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Interview: Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI

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“Hello,” was the first thing I said, returned with (multiple) “Hello” back. I had looked for flowers earlier, but instead had come across something better: vegan cupcakes, knowing their affinity for the treats. We were already off on good footing, judging by their happy, “Oh wow, thank yous!” Vegan cupcakes are always a good way to start an interview.

1. You’ve all relocated from Oakland to LA with the exception of Adam who remains in the Bay Area. What are your likes and dislikes of the two and what do you miss about the Bay?
Davey Havok: I personally didn’t relocate, so you go ahead Jade.
Jade Puget: I miss the weather in Berkeley. LA is just never ending sunshine, and if you like that sort of thing it’s cool. But I need some cloud and fog sometimes. [whispers dramatically] Gotta have the fog. The fog.
Yeah I don’t like the heat too much either. Fog and clouds are pretty conducive to writing, I think.
JP: It is, I agree! You can’t write when it’s fun and sunny and happy outside!
No, you wanna go outside and play.
JP: Yeah!

2. Thoughts about the Bay Area music scene now? I don’t know if you listen to White Fence – fronted by Tim Presley, who was in Nerve Agents, you guys used to play with them. Him and I kinda talked about the change from hardcore and punk to garage and psych going on right now.
JP: Oh I like White Fence. I’ve been listening to them quite a bit lately actually. It’s cool. Very cool shit. We’ve known Tim so long…
DH: Yeah
JP: Since he was in Model American. But you probably know more about the Bay Area music scene than I would. [turns to Havok] DH: I really don’t know anything about the Bay Area music scene [chuckles]. I mean there’s Soft Moon and Ceremony and … Jade, is there anyone that’s come out of the Bay?
JP: I mean I haven’t lived in the Bay in 10 years almost…
Thee Oh Sees?
DH: Yeah! I know Thee Oh Sees. What’s his name? He has like 70 bands.
John Dwyer
DH: Yeah, what did John do before Thee Oh Sees?
Ooh, I forgot the name of it.
DH: I used to play Aaron’s (Soundcheck on Live105) at night … Yeah, I don’t really know what’s going on in the Bay Area.
JP: Good plays though.
DH: I’m sure it is, usually is!

3. What authors and books have you loved over the years? It seems like the tone of your songs can sometimes be literary or influenced by literature.
JP: Around the Sing the Sorrow era, I really loved the 20s and 30s expatriate American writers that lived in Paris around that time. Like the whole Henry Miller crowd and then now I just kinda read a whole variety of stuff.
DH: Yeah, I read fiction and nonfiction – I’m reading Eating Animals right now for the first time. I mean that’s typically the type of nonfiction I read for the most part or I’ll read… . You know, I read John Taylor’s book recently which was really great. As far as fiction goes, as far as everything from Dr. Suess to Oscar Wilde to Bret Easton Ellis. Ray Bradbury. There’s just tons of stuff that I love. Neil Gaiman!
JP: Did you read The Ocean at the End of the Lane?
DH: No … it’s out??
JP: Yeah it’s been out for a while. It’s good.
DH: Yeah he’s such, he’s such an amazing writer.
JP: I recommend the newest one. And American Gods, obviously.

4. Alan Forbes, longtime artistic collaborator with AFI, was attacked last year in the Lower Haight which is shocking, I’ve walked there alone at night. … You guys are selling figurines he designed to raise funds. How did you discover his work in the first place and what about his art has suited the AFI albums they appear in?
DH: Alan and I met because he was a concert poster artist in San Francisco. I was familiar with his work because he did posters for Bauhaus and the Damned. I saw his poster in ’99 for the Bauhaus reunion tour, and then the Damned poster was much earlier. I really liked his work and we became acquainted through that and he said he would be interested in doing art work for us. At that point we started collaborating. The next record that AFI released after our meeting was Black Sails in the Sunset and he started working with us on that, which was great. Alan was always great to work with.

About dj scribbles

21. San Francisco. I make photos and words.
  • Jasmine

    I very much enjoyed reading this interview. Glad you had this opportunity

  • Savannah

    I enjoyed reading this interview too. Your so lucky!!! We Jade fans gotta stick together *fistbumps*

  • Tura

    I’m glad you got the more chatty side of Jade (: Great oppourtunity you had to meet them; Jade and Davey are amazing intellectuals and musicians, of course! (:

  • Nicole

    one of the best interviews with AFI i’ve read. the questions weren’t the usual boring ones and the answers were actually given with detail. seemed like the guys were comfortable (which is important!) :D

  • Greg

    Definitely one of the better interviews I have read with the band. Some really good questions, and they seemed to really open up.