THERE is something pleasing about the idea of blood dripping off the end of Tom Milner’s hands.

There is something delightful in discovering the Voice contestant and one-time star of BBC drama Waterloo Road went on to grind coffee.

Right now, Milner is starring in the touring production of American Idiot. Set to music by cult rock band Green Day, it’s a dark, dystopian tale of three boyhood friends searching for meaning in a post 9/11 way.

However, the West Yorkshire-born actor-singer is reveals the road to rock musical success has been incredibly rocky.

“When I was 13, I attended a stage school in Leeds and a childrens’ TV company came looking for talent,” he recalls. “Within a week I had begun professional life on a CITV series Barking, about a talking dog.

“Then I landed Waterloo Road (he played cheeky schoolboy Paul Langley) and it was amazing.

Milner was chauffeured to work every day. Brollies held over his teenage head on rainy days. “I just thought that was normal. And after the run I landed Holby City. I just assumed this was what the industry was like.”

But after 2011 – nothing. The carousel stopped spinning. “I was so affected by rejections,” he admits. “I couldn’t cope with the fact this was a job in which you stand before a panel of people who are judging you. And because I’d never been to a drama college, where you are trained how to deal with rejection, it was so much harder to deal with.”

Milner, now 27, reveals his confidence had all but evaporated. He decided the only way to recover was to get out of the industry completely for two years and trained as a barista.

“I loved coffee and a family friend who owned a coffee shop gave me the chance. And it was great. I needed routine. I needed to get up at seven every morning. I needed to get the same money coming in every month. And most importantly, it got me talking to people again. Slowly, I began to get my confidence back.”

It did return and offers for stage work arrived. In 2016, Milner’s re-found confidence helped him appear on BBC talent show, The Voice. But it was a huge tester.

“Before you sing you stand there for 20 seconds with a spotlight on you, the audience staring at you. And you have Boy George, Ricky Wilson, Paloma Faith and Will I. Am also staring at you.

“On top of that, my family and fiancé were there. The 20 seconds felt like 20 hours.” He grins; “I now tell myself if I can get through that I can get through anything.”

Now, he’s in musical which has been a hit for ten years, playing a guitarist. Milner reveals had his dad to thank for landing the role of drug-addled Johnny. “My dad was a massive Smokie fan - Living Next Door to Alice - and I grew up listening to them. That got me into learning four chord songs and I learned to play Green Day’s When September Ends.”

The then 12 year-old would practise until the steel strings were covered in blood, revealing his willingness to succeed.

But could he have imagined one day he’d be up there on stage wearing nothing but a Mohican hair cut and singing that very song?

“No,” he grins. “But I realised If I were up there naked with spotlights on me I’d need to hit the gym and lose the little beer gut.

Yet, it’s a great acting role. It goes very deep and it’s mentally draining to do it every night. As an actor playing someone addicted to heroin you’ve got to go into a dark place.”

Does the role offer an insight into what it’s like to have an addiction? “I can’t imagine being on heroin, but as human beings I think we’re all addicted to something, whether it’s a couple of beers, smoking or chocolate, even if it’s ruining your life. It’s the way we’re programmed.”

He once declared he hoped to make it as a singer, rather than an actor. Does that still hold? “No. These days you have to be able to do it all. And what’s amazing about American Idiot I get to do both.”

American Idiot, The King’s Theatre, May 28-June 1.