One of the more unfortunate things I have learned from my Gen Z daughter is the prevalent undercurrent of fear in their generation. An inherent dread of voicing the wrong sentiment and offending one another with everyone seemingly wearing their naked heart on their sleeve, open to unintentional attack, and corresponding haphazard reprisal. No one is safe it seems; friendship and constructive criticism be damned. It is the polar opposite of the early twentieth century’s sheer bluntness with pride of conviction, likely a more favorable mentality for the benefit of individuals and society at large.
“With just a look, they shook, and heavens bowed before him
Simply a look can break your heart”
This is not an issue that Gen X’s Havok possesses, as he is clearly more the latter than the former, firmly embracing his androgynous individuality and caring less about the daresay opinions of others while continuing to broaden his extraordinary scope of life. Psychologists call people like him high achievers for a reason, having summarily led several bands, modeled, acted in movies (and on Broadway), and even owned his own clothing line. His is a world where self-assertion trumps all and strength of character is predominantly defined by loving oneself without fear of judgment. In more recent years, Havok has had some of his tattoos “blacked out”, saying “I’m constantly changing, and it’s an attempt to cover up bad decisions with worse decisions. That’s how I live life.”
“Dreams of his crash won’t pass, oh, how they all adored him
Beauty will last when spiraled down”
AFI, an abbreviation for A Fire Inside, would hail from Ukiah, California, and form in 1991 with none of the band initially knowing how to play instruments (obviously long since remedied). They consisted of Davey Havok (lead vocalist), Adam Carson (drummer and backing vocalist), Hunter Burgan (bassist, backing vocalist, and keyboardist), and Jade Puget (guitarist, backing vocalist, and keyboardist), though the lineup has since changed. And although their sound too has evolved from horror punk to post-hardcore and alternative rock to gothic rock, they are most commonly characterized as simply gothic punk. Revolver Magazine would write that “AFI have increased the importance of a band’s visual identity and the flair for the theatrical,” adding that “when a group like Panic! at the Disco borrows imagery from a movie such as Moulin Rouge!, you have to consider the precedent AFI set when they borrowed cues from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.“
“What’s the hook, the twist within this verbose mystery?
I would gladly bet my life upon it!”
Interestingly, the song “Miss Murder” would nearly be dropped from its parent album Decemberunderground, as Havok did not initially believe it worthy of inclusion and needed to be convinced by fellow bandmates otherwise. (There is also the little-known fact they had to pare down the over 120 songs originally written for the album.) The track would end up being their single greatest hit thus far, spawning both short and long video versions, with the longer superior “Director’s Cut” including the opening track “Prelude 12/21” from the same album opening the video as well.
“The stars that mystify, he left them all behind
And how his children cried, “He left us all behind!”
Anthemic “Miss Murder” has a number of well-argued and varied interpretations with Havok being of exactly zero help in confirming or denying any of them. “I don’t necessarily need for people to understand specifically what it means. If they want to take something from it and use it in a personal way, I think that’s great. I wouldn’t want to risk destroying that just so someone can get a better understanding of me personally.” Despite this, fan speculations include Satan’s fall from grace, Jesus abandoning humanity, Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray (in which Gray sells his soul to preserve his beauty), or Havok’s own personal struggle with fame. Ultimately, one thing remains clear. Miss Murder’s blackened heart will continue to beat in cryptic obscurity with strength in fortitude forevermore.
“We’re the empty set just floating through empty skin
Ever searching for what we were promised
Reaching for that golden ring, we’d never let go
But who would ever let us put our filthy hands upon it?”
The sheer wealth of information available about group AFI, album Decemberunderground, and song “Miss Murder” is simply overwhelming, with gratitude to Wikipedia
Cover Art “bloodclot” © 2023 – disturbedByVoices – All Rights Reserved