What does AFI stand for?

What does AFI stand for?

Ever wonder where some bands come up with their band names?  Well, we do, and we’re sick of sitting around scratching our heads about it.  We’re hitting the streets (aka. “Internet”) to find the origins behind some of the more bizarre, intriguing or just plain random band names in the scene.  Every Wednesday we’ll be pulling the curtain back on a different band and this week it’s prodigious punk gone alt rock band AFI.

This week we aren’t going to focus as much on the origin of the band name as we are on just what in the hell A-F-I really stands for.  There has been a lot of controversy over this and to be honest, nobody has a definitive answer.  Until singer Davey Havok tells us directly we won’t know for sure but here are the theories we’ve come across in order of least likely to most likely:

Abuncha Fucking Idiots or Another Fucking Idiot:  This rumor was circulating in the late 90’s and has never been acknowledged publicly by the band as far as we know.  It’s possible the band told somebody this as a joke and it spread or even that Davey called it this before he ever thought the band would become something more than an idea in his head.  More than likely somebody thought it was funny and had just made it up.

Ants Farming Indonesia:  There have been a few posts on the internet that it was published in Smash Magazine circa 1995 that the band decided to name themselves this before they even learned to play their instruments.  No confirmation from the band could be found.

Anthems For Insubordinates:  There are a number of websites and blog posts that claim at one time AFI stood for this but once again, no official acknowledgment from any of the band members.

Asking For it:  The band used this name as their mailing address, which for good reason caused a lot of people to believe this is what AFI stood for.  However, the band claims they only chose this name for their address because people used to frequently write to them asking for free stuff.  They thought it clever that it matched the band’s acronym but claim it was never the official name of the band.

A Fire Inside:  In recent years this is the only name the band has acknowledged and confirmed though whether or not it has always been the official name is still a mystery.  In all likelihood, the band decided this was the coolest sounding name that fit the acronym sometime after they had become more established.  Whatever random, not as bad ass sounding, name they had previously considered was thrown out the window.

My personal theory is that when Davey Havok originally thought about starting a band he never in a million years would have guessed it would become well known.  Since it most likely started as a joke for him, it’s likely he began with a jokey name like “Another Fucking Idiot” and called it AFI for short.  Once he got a few friends to join and they actually began to learn to play they probably collectively changed the name to something a little less self deprecating like “Anthems For Insubordinates”.  As the band progressed in their sound as well as their look it’s also likely that somebody came up with a cooler name to fit the AFI acronym which better encapsulated their new aesthetic and that name was “A Fire Inside”.

If you’ve got another theory feel free to share it in the comments.

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