, but believe me, if it sounds ridiculous, it probably is. And, no- the images have not been photo-shopped or altered in any way.)

Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin- March 15, 1951. "Beware the Ides of March" takes on a new meaning.

Mom and me in our '48 Plymouth. One of the earliest photos of me and of course, I'm in the front seat of a car. The bonding begins. (No, not between mother and son......between son and cars!)

My love for miniature vehicles started at an early age.  The Jewel man would come to our door every week with a metal toy of a Jewel Tea Company delivery truck sticking out of his basket and I just had to have it. I bugged my folks 'til they broke down and bought it for my 4th birthday.

jeweltruck.JPG (29254 bytes) Unfortunately, over the years I discovered I couldn't really enjoy a meal unless I had my little truck by my side.

Ah yes, age 5 and the silliness begins. To this day, I still seem to have a hard time taking a normal picture. "Dean, why can't you just smile like everyone else, dammit!"

And then of course, the cruelty begins. Myself and my brothers Mark and Paul on Marks birthday. We placed his birthday cake on the hood of his new pedal car and forced him to drive it around as fast as he could without letting it slide off- or we threatened to beat him. 

By the time I was 7, I had finally gotten my drivers license. Here I am taking my cousin Felice for a spin. When I was 18, I traded this car in for a shiny Kidillac with dual pedals.

flintcar.jpg (25911 bytes) I eventually traded that vehicle in for a vintage Rockmobile. I bought it from a guy named Fred who told me it only had 26,000 footmiles on it.

My collections ca. 1963-4. I actually still have several of these models and was able to display them in our museum.

In July of 1964, our family moved to the Chicago area. A town called Glen Ellyn, to be exact. "A real nice place to raise your kids up", as Frank Zappa might say.

In 1965, I won my first model contest trophy at a local hobby shop. First and third places were both taken by Corvettes, but my customized '56 Ford squeezed in between 'em and grabbed 2nd place. I still have the model and the trophy.

gropepic.gif (127014 bytes) Uh-oh. By 1966, I was a full-fledged Rock 'n Roller and all thoughts of model car building were buried away for the time being. I'm the groovy cat sitting on the ground. Hey, the moustache may be fake, but the eyebrows are real! (L to R: Dave Turnquist, Pat Cannon, Steve Zoellin, Bob Baum, Russ Ward and yours truly)

 Who would've guessed that within a few short years, this-

would turn into this? And believe me, there were no drugs or alcoholic beverages involved! Something just went terribly wrong.

1971, on the beach in Acapulco. The hotel Papagayo was a landmark that was torn down years later to make way for a park. This was my very first of many trips to Mexico and it actually changed my life in some ways.

  1972, playing at a rally for Dan Walker, who was running for the office of Governor of Illinois. He eventually won, but I'm not exactly sure if my band really had anything to do with it.

 Around 1974, after coming home from college (Southern Illinois University), I started to revive my interest in model cars. '74 was a great time to get back in because you could still pick up rare kits at great prices and I picked up quite a few. It was the beginning of a collection that is now officially out of control. I also started a new phase of my music career.

seekers.jpg (28011 bytes) In 1980, I joined the New Seekers and traveled across the country singing "Hey There, Georgy Girl" every night for about 4 years. Hey c'mon, if that blonde had her hand on your bass, you'd be smiling, too. Alright, class....let's get our minds out of the gutter.

bodiddley2.JPG (18963 bytes) Backstage at Milwaukee Summerfest with Bo Diddley, probably 1982.

Singing the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium, New York in front of 50,000 Yankee fans and the good ol' American flag. That's us towards the bottom of the picture, directly in front of the color guard. Pretty exciting stuff, and I'm not even a baseball fan!

I met this very nice couple on a trip to the Wisconsin Dells, but they insisted on wearing these huge masks all the time we were together. I later found out why- they had both been horribly disfigured in an automobile accident.

Yours truly, in the 1982 production of Stumpy's Gang. Jim Belushi had suggested to friends of mine that we make a short film to be shown on Saturday Night Live, along the lines of the Mr.Bill series. Unfortunately, Stumpy was a bit long, coming in at around 12 minutes, so it was never shown on SNL. Chances are pretty good you've never seen this film. UPDATE: Now you can actually see this film and my other film from 1971- Squeamish Nazis. Click on the link!  http://youtube.com/profile_videos?user=marknyc9

Doing a show at Second City, Chicago. I have to admit, it was a real kick performing on the same stage that artists like John Belushi, Joan Rivers, Alan Arkin, etc. had once been on. Maybe someday I'll be as famous as them.  Then again........maybe not.

By 1993, the live band end of the music biz was in it's death throes, so when I got a call from Revell-Monogram, asking if I needed a job, I figured...what the heck? Might even be fun! I ended up working there for 12 years. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it wasn't.  ( I never stopped playing in bands, though...and I never burned out on model building, either!)

myoffice.jpg (31299 bytes) My office at Revell, Des Plaines ca.1994. Surrounded by model kits, who could ask for anything more? The Des Plaines site closed in '98 and we all moved over to the Morton Grove facility. In 2003, we moved to a new facility in Northbrook, Il. and in 2006, the original Morton Grove plant was razed, I imagine to make way for another Walgreens. 

1995 was my first trip to Europe. Now if you'll all sit down and be quiet, I'll show you 208 slides of my vacation.

newforum.jpg (32693 bytes) My brother Mark and I "debating" in the Roman Forum in Rome, Italy. It is truly amazing walking across the very same floors that Julius Caesar walked across so long ago. Oh well, I guess you had to be there.......

louvre.jpg (36313 bytes) Here I am, admiring a painting at the Louvre in Paris, France. My brothers and I were actually kicked out of the Louvre that day. One of my brothers can be a bit of a wise-ass at times and I guess the French didn't appreciate our sense of humor. If my folks ever found out, they'd *kill* us!

deanflip.jpg (30398 bytes) My brother Philip and I were so impressed by the gardens at Versailles, that we decided we needed to play "horsey back ride".

puerto.jpg (27646 bytes) Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 1996. With that gorgeous view of the bay behind me, I just had to sit down and build a model kit on the spot.

 Singing opera in front of the Opera House in Sydney, Australia- 1997. Well, isn't that what you're supposed to do?

ozhobby.jpg (42127 bytes) Checking out the copy I wrote for the Revell '69 Dart kit. This Australian hobby shop was very similar to an American shop. I'm not sure the shop owner believed me when I tried to explain that I was the guy who actually wrote the copy on the sides of the box, but I noticed he was happy when I actually bought something.

rothpic.jpg (28532 bytes) Working with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth at the Chicago Hobby Show in '97 was fun. He brought the Beatnik Bandit II with him and signed autographs in our booth during the 4 day event. My wife, Gay is to the left of Roth and that's me, with the top hat embedded in my neck.

research.jpg (44218 bytes) Doing a research photo shoot of a Chevelle for Revell ( hey,that rhymes!). The fellow on the ladder is Bill Lastovich. The ladder eventually buckled and Bill fell onto the trunk of the car, leaving a 2 1/2 foot long dent. (Just kidding)

dolphin.jpg (33817 bytes) Gay and I had a great time back in Puerto Vallarta Spring of 2000. Here we are with former Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, Mark Spitz. Mark was in costume for his new gig with the "El Dolphin World" theme park in Mexico.

On August 5th, 2000, I finally decided trying to stay single for 50 years wasn't worth it, so I got married (at age 49 1/2).

I found a woman with a fabulous vintage car and promised to marry her if she would let me drive it once in a while. (just a joke. The car actually belongs to good friend, Ronn Pittman.)

topper.jpg (18289 bytes) topper2.jpg (28099 bytes) gallerypic.jpg (19544 bytes) wifepic2.jpg (22150 bytes)

Gay and I on top of our chocolate wedding cake and.......the real thing.


stone.jpg (19960 bytes) Here I am in the South of England, showing the difference between American and British car keys. Apparently that pile of stones in the background is of some significance, but I'm not exactly sure what.

bigwheel.jpg (20045 bytes) Trying to demonstrate how really big the Big Wheel in London is.

bigben.jpg (21004 bytes) Gay checks her watch against Big Ben....just in case.

notre.jpg (22511 bytes) Feeling holy at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The moment quickly passed.

carheaven2.jpg (28752 bytes) Dean, in Old Car Heaven....Havanna, 2001

deanbus.jpg (26914 bytes) Move over, Ralph Cramden! Dere ain't room in dis bus for da two of us!(Bus & Rail Museum- Toronto, Canada)

parthenon.jpg (26374 bytes) This old building in Athens was in bad shape, so I thought I'd chip in and do some minor repairs. The local authorities weren't impressed.

yachtrace.jpg (45637 bytes) In August of 2003, Gay and I actually crewed on the Stars & Stripes, the yacht that had won the Americas Cup race in 1987. Prior to the race, I agreed to gain 50 pounds to act as ballast. (St.Maarten, Caribbean)

greenwich.JPG (30769 bytes) Here I am standing on the line between the Hemispheres, the line that determines what time the new day starts throughout the world. It's the GMT line at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England and I'm going crazy. I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S TIME FOR BREAKFAST OR DINNER!   AAARGH!

madurodam.JPG (44378 bytes) The Madurodam, in Holland is the worlds largest 1/25th scale diorama and it is quite impressive. I had noticed a model car on the street that was missing from my own collection and I hoped to obtain it through negotiations with the management. My wife slapped me on top of the head before I was able to do so, however.

morrocco.jpg (37328 bytes) With the live music scene slowly disappearing in the US, I thought I'd try to join a band in Morrocco, Africa. When I found out the gig only paid two pounds of camel dung per week, I decided against it. 

grandkids2.JPG (23803 bytes) One of my pet peeves is bumper stickers that say "Ask Me About My Grandchildren!" Let's face it folks, NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR GRANDCHILDREN EXCEPT YOU! Meanwhile, have I shown you a picture of my grandkids? Aren't they just the cutest litt.......what?     Oh.   Never mind.

crater.jpg (24315 bytes) Gay, standing on the edge of a live volcano on our trip to Nicaragua, November 2005. She thought about jumping in, but then that whole "virgin" issue came up and she changed her mind.

This Petroglyph at Palma Sola, in the mountains above Acapulco, Mexico is quite ancient, possibly 3,000 years old. Apparently those carvings on the rock behind him are also fairly old.

clambox.jpg (34606 bytes) Stoppin' off for roadside chow at the original Clam Box restaurant while Cruisin' in a Cruiser. What could be cooler? (Ipswich, Ma.)

cdparty-1.jpg (49475 bytes) December 17th, 2006- The CD Release party for my first album, SONGS ABOUT STUFF. Looks like I'm obviously singing some painfully serious song or maybe I just have a stomach ache. Left to right: Dennis Gordon (co-producer), Scott Braam (recording engineer) myself and Dave Kovnat, who plays drums on the album. Photo- Debi Zari

dennistrib.jpg (38282 bytes) March 19th, 2007- I helped organize and MC a memorial tribute to Dennis Gordon, my musical partner and friend of 25 years. Dennis passed away on February 20th, 2007 and over 100 friends and musicians came to celebrate his life on this night one month later. Needless to say, it was quite an emotional event. Photo- Debi Zari

Gay, at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. Such an idyllic scene, and yet if you look a few feet to the left, there are hundreds of people, lots of gift shops and a huge parking lot filled with cars. More like the Cliffs of Moher Amusement Park, but it was still an awe inspiring sight..

The Foynes Flying Boat Museum in Ireland. Who'da thunk it? But there it was as we happened to be driving by. That's Mat Irvine sitting out front and that's me sitting inside the world's largest scale model- The Pan Am Yankee Clipper flying boat. Too cool.

Exploring the Mother Road, Fall of 2007. "Hey Route 66, where'd ya go?"

Ah yes, what could be more fun than playing dress-up with grandpa! (Abby and Maggie)

Would you buy a used boat from this couple?  Hmmm...... (Ah, Puerto Vallarta again)

Well, I may not be wearing a lei, but I hope these beads prove I was in Maui!

Wow, the life of a famous author. Hanging out at Barnes & Nobles, signing my new book- The Chicago Music Scene: 1960s & 1970s. This woman was nice enough to pretend she was buying a copy so I could set up this picture.

The whole gang at brother Paul's wedding in July of 2010. We seem to be multiplying......like rabbits!

The week before Christmas of 2010, our whole family got together in Jacksonville, Florida and the brothers decided to rent a studio and play a few tunes. And we didn't sound bad for a bunch of old guys. Here's a link to my Youtube page which shows quite a few videos of the music: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type&search_query=dean+milano&aq=f

In 2012, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City showed several items I had loaned them for their display on tall ships. They even set up a phone so you could listen to the record I had sent them.


To Be Continued........(as more things happen)     

The following is a "poem" or whatever, that I wrote about fun stuff I'd done in my life. Before I placed it on this page, I showed it to several people with mixed results. Some said it was way over the top and I was coming off like a real blowhard, while others thought it was legit and came off as someone expressing how thankful he was for the life experiences he'd had. I'll let you, the reader be the judge, and if I get too many negative responses, ......I'll yank it off!

 Update: Several years now with no complaints. Guess I'll leave it up.  But I have to admit, it seems to be getting a bit lengthy.        ;^)

I think I've had a pretty good life:

I've had a pretty good life and if I could go back and do it over again, I really don't think I'd change a thing. 





Welcome to the Milano/Kulas/LaPorte Family Pictures area.

These pictures are being made available to my family for downloading. If you're not a Milano/Kulas/LaPorte family member, they may not mean much to you, but there are some pretty interesting older images here, nonetheless.