An Extended Interview With AFI's Davey Havok

The AFI singer chats about his crush on Beyonce and his high school role in "Oliver Twist"

AUSTIN SCAGGSPosted Jun 01, 2006 11:21 AM

No, I don't even have the 60, that's the thing. I need the 60. I really do. In fact, I should be going to get it today so I could connect it and have it on tour tomorrow. So, who knows, maybe by the end of the day I will have a 60. But I just have a 40.

Do you have it in nearby?
Yeah, let me grab it. Or do you want it off my Nano, which'd be the gym iPod?

Definitely the gym one. Isn't it amazing that with the Nano, we can finally shove 100 songs up our ass?
[Laughs] I've wanted to do that for years. And CDs are just so bulky and sharp. Okay, I could tell you every artist that's on here; there's not that many. Ready?

Go ahead.
Okay. Error, 108, A Perfect Circle, Atari Teenage Riot, Black Audio, Catherine Wheel, Circa Survive, Covenant, Day of Contempt, Dead Guy, Depeche Mode, Dillinger Escape Plan, Duran Duran, Echo Image, Erasure, INXS, Iris, Jawbreaker, Modern Life is War, Morrissey, Quicksand, Sisters of Mercy, Tool, and my vocal warm-ups, which are scale exercises I do before the soundcheck and before the show. It's about a 45-minute vocal warm-up. So, I have to do it like...I usually do it two hours before we play so I have an hour to get physically prepared, like visually speaking. And stretching, as well.

What are your favorite lyrics on Decemberunderground.
I love ''Love Like Winter,'' ''Endlessly, She Said,'' ''Kiss and Control,'' I really like the mood of that song. I'm really happy with the lyrics. I'm actually really happy with the whole record, in every aspect. It's really exciting. But those are the three songs that spring to mind.

What about a specific lyric?
I was thinking about this the other night. Just a really quick lyric off of ''The Killing Lights'' came to mind, where it just says -- it's very simple -- it just says, ''Am I beautiful; am I usable.'' I really like that line.

You said in a press release, ''Decemberunderground is a community of those detached and disillusioned who flee to love like winter in the recesses below the rest of the world.'' Can you expand on that?
It's basically describing a sort of exclusive, unique type of feeling that certain people have, and those people gravitate toward each other, and find solace in each other in different venues. I mean, whether they find that within music, within our music, within different forms of art, within different cultures, it's those detached few who go to each other in their relative abnormalities to find that winter love, in that respect. And, more specifically, to quote Gahan, or art specifically I suppose, it's that strange love, it's that dark love, it's that cold love, it's the outlook that it's completely different than what most people perceive as something maybe even positive. That's kind of involved in the whole mood of Decemberunderground.

But, it reflects a lot on the band as well, I think. As opposed to just this album.
Yeah, most definitely. To speak of it in those terms directly kind of puts an air of importance on the band that may or may not be there, depending on the listener. But, it definitely speaks that way to us, internally.

Is there a moment, a place, a time that you realized that this is the album that you want to write, that this was the overriding concept of the album, the theme of the album?
It was really more natural than that. It wasn't a moment in time. It was just a flow and a growth in the album. And, as it became realized and created, it just all came together in that way, and the title just fit perfectly with the whole mood and sentiment. So, it just naturally came together and it worked.

I love ''The Missing Frame''.
Ahh, the ''The Missing Frame,'' yes. Sorry, what was the question again?

I was just telling you that I dug it.
Oh, you like it. Oh, thank you very much. I love playing that song. It's been one of Adam's favorites for a long time, too. It's really, the mood that it creates, I think, has a sort, let me say a few things, because I've always felt this when we were working on it -- it seems to have kind of like a protopunk vibe to it, kind of a mid-period Joy Division or a...not vocally, obviously. But maybe like a Television kind of feel. Kind of Magazine, maybe.

Wow, that was great. Do you remember a show with the least amount of people in it?
Yes, I do. We played a show in Olympia, Washington on tour to three people. There were two people who came to see us; this couple, this guy and this girl, who used to come see us every time we would play in the northwest to very few people who typically come see us. And, this time there were [three].

Do you remember the names of those two people? We should give them a shout out.
I wish I remember the names. I don't, I don't. I really wish I'd remember the names. If they read this, they'll definitely know who they are; they'll definitely know because they were the only ones there.

The last record you bought?
I haven't listened to it yet, but just last night I bought Gnarls Barkley. Is it good?

Yeah, it's fucking great.
Awesome. It sounds like it's...I mean, I've only heard the one song. It's amazing. It reminds me of something Moby would sample.

Writers who influence you?
I love Wilde -- I know Morrissey's been citing him for years. Fante, John Fante. Chuck Palahniuk. [Bret Easton] Ellis. Poe. Baudelaire.

Most attractive band?
That's a good looking band. They're all tall, skinny and good looking! And very nice. It was cool to meet them recently.

Girl musician you're attracted to?
I was getting my nails done and I looked to the left and this girl had these gorgeous, red glitter heels. I look up to see one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen. The type of beauty that just closes up in your chest, like I was looking at something surreal. So I said, ''Your shoes are amazing!'' I had a brief conversation about glittery shoes -- she was really nice. This is how lost I am: When she walked out, Paul, the guy doing my nails says, Oh my God, I can't believe that was Beyonce -- I have to call my boyfriend!

Fifteenth anniversary of AFI -- when's the date on that?
It's June of 2006. Yeah, fifteen years. That's amazing!

What was that first day like? What happened fifteen years ago?
Okay, here's what the first day was -- lunch time, Ukiah High School. Mark, Vic and myself are sitting in our little area. You know, it was, of course, like any high school lunch -- separated by little cliques. And we were in our very small group. It was just the three of us, that's how small our group was. And, we were just sitting around talking about music, like we always did every lunch. We used to talk about music or skateboards or some such thing. And, we said, ''Hey, let's start a band!'' And, Mark immediately gets dibs on guitar. And Vic said, ''I'll play bass.''

I said, ''I've gotta sing.'' I believe someone said, ''No shit, choir boy?'' And, then I'm like well what are we going to do? We need a drummer. And Mark's like, ''Do you know Adam Carson?'' I'm like, ''I think so.'' And he said, ''He has a drum set. He's a friend. Let's go by him and ask him.'' So we went over to where Adam was hanging out and we're like, ''Hey.'' He's like, ''Hey.''

''We just started a band. Do you want to be in our band?'' He said, ''yeah.'' And that was it. And we didn't have instruments. We didn't know how to play. Adam had a drum set and that was it.