AFI (formerly 'Asking For It', but now known as 'A Fire Inside') is one band that can hardly be classified into a single genre. Over the years they've been referred to as punk, hardcore, rock, new wave, goth, you name it. But for the most part, they can be considered a band who have loved their fans, stuck to their roots and always been in it for the music.
The first AFI lineup was in 1991 based in Ukiah, California, and consisted of Davey Havok on vocals, Adam Carson on drums, Mark Blackwelder on guitar and Vic Chalker on bass. The band was formed by the members for something to do during their time when they weren't skateboarding. They were punk-ass teenagers, so school wasn't their favourite place. After playing the off local show, bassist Vic lost interest shortly thereafter and was replaced promptly by Geoff Kresge. The band played a few more live shows at skateparks but eventually split to go to their respective post secondary schools. After reuniting to play a very well received live show, they all made the decision to quit school and focus on the band. They released their first two albums, "Answer That & Stay Fashionable" and "Very Proud Of Ya" in 1995 and 1996 respectively. After the release of their second album, bassist Geoff Kresge left the band for "personal reasons", and was filled in by one Hunter Burgan (goes by simply 'Hunter') for the proceeding tour. Hunter helped record their follow-up "Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Eyes", released in 1997, and soon became the official bassist of the group.
The band recorded the EP "A Fire Inside" in 1998, only to have the guitar player Mark Blackwelder leave after the recording process. He was replaced by Jade Puget, who played a crucial role in the band's gradual change in sound of the proceeding albums. The band continued to release "Black Sails in the Sunset" (1999), All Hallows EP (1999) (boasting the fan favorite 'Totalimmortal"), and The Art of Drowning (2000), which all seemed to give off different musical vibes, while remaining somewhat true to the original sound of their previous albums. They also released the "336" EP in 2002.
2003's "Sing The Sorrow", a love-it-or-hate-it type of album, was the band's first major-label album, which sparked much criticism towards the band with accusations of "selling out". The album bore some familiar sounds, but ultimately showcased a changed AFI with a changed sound. Sing the Sorrow was released as somewhat of a concept, featuring a seperately released photo book and a short film, both titled Clandestine. These two pices of art, along with the album, led fans down a long winding path n trying to decipher what the meaning of the album's concept is. Some theories state that the album's official track order would begin with the chanter "Bleed Black", the album represents a sort of "circle of life", and that the 336 EP goes hand in hand to help tell the story. Based on different religious/zodiac writings, the numbers 336 and 337 have to do with death and re-encarnation. The band has never really put out any incite as to what the album represents, and have just let the fans work it out amongst themselves. They have already spun off a very wide array of "clues" in anticipation of the band's upcoming spring/summer release "Decemberunderground", which include mysterious web pages, word/number clues, bizarre videos, and even some involvement with a famous Toronto newspaper.
The band is ever-gaining success in the music industry, despite the abandonment of some old fans who didn't respect the direction the band has headed. Whether it be through radio-interviews, television play, or their devoted fan base The Despair Faction, AFI is constantly becoming a bigger and bigger deal in the music world.
Key albums to check out: Black Sails in the Sunset and Sing The Sorrow.