AFI (A Fire Inside) is an American rock band from Ukiah, California, 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.
AFI has released seven studio albums over 18 years as a band, the first being Answer That and Stay Fashionable in 1995. The band then went on to release Very Proud of Ya the next year, followed up by a third in three years, Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. Over the years, AFI has changed its style from the earlier days of hardcore punk, to the horror punk-influenced sound of 1999's Black Sails in the Sunset and 2000's The Art of Drowning. It wasn't until this, the band's fifth album, that the band first featured on the charts, as The Art of Drowning peaked at #172 on the Billboard 200.
The band had its first major success 12 years after it formed, in 2003, with Sing the Sorrow reaching #5 on the Billboard 200. The album was supported by singles "Girl's Not Grey" and "The Leaving Song, Pt. II", both featured in the top 20 of America's Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart in 2003. It went onto receive Platinum certification with over one million units sold in the US.
The band returned in 2006 with Decemberunderground, which featured the hit single "Miss Murder". Both achieved #1 in their respective charts, the Billboard 200 and Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The album also featured "Love Like Winter", which attained #4 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 900,000 copies. AFI's upcoming studio eighth album is titled Crash Love and will be released on , 2009.
Early years (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 1991. AFI has been said to be abbreviated from the full title A Fire Inside. However, band members have stated that the name was formerly from the titles Asking for It and Anthems for Insubordinates. 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. Stopholese learned guitar and Chalker learned bass, but Chalker was soon replaced by Geoff Kresge and AFI made its first EP in recording Dork (1991) with the now defunct Loose Change, which included future AFI guitarist Jade Puget.
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. After reuniting to perform a live show, the other members decided to drop out of college to play full-time with AFI. 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 in 1995. In 1996, AFI then released their second album, Very Proud of Ya, on Nitro Records. 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.
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.
Black Sails and Art of Drowning era (1999?2002)
After recording the A Fire Inside EP (1998), Stopholese left the band and was replaced by Jade Puget, his close friend. Following the A Fire Inside EP, the band recorded Black Sails in the Sunset (1999), a musical turning point which introduced AFI fans to a much darker sound. On this album, the band's original hardcore roots were still the base of their sound, but with Dark Romantic influences (a poem by Charles Baudelaire, "De profundis clamavi," is present in the hidden track "Midnight Sun") and emphasize on somber atmosphere and lyrics. The influence of the Deathrock & Goth rock scenes was also apparent. During this period their style was mostly referred to as Horror Punk or described as "Gothic punk".
The All Hallows EP (1999) 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. Offspring frontman Dexter Holland was featured as a backing vocalist on a number of Black Sails tracks. The Boy Who Destroyed The World from the All Hallows EP was featured in the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 video game.
In 2000, AFI released The Art of Drowning, which debuted on the Billboard Charts at number 174. "The Days of the Phoenix" was released as a single and video in order to promote the album. "The Days of the Phoenix", like "Totalimmortal", had some moderate mainstream success, garnering the band both TV and radio airplay.
Mainstream success, Sing the Sorrow and Decemberunderground (2003?2007)
In 2002, AFI left Nitro Records and released Sing the Sorrow (2003) on DreamWorks Records. 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. The band was nominated in the MTV Video Music Awards 2003 in the MTV2 award category for the video "Girl's Not Grey", which came to be the first VMA they won.
In June 2006, AFI's newest album, Decemberunderground, was released on Interscope Records. The album's first single "Miss Murder" reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Charts. The release reflects the continually changing and growing fan base of the band, and the album debuted as No. 1 on the Billboard charts. The album has been certified Gold by the RIAA for sales of over 500,000 copies of the album. 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, 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 microphone went out during various points of the song.
Though "The Missing Frame" was originally supposed to be the third single off Decemberunderground, Davey Havok confirmed in the "Ask AFI" section of the Despair Faction message boards that there will not be a video for the song. Havok also confirmed on the same boards that there would be no summer tour that year. Puget began writing some material for the next album.
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 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, 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."
Untitled EP, 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 by obtaining a code from purchasing the official soundtrack of the game.. 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. It will contain previously unreleased songs from the Decemberunderground and Sing the Sorrow sessions. Adam later announced more details regarding the EP, saying that some of the songs will 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. He also said that a release date will be announced soon.
A partially incorrect track listing of the EP was made public on April 2, 2008 on The Complete AFI Series' Message Board. Soon after, the band released an official list of the EP's tracks. There's a rumour of a Wake-Up Call (from Very Proud of Ya) re-recording, demo, or reference in one of the songs.
In December 2008, the band released a video through YouTube revealing a contest for the upcoming album. It invites fans to make videos of themselves, lasting 2 minutes or less, telling the band who they are, what they do, where they live, what their friends are like, what inspires them, etc. The fans who win will meet the band and sing on the new album. The band promises to watch every single video and state that they want to know who is out there and who their fans are. Lead singer Davey Havok posted a video on December 19 thanking the fans for the support so far and said he had watched every video up to that point (which was about 43 videos at the time). The contest ended on , and fans have been given the ability to score many of the videos themselves. Five winners chosen by AFI and the community winner have been selected so far.
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. It was recorded with producer David Bottrill (who was later dimissed in favor of Joe McGrath and Jacknife Lee) at The Art of Ears, the same studio where the band recorded much of their earlier material. AFI previewed Crash Love on their MySpace page for two days starting September 22, 2009, seven days ahead of the official album release.
Davey Havok ? lead vocals (1991?present)
Jade Puget ? guitars, keyboards, programming, backing vocals (1998?present)
Hunter Burgan ? bass, keyboards, programming, backing vocals (1997?present)
Adam Carson ? drums, percussion, backing vocals (1991?present)
Vic Chalker ? bass (1991?1992)
Geoff Kresge ? bass, backing vocals (1992?1997)
Mark Stopholese ? guitars, backing vocals (1991?1998)