AFI (A Fire Inside) is an American punk/post hardcore band formed in 1991 by Davey Havok (vocals), Markus Stopholese (guitar), Vic Chalker (bass) and Adam Carson (drums) in Ukiah, California. Bassist Vic was later replaced by Geoff Kresge. Kresge was replaced by Hunter Burgan. Eventually, guitarist Markus Sopholese was also replaced. He was replaced by Jade Puget.
AFI formed when the members got bored in between skate sessions. Adam and Davey played school soccer together, and Adam used his brother's drum kit. Havok was in the school's choir. After doing a few live shows in parks and such, AFI broke up while its members moved away to different colleges, including University of California at Berkeley (where Havok began a double major of English and Psychology) and University of California at Santa Barbara. After reuniting to perform a very successful live show, the members decided to drop out of college and play in the band full-time. They released a few independently made vinyl EP's, and eventually released their debut full-length album Answer That and Stay Fashionable in 1995. Their second album, Very Proud of Ya, was released in 1996 by the Nitro Label, after which their bassist Geoff Kresge decided to leave the group for personal reasons. Their current bassist, Hunter Burgan, formerly of The Force (and currently, also doing the side projects of The Frisk and Hunter Revenge) filled in for Kresge for the tour in support of Very Proud of Ya. Hunter prefers to go by the single name Hunter. He helped AFI record Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes. Shortly after, he became their full-time bassist. Over the course of four following LPs, the band has established a dedicated fan-base following and is widely respected as one of the better rock bands of the 1990s.
After the recording of the A Fire Inside EP in 1998, Mark left the band to be replaced by guitarist Jade Puget, formerly of Redemption 87 and Loose Change, who was critical in forming the band's new sound over the following albums. Following on from the new approach they had taken on the aforementioned A Fire Inside EP (released on Adeline records) the band recorded their Black Sails in the Sunset (Nitro 1998) a musical turning point. On this album, and the following All Hallow's EP (Nitro 1999), other EPs and the seminal The Art of Drowning album (Nitro 2000) their original hardcore roots were still quite apparent in their musical approach, but more 80s horror punk seemed to appear in the lyrics. However, many fans feel their latest album Sing the Sorrow which was released on the much larger DreamWorks label on March 11, 2003 displays a different musical approach which has lost some of the punk aggression and connected more with its lyrical (and angsty) subject matter.
They are followed by a devoted fan base called the Despair Faction. Consisting of fans old and young, the Despair Faction attends every AFI show in its areas.
Hunter, who replaced Geoff (who went on to join Tiger Army but is now in the Horrorpops), is from Grass Valley in Northern California. He was in a number of bands, including The Force. Currently he has a solo band Hunter Revenge and is in The Frisk, as well as being in AFI full-time.
The meaning of the initials "AFI" means A Fire Inside. Some claim differently but, Davey Havok claims that the meaning of AFI has always been "A Fire Inside." However, earlier AFI records like Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes list contact information addressed to "Asking For It." They have also used the moniker "Anthems For Insubordinates."
2004 saw AFI record two cover songs: The Cure's "Just Like Heaven" for the MTV Icon television show and Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like A Hole" for the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas soundtrack: this song appears only in the 2-disc set, and is not present in the game.
As of March 2005 the band is continuing to work on their new album, the name and release date yet to be announced. According to Adam's continuous posts in the Despair Faction forum, the completion of the drum tracking can be deduced. Jade is now recording the guitar track. Next comes Hunter and the last to record will be Davey. The band claims they will incorporate more rock and electronica elements and adapt more of a 'cold-pop' into their sound than their previous work.