Monday, June 7, 2010

Interview: Jade Puget, guitarist in A.F.I.

East Bay punks AFI (A Fire Inside) entertain with energy, fire and breakneck speed.

"When we go out there, we each give it our all," guitarist Jade Puget says, chatting from a Providence, R.I. gig. "I could never imagine just standing there, playing songs. It's just not what we do."

AFI has been a significant part of the underground hardcore punk scene since 1991, but it wasn't until 2003 that the band struck gold - literally - with the gold-selling, "Sing the Sorrow." The album painted a dark, gothic portrait, deflecting strains of rock, punk, hardcore and metal, plus enough catchy melodies to make a few pop hits. Next came 2006's "Decemberunderground," which hit No. 1 on Billboard.

Now following the release of 2009's "Crash Love," AFI is as busy as ever, with a summer that packs Lollapalooza (August 6-8 in Chicago) and a tour with Green Day in August. On Thursday, June 3, the band headlines Grand Rapids' Orbit Room.

NOISE caught up with Puget to talk "Crash Love," Lollapalooza and Green Day.

NOISE: AFI is one of the major acts on Lollapalooza this year. Are you excited?

Puget: Yeah, we're definitely looking forward to Lollapalooza. Davey (Havok, vocals) always says one of the first concerts he ever went to was Lollapalooza in '91, and a lot of what he was inspired by was that first Lollapalooza.

NOISE: What are you most looking forward to at Lolla?

Puget: Just playing, really. There's a lot of history with that festival, so it's just going to be fun. We just played a series of festivals in Australia with Jane's Addiction (Perry Ferrell of Jane's Addiction founded Lollapalooza), so it will be cool seeing those guys again.

NOISE: You're on tour with Green Day in August.

Puget: Yeah, we've known those guys a long time. We came from the same scene they did - both bands started in the East Bay scene. From their very first record, when they were still a small local band, I listened to them. So, I've been a fan for almost 20 years now, so for me, it's exciting. I think musically we don't sound the same necessarily, but I think we're coming from the same place.

NOISE: What was the defining moment, when you knew AFI was going from an underground punk band to something bigger?

Puget: There was a certain moment when we started stepping outside of the underground world we lived in. All of a sudden, we were signed to major label, our record (2003's "Sing the Sorrow") came out and was No. 5 on the charts, we won an MTV VMA and we had a hit song on the radio. All these things we never expected all happened on the same record. It was a whirlwind.

-Anne Erickson, Gannett NOISE

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