Hole In The Ground – Billboard
Motley Crüe – Billboard

UNFD – Leaderboard

AFI

Shure – Leaderboard
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It’s a damn good feat to have been playing music for over twenty years and still retain the same level of personal and artistic integrity that AFI have displayed. The Californian rock icons AFI are well-praised and widely idolised, but it’s not unsolicited – they’ve earned every bit of the success that they’ve reaped. With their self-titled tenth studio album on its way this month (subtitled “The Blood Album”), guitarist Jade Puget explains that there are a couple of vital characteristics that have equipped AFI with their unique feature of longevity.

“Musicians are assholes”, he states. “It’s very easy for bands to break up. There’s a lot of ego involved, but there are a couple of things that we do, one of which is that we’re not a party band; if you go on our tour bus you’re not gonna see strippers or cocaine”. But it’s not just the drugs and bus discos that can “break up a band very quickly”. “Also, you know, we’re friends. We’ve been living together on a tour bus and literally living together in the same houses off and on for decades and we’re still friends. A lot of bands hate each other”.

There’s one more matter that’s contributed to AFI sticking around for this long, and it’s the fact that their fans have kept them afloat. The fact that they’ve somewhat grown up with their fans, that the kids of people who used to come to shows a decade ago are rocking up in 2016, is “pretty rewarding”, according to Puget. “When I first started in the band it was all kids because we had no ‘ten years ago’”, Puget identified. “But then those kids grew up and there’ll be new kids and even kids of those people”.

The fans aren’t just in the crowds at shows though, they’re also the bands that AFI are playing with. “We’ll play with a band that doesn’t sound anything like us and they’ll be like ‘when I was starting a band or when I was young you were a huge influence’”. Puget concludes that “as a musician or as a songwriter there’s really nothing better than to influence someone’s songwriting or to influence someone to play guitar or start a band”.

 

AFI have a unique relationship with their fans, one in which they try to give back as much as possible. In the lead-up to announcing their tenth LP, the band blacked out their social media, creating somewhat of a puzzle for fans to put together before the official reveal. They’ve done it before, but Puget noted that they “don’t wanna do the same thing every record”. The intention was solely to give the people who cared something to enjoy – “[the fans] love to sort of solve the little mystery of what you’re teasing and what you’re going to bring out so we try to give them that”.

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The other gift that AFI give their fans is genuine music that isn’t repetitive or boring, with the tracks they’ve so far released from their upcoming record being pegged as reflective of their earlier sound but still something fresh. Puget didn’t perceive it like that, however. According to him, writing it doesn’t allow you to see those comparisons. “You know, people are like, ‘it sounds like this’, and ‘it sounds like that’, and I’m like, ‘what’?”

 

On LP10, Puget describes the sound as “still AFI in our element, like on all of our records”. He produced the album, but made clear that “when Davey [Havok, vocalist] and I go into writing together we never really have objectives”, the process is just to write music and see where it goes. With so many records under their belt, and Puget’s involvement in electronic project Blaqk Audio and straight edge hardcore outfit XTRMST, it’s a fair question to wonder whether writing gets harder as you go along. Fortunately, it doesn’t.
“This album was really easy to write and fun to write”, Puget reflected. “In between Davey and I do do Blaqk Audio and XTRMST and it seems to be getting easier and more creative and artistic in style between the two of us…you’d think we’d get tired of it but it’s just getting better”.

 

It would be reasonable to assume that with the amount of activity the members of AFI have going on in the New Year, there might not be time for an Australian tour. However, that shouldn’t be a concern for Australian fans. When asked about the chance of a trip Down Under, Puget was the bearer of extremely positive news. “It’s a pretty damn good chance”, he confirmed, “but I can’t say anything other than that because I’ll probably get in trouble”. Hopefully, the boys gift us with a late Christmas present and announce a tour soon.

 

Written by Peyton Bernhardt

 

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Carl Neumann

Carl is the owner and the director of HEAVY Magazine. Carl is a music journalist and photographer for HEAVY, Rolling Stone, scenestr, Planet Rock and Kerrang!
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