AFI (band)

AFI (band)

AFI performing at 2007's Live Earth in New Jersey
Background information
Origin Ukiah, California, United States
Genres Alternative rock, punk rock, post-hardcore, horror punk, hardcore punk[1]
Years active 1991–present
Labels Interscope, DreamWorks, Nitro, Adeline, Wingnut, Key Lime Pie
Associated acts Blaqk Audio, Loose Change, Son of Sam, The Frisk, Tiger Army, Hunter Revenge, Redemption 87, Heckle, The Force, The Reckless Kind
Davey Havok
Adam Carson
Hunter Burgan
Jade Puget
Past members
Mark Stopholese
Geoff Kresge
Vic Chalker

AFI (A Fire Inside) is an American alternative rock band from Ukiah, California that formed in 1991. They have consisted of the same lineup since 1998: lead vocalist Davey Havok, drummer and backup vocalist Adam Carson, with bassist Hunter Burgan and guitarist Jade Puget, who both play keyboard and contribute backup vocals.[2] Of the current lineup, Havok and Carson are original members.

During AFI's 20 years as a band, they have released eight studio albums, 11 EPs, two live albums and one DVD. It was not until the band's fifth album The Art of Drowning that the band achieved measurable commercial success: the album peaked at number 174 on the Billboard 200 and it also peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Top Heatseekers Albums Chart.

The band enjoyed its first major commercial success 12 years after it formed, in 2003, with Sing the Sorrow reaching number five on the Billboard 200, and remaining on the chart for 51 weeks.[3] The album was supported by popular singles "Girl's Not Grey" and "Silver and Cold", both of which peaked at number seven on America's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2003. "The Leaving Song Pt. II" was also released as a single, reaching number 16 on the chart. It went onto receive Platinum certification in the US, having sold over 1.2 million copies as of September 2009.[4]

The band returned in 2006 with Decemberunderground, which featured the hit single "Miss Murder". Both achieved the top spot on the Billboard 200 and Hot Modern Rock Tracks, respectively. The album also featured "Love Like Winter", which attained number four on the Modern Rock charts. It reached as far as Australia, where it grasped Gold certification, and also achieved this in the United States, where it has sold in excess of 993,000 copies.[4] AFI's eighth studio album Crash Love was released in 2009, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard 200, selling 52,000 copies in its first week of release.



Early years, Answer That, Very Proud of Ya, and Shut Your Mouth (1991–1998)

While still in high school in Ukiah, California, Davey Havok (vocals), Mark Stopholese (guitar) and Vic Chalker (bass) formed an outfit called AFI in November 1991. AFI has been said to be abbreviated from the full title A Fire Inside.[5] However, band members have stated that the name was formerly from the titles Asking for It[6] and Anthems for Insubordinates.[7] At the time, the band did not know how to play any instruments. Stopholese suggested his friend, Adam Carson, who had a drum kit join the band.[8] Stopholese learned guitar and Chalker learned bass, but Chalker was soon replaced by Geoff Kresge and AFI made its first EP in recording Dork (1993) with the now defunct Loose Change, which included future AFI guitarist Jade Puget. In regards to AFI's beginnings, Davey Havok laughed in a 1999 interview, "We were amazed that we even got our shit together enough to put out a split 7-inch with Jade's band at the time."[9]

AFI disbanded when its members attended different colleges, including UC Berkeley where members of the band lived and practiced for a time in the basement of the Delta Chi fraternity house on Channing Way. Kresge moved to New York where he played with Blanks 77. Following reuniting to perform a live show at the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma, California, the other members decided to drop out of college to play full-time with AFI after the enjoyable performance and positive response from the audience of about 200.[9] Between 1993 and 1995 the band released several vinyl EPs (Behind the Times; Eddie Picnic's All Wet; This Is Berkeley, Not West Bay; AFI/Heckle; Bombing the Bay; Fly in the Ointment) independently.

Their first full-length, Answer That and Stay Fashionable was released August 11, 1995 on Wingnut Records, and was produced by Tim Armstrong. The album featured fast and upbeat hardcore songs, with humorous lyrical themes, which are well-vocalized in songs such as "Nyquil", "Cereal Wars", and "I Wanna Get a Mohawk (But Mom Won't Let Me Get One)".[10] The album's cover is a parody of the film Reservoir Dogs's promotional poster. The album title takes root from a quote spoken in British TV show The Comic Strip Presents. Audio samples from both films/shows and European Vacation are featured in several of the album's tracks, namely "Don't Make Me Ill" and "High School Football Hero".

AFI signed on to Nitro Records, Dexter Holland of the Offspring's label. They would remain with the label until the release of the 336 EP.

In 1996, AFI then released their second album, Very Proud of Ya. The songs "Cruise Control" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing" from Very Proud of Ya were used in the 1996 independent film Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore, which was first screened in 1997 and also featured Havok in a small role. The album is longer than Answer That and Stay Fashionable. Two songs from their previous album, namely Yurf Rendenmein and Two of A Kind, were re-recorded for this album.

After several tours in support of the album Very Proud of Ya, Kresge decided to leave the group. His spot was filled by Hunter Burgan for the remaining Very Proud of Ya tour dates. Burgan went on to help AFI record Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes (1997) and was invited to become the full-time bassist. Future AFI guitarist Jade Puget also provided background vocals on Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes, making it the first album to feature all four current members of the band. The release of Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes is also notable because AFI started to gather a larger following.

Black Sails, All Hallow's EP and Art of Drowning (1999–2002)

After recording the A Fire Inside EP (1998), Stopholese left the band and was replaced by Jade Puget, former member of Influence 13 and vocalist Havok's close friend. The band then recorded Black Sails in the Sunset (1999), a musical turning point which introduced AFI fans to a much darker sound,[11] mixing the band's original hardcore roots with dark romantic influences (a poem by Charles Baudelaire, "De profundis clamavi," is present in the hidden track "Midnight Sun") and an emphasis on a more somber atmosphere and lyrics. The influence of the Deathrock and Goth rock scenes was also apparent. During this period their style was mostly referred to as horror punk or "gothic punk."[12] Offspring frontman Dexter Holland was featured as a backing vocalist on two tracks: "Clove Smoke Catharsis" and "The Prayer Position".

The All Hallows EP (October 5, 1999) further explored the horror punk genre, featuring artwork and lyrics containing Halloween themes. The EP spawned the single "Totalimmortal", a track later covered by The Offspring for the Me, Myself and Irene soundtrack. It received a fair amount of radio play and exposed AFI to larger audiences. The Boy Who Destroyed The World from the All Hallows EP was featured in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 video game. All Hallow's also featured a cover of the Misfits song "Halloween".

On September 19, 2000, AFI released The Art of Drowning, which debuted on the Billboard Charts at number 174, and peaked at number 9 on the Heatseekers chart.[13] It continued to touch base with the horror punk genre, but expanded into styles that were a departure from previous works.[14] The album featured slower, more melodic songs that were more reminiscent of alternative rock, such as "Ever and a Day" and "6 to 8". Still, the presence of hardcore influences was imminent in most of the album, flaunted most on tracks like "Smile", "The Lost Souls", and "Catch a Hot One". The album brought the band unprecedented success in the underground scene, selling in excess of 100,000 copies.[15] "The Days of the Phoenix" was released as a single and video and, like "Totalimmortal," had some moderate mainstream success, garnering the band more TV and radio airplay. The song even managed to reach the UK Singles Chart with its titular EP in 2001, peaking at number 152.[16] The Art of Drowning's success helped to encourage the band to pursue higher mainstream notoriety.

Mainstream success, Sing the Sorrow and Decemberunderground (2003–2007)

In 2002, AFI left Nitro Records. A&R Luke Wood signed them to DreamWorks Records following intense record label interest.[17] Their first album for the label, Sing the Sorrow, was released in 2003. The songs "Girl's Not Grey", "The Leaving Song Pt. II", and "Silver and Cold" had some Billboard chart success and exposed the band to even larger audiences. They were nominated in the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards for the MTV2 award category for the "Girl's Not Grey" video, which came to be their first VMA.

In June 2006, AFI's seventh studio album, Decemberunderground, was released on Interscope Records. The album's first single "Miss Murder" reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts.[18] The release reflects the continually changing and growing fan base of the band, and the album debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard charts.[19] The album has been certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 copies of the album.[20] Also, the band's second single, "Love Like Winter", enjoyed tremendous success on MTV's Total Request Live and was retired after 40 days on the countdown.

On December 12, 2006, AFI released their first DVD I Heard a Voice – Live from Long Beach Arena, featuring a live performance shot in Long Beach, California.

On January 20, 2007, AFI played "Miss Murder" and "Love Like Winter" on Saturday Night Live. Although the band performed "Love Like Winter" according to plan, technical difficulties occurred during their set of "Miss Murder," in which Davey's microphone went out during various parts of the song.

Though "The Missing Frame" was originally supposed to be the third single off Decemberunderground,[21] Davey Havok confirmed in the "Ask AFI" section of the Despair Faction message boards that there would not be a video for the song.[22] Havok also confirmed on the same boards that there would be no summer tour that year.[23] Puget began writing some material for the next album.[24]

On July 7, 2007 AFI performed at the American leg of Live Earth. They performed "The Missing Frame," "Love Like Winter," "Miss Murder," and a cover of David Bowie's "Ziggy Stardust".

AFI released a live album called I Heard a Voice – Live from Long Beach Arena. This was released on iTunes on November 13, 2007. It features all the songs from the 2006 DVD I Heard a Voice – Live from Long Beach Arena, including notable hits from past AFI records such as: "Miss Murder", "Girl's Not Grey," "The Leaving Song Pt. II," and "The Days of the Phoenix".

Begin Transmission and Crash Love (2007–present)

"Carcinogen Crush" was made available as a downloadable song exclusively for the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock by obtaining a code from purchasing the official soundtrack of the game.[25] The song was later released as a digital single on December 4, 2007.

A new EP was set for a December release, however, Havok announced through the Despair Faction forums that it would not be available until early 2008. The EP was to contain previously unreleased songs from the Decemberunderground and Sing the Sorrow sessions. Adam later revealed more details, noting that some of the songs would be new and never before heard, some fans may have heard (like "Carcinogen Crush"), and some fans may know about but never have heard before.[citation needed] It was later announced that the EP would be released after Crash Love,[26] but then Havok said that due to political issues, it would not be released. The songs that were to be on the EP would instead be distributed on various versions of Crash Love.[27]

In December 2008, the band released a video through YouTube revealing a contest for the upcoming album called Begin Transmission. It invited fans to make videos, telling the band about themselves in two minutes or less. Lead singer Davey Havok posted a video on December 19 that thanked the fans for their support and said he had watched every video up to that point (about 43 videos at the time). The contest ended on January 5, and fans were given the ability to score many of the videos themselves. The fans who won met the band and provided backing vocals for "I Am Trying Very Hard to Be Here", a song on the new album.

In late February it was confirmed via press release that AFI's eighth studio album would be titled Crash Love and that they would be embarking on a summer tour in support of it. In July 2009, Havok released a statement saying that after two years of writing and recording, the upcoming album would be released on September 29, 2009.[28] It was recorded with producer David Bottrill (who was later dismissed in favor of Joe McGrath and Jacknife Lee).[29][30] AFI previewed Crash Love on their MySpace page for two days starting September 22, 2009, seven days ahead of the official album release.[31]

In a 2009 interview with, Jade Puget stated that Crash Love was written in a hotel on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. In regards to the process of writing with Davey, Puget said "I’ve got my guitar and he’s got his tape recorder ... anything can happen. We don’t know what kind of song we’re going to write; it could be the best song you’ve ever written or nothing, just the amount of possibilities is exciting to me."[32]

The first single from the album, "Medicate", was released on August 25, 2009 and reached number 7 on the Billboard Alternative Songs Chart. A music video directed by Paul Minor premiered October 2.[33] In January 2010, AFI released a teaser for the video of their new single "Beautiful Thieves". The full video officially premiered on February 4, 2010 on MTV television networks and websites.

AFI toured the UK with Sick of It All and The Dear & Departed in April 2010, and supported Green Day on their summer 2010 U.S. tour.[34]

On September 8, 2011, a post was made to the band's official forum,, from frontman Davey Havok's forum account, which said that the band had split up.[35] This was shortly confirmed by the management to be a hoax, and the thread in question was deleted.[36]

Band members

  • Vic Chalker – bass, backing vocals (1991–1992)
  • Geoff Kresge – bass, backing vocals (1992–1997)
  • Mark Stopholese – guitars, backing vocals (1991–1998)


Studio albums


  1. ^ A.F.I. at Allmusic
  2. ^ Ambrose, Anthony. "AFI / Gallows @ Sayreville 10/10 @ NYC 10/1". Retrieved 2009-10-14. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ "‪AFI once stood for Asking For It! (Extended)‬‏". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  6. ^ "The History Of: AFI | Guitar Columns @". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ More Havok : Rolling Stone[dead link]
  9. ^ a b StraightEdgeDXH. "‪AFI interview (1999)‬‏". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  10. ^ "AFI - Answer That And Stay Fashionable (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2005-01-14. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  11. ^ "AFI | Official site". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  12. ^ AFI: Decemberunderground : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone[dead link]
  13. ^ AFI's Billboard Album Chart History
  14. ^ "AFI - The Art of Drowning (album review)". Sputnikmusic. 2006-08-02. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  15. ^ "AFI - Sing The Sorrow". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  16. ^ "The Art of Drowning Video". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  17. ^ "Interview with Luke Wood". HitQuarters. 4 Mar 2002. Retrieved 5 October 2011. 
  18. ^ AFI's Billboard Singles Chart History
  19. ^ "AFI burns brightly with #1 debut". Billboard. 2006-06-14. Retrieved 2006-07-08. 
  20. ^ "RIAA Certifications for Decemberuderground". Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  21. ^ "Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News". FMQB. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  22. ^ "The official AFI & DF Message Board". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  23. ^ "The official AFI & DF Message Board". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ Cohan, Jonathan (2007-09-20). "Billboard Bits: 'Guitar Hero III,' Os Mutantes, Isis". Billboard. Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  26. ^ Shy Boys Win (2008-09-02). "Shy Boys Win". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  27. ^ "Focus On - AFI Crash Love ::". Bombshellzine. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  28. ^ "New AFI record due Sept 29th.". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2009-07-08. 
  29. ^ "Quick Hits: Sheryl Crow, My Chemical Romance, AFI". FMQB. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  30. ^ "News about the album! - The Complete AFI Series Message Board". Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  31. ^ AFI News: CRASH LOVE ALBUM PREMIERE, official band website, accessed September 22, 2009
  32. ^ "New Interview: Jade Puget of AFI | - For the love of music! Serving Boston and Greater New England". 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  33. ^ "AFI New Video "Medicate" – DOOM! Magazine". 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  34. ^ "AFI and Green Day Announce Summer Tour". Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  35. ^ "AFI breakup statement a hoax; band still together". Alternative Press. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 
  36. ^ "AFI suffer split hoax". NME. Retrieved 8 September 2011. 

External links

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