AFI - Miss Murder

"Miss Murder" is a song from the AFI seventh studio album "Decemberunderground," released in 2006.

Contents

Story behind the song

Band members recalled the story of the song in the interview with Yahoo in 2017.

Vocalist Davey Havok said, "Our A&R guy had this fantasy from all the old rock records, of people going to the South of France or going to Jamaica and immersing, just getting away. And we're not those people." [1]

Guitarist Jade Puget recalled, "We went with [producer] Jerry Finn up to the farm in Northern California to do pre-production. They wanted us to go stay on this shabby farm; it was such a bummer." [1]

He added: "Davey and I flew down there and we just sit in that basement all day. And in the middle of one of these days, I had this 'ding-ding-ding-ding ...' [sings the intro bass line]. I think I played the bass line on the guitar." [1]

Davey Havok came up with the "Miss Murder" as a throwaway lyric, which he was going to change to the real lyric. But Jade Puget insisted to keep it because he thought that it was cool. [1]

Davey admitted: "I wrote backwards. Rather than writing with a concept, I wrote with a task to make this lyric into a song, into a concept." [1]

Drummer Adam Carson added: "We almost swept it off the record." [1]

Havok continued: "Yeah, we didn't think, I mean, I still don't think it's the best song on the record." He even wanted to replace this song, but the other band members insisted that the song was OK. [1]

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Because of that, there is such a controversy on the meaning of the song. The most popular interpretations:

  • It's about Hitler.
  • It's about Satan's fall from grace.
  • It's about Jesus abandoning humanity.
  • It's about Davey's inner struggle with fame.
  • It's about Dorian Gray, who sells his soul to save his beauty.
  • A mixture of all the above. [2]

"Miss Murder" topped the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart and reached number 24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Music videos

Official music video

There are two versions of the official video.

Both of them were directed by Marc Webb and the short version came out shortly after the track's release.

An extended version of the music video features extra footage at the beginning of the video with "Prelude 12/21" (album's introductory track) is playing.

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Short version of the official video.

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Long version of the official video.

Live version

As one of the most popular AFI songs, "Miss Murder" is often performed live.

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Live at MTV Music Awards 2006

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Live at Not So Silent Night in 2013.

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Live performance from the HD Radio Sound Space at KROQ on February 27, 2017.

Notable covers

ApologetiX made a Christian parody cover on this song in 2008.

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String Tribute Players performed a tribute to "Miss Murder" in 2009.

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Gear and settings

Guitars

Jade Puget

Jade Puget played several Gibson Les Paul Studio guitars.

Hunter Burgan

Hunter Burgan uses Fender Precision basses. In the official video, he is seen playing the black one with the red pickguard.

Amps and effects

Jade Puget

Jade Puget used Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifiers with Marshall Plexis ("Billie Joe" modified) through Marshall 4x12 straight Cabinets.

Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier.

Hunter Burgan

Hunter Burgan is an endorser of Ampeg SVT Classic amp heads with Ampeg SVT 8x10 cabs. For the recording and consequent tours he used white amps, but later he started using black ones. [3]

Amp settings

  • Gain - 4
  • Treble - 7.5
  • Mids - 6
  • Bass - 6

Tuning

Guitars: half step down tuning (Eb Ab Db Gb Bb Eb).

Bass: half step down tuning (Eb Ab Db Gb).

Song key

The song is written in the key of A flat minor.

Techniques

Jade Puget isn't a fan of shredding, but his guitar lines are full of original transitions, often powered with harmonics. There are some hammer-ons during the single-note riffs. Also, take into account the timeous use of palm muting.

Song breakdown

The song has the following structure:

Intro - Chorus 1 - Interlude 1 - Verse 1 - Chorus 2 - Interlude 2 - Verse 2 - Chorus 3 - Bridge - Chorus 4 - Chorus 5

The intro starts with a bass line, then the guitar comes in with few double stops, followed by power chords and natural harmonics played up and down the fretboard.

Choruses are played with full barre chords with the addition of natural harmonics.

The first interlude consists of the single-note riff, played with harmonics too.

The first verse starts with a bass line, while the guitar stays silent. Then Jade enters with palm-muted power chords.

The second interlude contains rapid single-note riff.

Note, that at the beginning of the second verse Hunter Burgan uses a quite unusual slapping technique. He simply strikes strings with his right fist (it causes calluses on his hypothenar). [3]

Also, the second verse has a specific guitar lick, based on using guitar toggle switching.

The bridge changes the mood of the song. This part is presented with the guitar line, which consists of arpeggios merged with power chords. This line is played with the increasing level of gain. The bridge ends with power chords and harmonics.

The last verse has the second guitar, which plays tremolo octave riff.

Jade Puget guitar lesson

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Guitar cover

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Bass cover

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Yahoo.com "Backspin: AFI on Their Discography, Being Proudly Polarizing, and Why 'Female Fans Have the Best Taste in Music'"
  2. Genius.com "'Miss Murder' by AFI"
  3. 1 2 Premier Guitar Youtube channel "Rig Rundown - AFI's Jade Puget & Hunter Burgan"

"Miss Murder" song

Album: decemberunderground
Track number: 3
Track length: 3:27
Tabs on UG: Miss Murder
ISRC: USUM70602578
MusicBrainz Id: 320ab068-f72c-4b6b-9bff-c6efc34657d4
engineer: Seth Waldmann, Keith Armstrong, Jason Gossman, Dmitar Krnjaic, Eric Weaver, Kevin Mills
additional: Dave McCracken, Hunter Burgan, Ronan Harris
drumset: Adam Carson
electric bass guitar: Hunter Burgan
electric guitar: Jade Puget
keyboard: Jade Puget
mixer: Chris Lord‐Alge, Jerry Finn
producer: Jerry Finn
recording: Joe McGrath
vocal: Davey Havok, Dan Under, Joe McGrath, Jackie Simley, Ralph Saenz, Nick 13, Ronan Harris, Luke Wood, Jerry Finn, Brandan Schieppati