Music. It's all part of our lives. It's around us, sending its hypnotic beats flying. Music that is inspiring, beautiful, and loved deserves something like this.
I was inspired, from Blondyy16's Behind The Set articles, to do a series of my own. But this time instead of having it be about actors and movie stars, it's about music!
The Music Scene will be a series of articles that appreciates the bands and singers behind the music. They are the ones that make the magic happen every time you hit the "Play" button. So, I figured, it's time to recognize them and really appreciate the musicians around us. This way I can do it, one band at a time.
I wanted to start with my favorite band, one that I think deserves this above others. I think this group is amazing, and I would like to share this story with you.
AFI. There is to much to say about this amazing rock/punk band. I think "talent, beautiful, powerful, and courageous," all have to be said about AFI. But there's more I would like you to learn about this rock group, and I think after you're done reading, you'll be glad you did, too.
Hardcore punk revivalists, A Fire Inside, originally formed in Ukiah, California in 1991, when vocalist Davey Havok and drummer Adam carson were attending highschool in Ukiah. I guess AFI started like any other band: on a dream. Soon that dream turned into reality when Vick Anderson and Markus Stopholese joined the band, with Markus playing guitar, and Vick playing bass.
So, AFI's journey had begun. A Fire Inside started playing local gigs with Ukiah natives, Loose Change. Soon, although, the band's future looked grim, with three of the four members going to seperate colleges, the band could no longer continue. The tiny fan base AFI had gathered was devastated. A year and a half later, a fan, and friend of frontman Davey havok, suggested a reunion show, on a holiday break from school. So AFI gathered up band equipment for the last time to play at the small concert hall just outside of Ukiah. The number of the people that came to the show shocked AFI, and they decided to pursue music full time. Vick, the bassist of AFI at that time, left the band to finish college, and was replaced by Hunter Burgan.
A couple of singles landed them a deal with Nitro labels, and six months later, the band put out their debut album "Answer That & Stay Fashionable." The album was a sucsess, so AFI moved on to their second albulm, "Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Eyes." And the CD's just kept rolling from there. When guitarist Stopholese left, the guitar spot of the band was quickly filled by Jade Puget, a friend of the AFI, just in time for them to go into the studios once again and record "Black Sails into the Sunset." But AFI"s fame didn't stop there. Now with seven albums out, including the latest one, "Decemberunderground," A Fire Inside is more famous than ever. I don't know how they stay so humble!
Now, how about some bare facts on the band?
The current(and hopefully stable) lineup is:
Davey Havok - Vocals / songwriter
Jade Puget - Guitar / songwriter
Hunter Burgan - Bass
Adam Carson - Drums
Above, I think I covered AFI as a whole, but not individualy. So, I'm going to get into each band member on his own.
Davey Havok (who's real last name is unkown, Havok is his stage name) was born in Rochester, New York, on November 20th, 1975. He moved to Ukiah, CA when he was very young. He lost his biological father after they moved to Ukiah, but has a stepfather, mother and little brother. Davey always had a passion for music, and would perform at family events any chance he could. After he found a liking to skateboarding, punk rock soon followed.
Back in 1990, that combination meant the suffering title of a "freak" (though that's the farthest thing from true, now-a-days). Davey was always the guy that had the mohawk, or wore makeup. He was always the weird one, the one people picked on. No matter, he was still well-liked by his teachers and most of his peers. "I think Davey opened some eyes," Adam Carson said.
Still, Davey stuck to the music he loved. As for the make-up, didn't we all rummage through our mother's as a child? Admit it . . . Except when Davey did it, he stuck to it. "Everyone used to call me gay when I wore makeup," Davey Havok says. "Now, when someone calls me gay because of my makeup, I usually turn around and blow kisses at them, just to make a statement" (AMP interview, 2005).
Nonetheless, Davey still pours his heart into music and his lyrics. Davey also started a clothing line with Hot Topic in 2003, but with no sucsess. I have heard of him trying to do the line again, this time with a bigger company. On the side, he and Jade Puget are doing an electronic side project called "Blaqk Audio" which should be realeased soon.
Davey is also a vegan (no products made from or are animals) and Straightedge (no drugs, no alcohol). He says about himself being a Straightedge, "Just the culture that went along with drugs and alcohol never appealed to me. My family has been really supportive of my vegan diet, and I think the only time my mother objected was when she said, 'I don't care if you don't drink wine, but you're italian, you eat cheese!" (Alternative Press, July, 2006).
Davey Havok is 5'11, still Vegan and Straitedge, and is living in Berkely, CA. (By the way, have you soon is new haircut? It's so awesome:D)
Jade was born November 28th, 1973, and grew up in northen California. Jade picked up the guitar in his freshman year of high school. His parents weren't very supportive of his playing, so he taught himself songs by Led Zeppelin, and 'BB' King and so on. He's had quite a lineup of bands, but in the end, he of course settled as guitarist with AFI, right before they went into the studios to record "Black Sails Into the Sunset." He is also the prime songwriter for AFI. Maybe that's why the band's sound changed after "Black Sails" came out. I have no complaints.
All in all, it's evident that Jade belongs with AFI, and he's influenced many, whether as a guitarist, or a comedian. Jade Puget is one of those guys that leaves you laughing your butt off. Or, at least that's my conclusion from what interviews I've read. Jade is also Straightedge, but not vegan. He's 5'10, and lives outside of Berkley, like Davey Havok. (I love Jade's hair, too.)
Hunter. Hmmm, he's a character. Hunter Burgan was born in Long Beach, CA on May 14th, 1976 and grew up there until he moved outside of Ukiah when he was 16. He started playing bass in Middle school, after he had played Orchestra bass in elementry. He joined AFI as a temporary bass player, and they paid him 666 dollars for their second album, "Shut Your Mouth and Open your Eyes." People say 666 is part of Hunter's phone number, and that's why they paid that amount, but shhhh, I didn't tell ya!
However, the bass isnt Hunter's only talent; he had played the Orchestra bass, piano, violin, and of course, he can sing! He and Jade do the back up vocals, but mostly Hunter. Not only does he have a range of musical talent, he also owns the record company, Checkmate labels, which is small, but doing fairly well. He claims his favorite movie is none other than Hitchcock's North by Northwest. Some of his favorite musicians include Prince and Elvis Costello. Hunter also has a side project called Hunters Revenge. Hunter is now living in Oakland, CA.
Adam was born on Feburary 5th, 1975, in Mountain View, CA. Adam moved to Ukiah when he was seven or eight, and was friends with Davey Havok through high school, and founded the band with him. Adam is the only original member of the band now, besides Davey. When the band was first founded, Adam was chosen to play the drums because he already owned the kit, although he only started playing two months before the band started. If my math is correct, then Adam has been playing for over thirteen years now, and it really shows.
It seems as though Adam doesn't take much part in the songwriting proscess, although he has admitted he threw in a couple of lines here and there, but later decided the lyrics were left to Davey and Jade. "I'm just the drummer!" he exclaims, and his beats are a big part of AFI. He is now living in an apartment in San Fransisco. Go Adam, keep on at it! I play the drums at home too, so my goal is someday to be half as good as Adam Carson!
Finally . We got the members of the band covered. But what of the music they play?
AFI's top 5 songs are:
Girls not Grey
The Killing Lights
Four of those songs are on the latest album, "Decemberunderground." My favorite songs are probably "God Called in Sick Today" on "The Art Of Drowning" album and "The Killing Lights."
My opinion is the same throughout the article: AFI are talented, and magical. Do you agree?
Remember to check them out on purevolume, muchmusic, or launch. Thanks for reading this very long, long, long article, and to all the AFI fans out there, I give my heart to you.
Stay in tune for the next The Music Scene. The band in that one is touring with "Fall Out Boy," and "Panic! At The Disco" on the Fueled By Ramen tour. Can you guess who it is? Post in the BBS!
To the music!
Glitbomb *Ahem* Excuse me.