As grunge and hardcore sagged in popularity in the mid-1990s, California four-piece AFI emerged from the stagnant US underground music scene as a gang of boisterous, earnest skate-punks, steadily growing into an all-conquering, stadium-filling alternative rock power house in the 2000s. Inspired by the DIY ethic and raging energy of Washington DC punks, front man Davey Havok initially started the band with high school friends in the small town of Ukiah (despite none of the members being able to play an instrument), and became part of the 'straight edge' community that shunned usual rock and roll hedonism for sobriety, veganism and ethical living. With the initials in their name standing for A Fire Inside, the band self-released a couple of early EPs, but really started to grow when Havok moved to study at UC Berkley and penned the lyrics to debut album 'Answer That and Stay Fashionable' in 1995. A settled line-up of Havok on vocals and guitar, Hunter Burgan on bass, Jade Puget on guitar and Adam Carson on drums helped the band slowly progress from their heavy, thrash and crash, hardcore roots and by their fifth album, 'The Art of Drowning' in 2000, they were introducing electronic textures and more dramatic set pieces to their righteous, slamming passion. After 12 years of relentless touring they finally signed a major label deal with DreamWorks and crossed over into mainstream recognition in 2003 when the Butch Vig produced 'Sing the Sorrow' shot to number five in the US Album Charts and single 'Miss Murder' became a big radio anthem. The alternative cult heroes became regulars on MTV and landed their first number one album with the epic, emo, synth-rock showstopper 'Decemberunderground' in 2006. Havok went on to perform with side projects Blaqk Audio, XTRMSt and Dreamcar (a supergroup with members of No Doubt), but AFI remained a hugely popular force.

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