An Essay about My Introduction to Punk Music when They Were Punk

Immerse in the AFI Soundscape: A Musical Journey into the Past of a Once Beloved Punk Band

The second greatest crush of my youth was a girl named Lindsay, I suppose I might normally offer a paragraph or two to describe and rebuild the memory of Lindsay, but, honestly, I don’t remember much about her. I have only a faded outline with blurred features in my mind when I try to remember her; there really isn’t a whole lot there anymore, however, there will always be A Fire Inside (afi).

A Fire Inside, is a “hardcore” punk band that developed in and through the 90’s that signed with Nitro Records, and then with DreamWorks Records in the early 2000’s after the success of their albums, Black Sails in the Sunset and The Art of Drowning.

AFI was my favorite band throughout my sophomore and part of my junior years of high school, after they signed with DreamWorks their music started going in a different direction, and they eventually lost my interest. Lindsay was a fan, you wouldn’t guess it looking at her, or even knowing her, really. It still makes me smile when I think of the correlation. Lindsay and I were two of seventeen people who applied for and were chosen to attend a summer Science program that our high school offered, and during that trip she introduced me to the hardcore punk band. I was on the fence about them at first, I wasn’t listening to a lot of punk music up to that point, but Lindsay liked afi, and I liked Lindsay. I would listen to Black Sails in the Sunset over and over again until I couldn’t stop listening, and I still think the album is one of the greatest albums ever written and produced.

          I don’t listen now to much of what I was listening to then, but I will still listen to afi, and I’m sure in some way, my familiarity and comfort with them can be traced back to Lindsay. Nevertheless, I don’t think about her when I listen to them, I like the band for my own reasons. I remember feeling genuinely distraught when Davey Havok announced that he had a cyst, and it was uncertain if he would ever sing again.

Black Sails in the Sunset is a great album and again still one of my favorites, by the time I discovered them they had recently released The Art of Drowning, which although very different also made a lasting impact on me, and of course I ventured into the earlier releases, Answer That and Stay Fashionable, Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes, and others. My relationship with afi would last much, much longer than my relationship with Lindsay. I even started going Warped Tour because of them, and would soon discover more Punk and Ska bands, and music that I was previously unfamiliar with.

          I remember, years after Lindsay introduced me to the band, I was driving somewhere, my car was full of high school friends—I would often subject them to afi whether they wanted to listen to them or not if I was driving—and, I was playing one of their CD’s, and I good friend of mine, one that I never would have imagined, like Lindsay, would like the music, started screaming the lyrics to one of the songs, I didn’t even know he knew it, and I felt a little pride in knowing that I was responsible for that.

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