LAST NIGHT I was watching a bunch of AFI videos, and was reminded what a unique combination of straightforward punk ethos and emo aesthetics their charismatic - yet weird looking - frontman, Davey Havok is.
Undoubtedly, Davey has done lots for the hardcore punk scene through AFI's 3 first albums which were instrumental in forging that more melodic US hardcore sound (in a scene that was definitely more metal oriented). Moreover, they have contributed to and have influenced the whole skatepunk and popunk genres with their classic The Art of Drowning album (2000). Changing their musical direction and becoming more easy listening through the years is not such a huge surprise; after all, lots of bands do it as they grow up and mature musically. It is logical to want to evolve and attract bigger success through your music.
What is actually interesting to observe is that even though Davey and AFI have transformed into a fully fledged, corporate-value rock band, they have maintained their hardcore punk mentality and values since their inception in 1991. Davey himself has stuck with straight edge and veganism since the early days, and is not afraid to talk against drug abuse and meat eating with every chance he gets.
Moreoever, Davey Havok has also largely influenced the modern punk scene in another way: he has carried the flag for the horror punk style that the Misfits created in the 80s (he even had an offer to become their singer in 2000). We could really say that with his ongoing output throughout the years, Davey has become the ambassador of horror punk and has really helped this genre develop further.
One could ask whether Davey uses punk to stay cool and get the punk kids on AFI's side, or if he actually uses his long lasting punk values to influence and corrode the shit-filled mainstream music industry. We think that the case is actually the latter, while I don't think Davey even cares as he keeps making awesome music spreading punk, horror, straight edge, romanticism, and moshing alike to the world.
Last but not least, if you just watch the following video, you'll get a picture of where exactly Davey & AFI stand: the perfect amalgam of hardcore, pop and goth!