"I have an affinity towards extremes."
AFI frontman Davey Havok is talking about the whites and blacks that continuously appear in the long-running California band's lyrics, though absolutes manifest themselves deeply into its members' lifestyles. Havok is vegan and both he and guitarist Jade Puget have been straight edge for the majority of their lives, long before they broke the mainstream with the delicious hooks of 2003's Sing the Sorrow. In these extremes, they find balance.
"Look at the amount of bands that've fallen apart on the road because of drugs," Puget says, chatting with Pop Shop host Chris Payne at Billboard's New York office. This comes shortly after he and Havok were asked for a juicy story from their 2017 headlining tour. Turns out, their oranges got confiscated while crossing the Canadian border back into the U.S. "There'll be no nonfiction books about us," jokes Havok. "There's no drugs… there's some tea and broccoli."
Therein lies AFI's strength. Havok, 41, is still doing flips onstage and AFI's latest -- a self-titled January release dubbed The Blood Album -- finds the quartet slinging Sing the Sorrow-level hooks, while maintaining the stamina to pass along the hot-potato gang-vocals that defined their greatest work, classics like 2003's "The Leaving Song, Pt. 2."
"We have not stopped playing that song since it was released," Havok says. "And it is a difficult song to sing."
And just like there'd be more to that hypothetical AFI book, Havok and Puget's chat went beyond their formidable health regimens. Both come from the storied East Bay punk scene and they shared first hand stories about old friends like Jawbreaker, in addition to oversea muses like The Smiths and Joy Division. Puget discusses what it was like to produce his own band for the first time and Havok reveals why PETA was so eager to have him pose naked.
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