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Tomo Miličević

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Tomo Miličević
Tomo Milicevic (North Gate, 2010) (cropped).jpg
Miličević performing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in February 2010
Born Tomislav Miličević
(1979-09-03) September 3, 1979 (age 37)
Sarajevo, SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, Yugoslavia
Residence Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Spouse(s) Vicki Bosanko (m. 2011)
Family Ivana Miličević (sister)
Musical career
Genres Alternative rock
  • Guitars
  • bass guitar
  • violin
  • keyboards
  • percussion
Associated acts

Tomislav "Tomo" Miličević (Croatian pronunciation: [tǒːmo milǐːt͡ʃevit͡ɕ]; born September 3, 1979) is an American musician and record producer best known as the lead guitarist of rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. Born in Sarajevo but raised in the United States, Miličević moved to Troy, Michigan in the early 1980s, where he became active in the local heavy metal scene and played in a number of bands, co-founding Morphic. In 2003, he joined Thirty Seconds to Mars, with whom he achieved worldwide recognition in the mid-2000s after recording the band's second album A Beautiful Lie (2005). Its full-length follow-ups, This Is War (2009) and Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams (2013), received further critical and commercial success.[1]

Miličević has also worked as a collaborator and music producer. Throughout the 2010s, he was featured on a recording with Dommin and collaborated with Ivy Levan on a number of releases, including Introducing the Dame (2013) and No Good (2015). Miličević has experimented with various guitar effects and introduced influences from several genres of music into his own style.

Early life[edit]

Tomo Miličević was born on September 3, 1979 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, then part of SFR Yugoslavia, to a Croatian family.[2] He is the middle child of Tonka and Damir Miličević. He has an elder sister, Ivana, and a younger brother, Filip. His father worked in agricultural engineering and his mother was a doctor. His family first arrived in the United States in 1982, where Miličević's brother Filip was born.[3] They travelled back and forth until they permanently emigrated to Troy, Michigan when Miličević enrolled in the third grade, to avoid the Bosnian War. He stated that he "would be in the army by 16, fighting in the front lines by age 17" if his family had not emigrated.[4] After moving to the United States, both his parents worked in manufacturing industries in Troy and Detroit.[3] A few years later, they started their own business.[4]

Miličević became interested in classical music at early age, when he started to take violin lessons inspired by his uncle Željko "Bill" Miličević, a virtuoso violinist and professor of music at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. "I was actually born and bred to be a concert violinist", he explained.[4] Miličević's introduction to the world of heavy metal music was around the age of 11.[3] His parents supported his decision to start playing guitar, so he and his father made one together. He began writing his own music in high school, while at the same time performing in a number of local bands.[4]

Miličević gained American citizenship in the early 1990s.[3] He attended culinary school, becoming a certified executive and pastry chef, and worked in a number of restaurants in Metro Detroit.[4] He graduated from Athens High School in Troy and then moved to Los Angeles, rejoining his siblings Ivana and Filip.[2] The three later convinced their parents to leave Troy and resettle in Los Angeles, where they opened a restaurant.[5]


Miličević began playing in bands around Troy in the late 1990s.[6] He co-founded the group Morphic with some friends in 2000.[3] The band first operated under the name Loki, before settling on its final name.[7] By 2001, the group performed gigs at small Michigan venues and clubs, and recorded a number of demo tracks.[8] The following year, Miličević left the band and was almost ready to quit his musical career. However, during this period, manager Arthur Spivak, who had previously met Miličević at a showcase concert with Morphic, told him about an audition for Thirty Seconds to Mars. Miličević then decided to move to Los Angeles where he had a successful audition with Thirty Seconds to Mars, replacing guitarist Solon Bixler.[3] By 2003, the band consisted of Miličević, lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jared Leto, drummer Shannon Leto, and bassist Matt Wachter. The new line-up debuted on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn in February 2003.[4]

Miličević performing in Padova, Italy in July 2013

Thirty Seconds to Mars entered the studio in March 2004 to begin working on their second album A Beautiful Lie.[9] The recording process saw the band traveling to four different continents to accommodate Jared Leto's acting career. A Beautiful Lie was released on August 30, 2005 in the United States. Fueled by the band's relentless touring and the mainstream success of the single "The Kill", the album received multiple certifications all over the world, including platinum in the United States, with a worldwide sales total of over four million.[10] The album tour saw the band playing at several major festivals, including Roskilde, Pinkpop, Rock am Ring, and Download.[11][12]

In August 2008, during the recording process of the band's third studio album, Thirty Seconds to Mars attempted to sign with a new label, prompting EMI (the parent label of Virgin), to file a $30 million breach of contract lawsuit.[13] After nearly a year of legal battles, the band announced on April 28, 2009, that the suit had been settled following a defence based on the De Havilland Law.[14] Thirty Seconds to Mars then signed a new contract with EMI and released their third album This Is War in December 2009 to critical acclaim.[15][16]

This Is War reached the top ten of several national album charts and earned numerous music awards. The band began their Into the Wild Tour in support of the record in February 2010 and was among the hardest-working touring artists of the year.[17] In December 2011, they entered the Guinness World Records for most live shows during a single album cycle, with 300 shows.[16] Miličević collaborated with American band Dommin on a rendition of Cutting Crew's song "(I Just) Died in Your Arms", which was released on a special edition of Dommin's album Love Is Gone (2010).[18] He began producing American singer Ivy Levan in 2012. After signing to Cherrytree Records, Levan released the EP Introducing the Dame (2013), which features a collaboration with Miličević, who wrote and produced a number of tracks.[19][20]

Thirty Seconds to Mars released their fourth album, Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams, in May 2013 through Universal. It received generally positive reviews and reached the top ten in more than fifteen countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.[21] The band promoted the album by embarking on their Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams Tour and the Carnivores Tour, co-headlining with Linkin Park.[22] In April 2014, Thirty Seconds to Mars announced that they have parted from Virgin Records after tumultuous years with the label.[23] The following year, Miličević engineered Ivy Levan's debut album No Good alongside Patrick Nissley. He also wrote and performed on selected tracks.[24]


Miličević is a classically trained musician who began his musical education at a very early age, playing the violin.[25] During his youth, he had been influenced by jazz and classical music, listening to performers such as Stéphane Grappelli, John McLaughlin, Paco de Lucía, and Al Di Meola.[4] His own ethnic background, and the diverse social and cultural mix in and around Detroit, were crucial in the formation of Miličević as a musician.[2][3] He developed his interest in guitar from the moment he was introduced to heavy metal music, becoming a devoted fan of bands such as Pantera, Metallica, and Slayer. When he started writing his own music, Miličević regarded Pantera's album Vulgar Display of Power as a particularly influential record.[4] He was further drawn into guitar when he realized the "genius" of emotions and passions which characterizes the common songwriting of rock music.[26] Miličević explained, "All of the music that I have ever listened to, in some shape or form, has inspired me to do music".[4] He grew up listening to progressive rock and blues artists, citing Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.[27] His major influences also include alternative rock bands such as Nirvana and The Smashing Pumpkins. He is inspired by electronic music, including The Cure and Depeche Mode.[4][28]

Miličević explained that when making music his passion for the creative process is what drives his works and allows to constantly reinvent his style.[29][30] Rod Lockwood from The Blade described his work as "propulsive and energetic, with a big, anthemic sound that draws on U2, The Cure, and classic rock for its aural infrastructure".[31] Artistdirect complimented the "beautifully complex guitars" featured on the album A Beautiful Lie.[32] A writer from the Chicago Music Guide commended the "imaginative effects" on This Is War,[33] while Guitar Edge stated that the guitar work on the album is "in a class of its own", noticing "rich atmospheres" and "masterful guitar tone".[6] Miličević experimented with different instruments and drew influences from a varied range of styles in Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams.[34] In addition to the guitar and violin, Miličević is also a fluent player of bass instruments, keyboards and percussion, and supplies backing vocals during concerts.[30]

Personal life[edit]

Miličević's immediate family includes his sister, actress Ivana, and his brother, photographer Filip.[5] He is the nephew of Željko "Bill" Miličević, professor of music at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.[4] Miličević married his longtime girlfriend Vicki Bosanko in Crete, Greece in July 2011.[35] After living in Los Angeles for over a decade, Miličević came back in Michigan in August 2014, moving to Indian Village in Detroit with his wife. He described himself as a "Michigan kid" who grew up with the music scene of Detroit. He also explained to have a "deep-rooted affinity" for the city.[2] Miličević lives a vegan lifestyle and supports animal rights.[36][37] He worked with the Best Friends Animal Society on a number of programs.[37] In the 2008 presidential election, Miličević supported Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.[38] In June 2008, he joined Habitat for Humanity to work with Thirty Seconds to Mars on a home being repaired and renovated through the Greater Los Angeles Area's "A Brush With Kindness" programme.[39]


Studio albums with Thirty Seconds to Mars


  1. ^ Hall, David (October 9, 2013). "Thirty Seconds to Mars rises to new heights". The Orange County Register. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Graff, Gary (August 27, 2014). "30STM's Troy member brings it back home". The Oakland Press. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Karan 2010, p. 84.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Anderson, Philip (April 19, 2006). "Interview with Tomo Milicevic and Matt Wachter of 30 Seconds to Mars". Kaos2000 Magazine. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Wappler, Margaret (February 8, 2013). "Ivana Milicevic, Banshee". Dame. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b Politte 2010, p. 7.
  7. ^ "Morphic pushes the envelope of modern alternative rock with dark melodic tones and driving music". SoundClick. Retrieved February 24, 2016. 
  8. ^ Hill 2004, p. 74.
  9. ^ Roth, Kaj (March 16, 2004). "30 Seconds To Mars Working On Next Album". Melodic. Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ Winwood 2012, p. 22.
  11. ^ Leahey, Andrew. "Thirty Seconds to Mars". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved May 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ "History: Rock am Ring 2007". Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur, Rock am Ring. Retrieved August 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ Kreps, Daniel (August 18, 2008). "Virgin/EMI Sue 30 Seconds to Mars for $30 Million, Leto Fights Back". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  14. ^ Brown, August (November 29, 2009). "30 Seconds to Mars soars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  15. ^ Martens, Todd (April 28, 2009). "30 Seconds to Mars and EMI make nice, new album due this fall". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 29, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Schillaci, Sophie (October 17, 2011). "Thirty Seconds to Mars to Earn Guinness Records Title for Most Shows Performed During a Single Album Cycle". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  17. ^ Crowder, Ryan (March 10, 2011). "Study Reveals Hardest Working Music Acts". Business Wire. Retrieved August 30, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Dommin Talk 30 Seconds to Mars Collaboration on Kerrang! Podcast". Roadrunner Records. July 12, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  19. ^ "Introducing the Dame". South by Southwest. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  20. ^ Introducing the Dame (liner notes). Ivy Levan. Cherrytree Records. 2013. 
  21. ^ Maguire, Chris (May 21, 2013). "Thirty Seconds To Mars' Love Lust Faith + Dreams Out Today". AltSounds. Archived from the original on July 19, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  22. ^ Childers, Chad (March 4, 2014). "Linkin Park + Thirty Seconds To Mars Team Up for 2014 Carnivores Tour With Special Guest AFI". Loudwire. Townsquare Media. Retrieved October 23, 2014. 
  23. ^ Hampp, Andrew (April 25, 2014). "Jared Leto On Leaving Virgin, Thirty Seconds To Mars Doc 'Artifact'". Billboard. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  24. ^ "No Good: Ivy Levan". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved March 10, 2016. 
  25. ^ Bekker & Fuger 2005, p. C9.
  26. ^ Elfman, Doug (December 31, 2010). "Hard work and dedication secret to success for 30 Seconds to Mars". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  27. ^ Andreen, Amanda (September 9, 2005). "30 Seconds To Mars". The Music Edge. Archived from the original on October 30, 2005. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  28. ^ Yates 2010, p. 50.
  29. ^ Kawatra, Isha (October 11, 2013). "30 Seconds to Mars to play Hollywood Bowl". Daily Trojan. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  30. ^ a b Politte 2010, p. 8.
  31. ^ Lockwood 2006, p. 43.
  32. ^ "Thirty Seconds to Mars". Artistdirect. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  33. ^ Vega, Tanya (April 16, 2010). "Thirty Seconds to Mars". Chicago Music Guide. Archived from the original on November 25, 2015. Retrieved March 11, 2016. 
  34. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (March 20, 2013). "First Listen: New Thirty Seconds to Mars Album 'Love Lust Faith + Dreams'". Fuse. Retrieved July 6, 2014. 
  35. ^ "Tomo Miličević of 30 Seconds to Mars gets married!". Buzznet. SpinMedia. July 7, 2011. Retrieved March 15, 2016. 
  36. ^ Graff, Gary (August 28, 2014). "Linkin Park's Carnivores Tour packs plenty of bite". The Oakland Press. Retrieved February 19, 2016. 
  37. ^ a b "Stars Attend NKLA Adoption Weekend". Look to the Stars. May 6, 2014. Retrieved March 15, 2016. 
  38. ^ Colothan, Scott (November 7, 2008). "30 Seconds To Mars Show Support For Barack Obama At MTV EMAs". Gigwise. Giant Digital. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  39. ^ "30 Seconds To Mars And Hollywood For Habitat For Humanity Unite For One-Of-A-Kind Build". June 30, 2008. Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved September 12, 2013. 


  • Bekker, Mariana; Fuger, Amber (November 17, 2005). "Live from Boise, It's 30 Seconds to Mars". The Arbiter: C9. Retrieved March 11, 2016. (subscription required (help)). 
  • Hill, Liz (March 19, 2004). "Not Your Run-of-the-Mill Motor City Rock Band". Detroit Free Press. Knight Ridder: 74. 
  • Karan, Tim (March 2010). "War All the Time". Alternative Press (260): 80–86. 
  • Lockwood, Rob (March 30, 2006). "Exception to the Rule". The Blade. Block Communications: 43. 
  • Politte, Elliott (February 2010). "30 Seconds to Mars: Sonic Battlefields". Guitar Edge. 5 (2): 6–7. 
  • Winwood, Ian (February 18, 2012). "10 Years of Life on Mars". Kerrang!. Bauer Media Group (1402): 20–23. 
  • Yates, Henry (June 2010). "Thirty Seconds to Mars". Total Guitar. Future plc (202): 50–52. 

External links[edit]