Multifaceted vocalist Davey Havok spans genres as the singer of punk band AFI, electronic duo Blaqk Audio, hardcore outfit XTRMST, and new wave-inspired supergroup Dreamcar.
Balancing distinct extremes, he found as much inspiration in the Cure and Depeche Mode as he did in the Misfits and Minor Threat, two sides that would influence his multiple projects over the years. In addition to his decades-long musical career, Havok also acted (most notably in the 2011 production of Green Day's American Idiot), modeled, wrote a book (2013's Pop Kids), and dabbled in clothing and jewelry design. He has also collaborated with contemporaries like the Transplants, Operation Ivy, Rancid, the Offspring, and many others.
Born David Paden Passaro in 1975 in Rochester, New York, Havok and his mother moved to Ukiah, California after the passing of his father when he was five. He would later take his stepfather's surname, Marchand. His Catholic school education extended into high school, where the first seeds of AFI were planted in 1991 with his friend, founding drummer Adam Carson. The first incarnation of A Fire Inside also included guitarist Mark Stopholese and bassist Vic Chalker (later replaced by Geoff Kresge in 1992). Although they disbanded when the guys headed off to college, they would reunite years later while Havok was a double-major at UC Berkeley, studying English and psychology. As AFI took off, he decided to drop out and pursue music full-time.
AFI's first album, Answer That & Stay Fashionable, was issued in 1995 on Wingnut Records. Two more -- 1996's Very Proud of Ya and 1997's Shut Your Mouth & Open Your Eyes -- were released on Nitro Records with the original lineup, before Hunter Burgan and Jade Puget replaced Kresge and Stopholese, respectively. The updated AFI -- with their gothic shift in sound -- made their debut in 1999 with Black Sails in the Sunset. As the band's popularity grew, AFI scored their first Billboard-charting album with 2000's The Art of Drowning.
With five AFI albums behind him, Havok made his first foray outside the group with the horror-punk side project Son of Sam, which he started with members of Samhain and Danzig. Although he sang on their 2001 debut, Songs from the Earth, it would end up being a one-off deal, as Havok returned his focus to AFI.
In 2003, after signing a major deal with DreamWorks, AFI released their mainstream breakthrough, Sing the Sorrow. The platinum-selling effort peaked at number five and spawned the hit singles "Girl's Not Grey" and "The Leaving Song Pt. II," opening the band to a wider audience with the help of radio airplay and MTV promotion. They rode the success of Sorrow into 2006 with the release of the chart-topping Decemberunderground (Interscope), buoyed by the hit single "Miss Murder."
Before the release of AFI's next effort, Havok and Puget created their first non-AFI outlet with the dark electronic soundscapes of Blaqk Audio. Influenced by Depeche Mode, New Order, and the Cure, the duo released their debut, CexCells, in 2007. With echoes of new wave, dance, and a little industrial, the album would be the first of three to top the Billboard dance/electronic chart, followed by 2012's Bright Black Heaven and 2016's Material.
That electronic sheen and pop savvy slowly seeped into the AFI sound, as their subsequent albums -- 2009's Crash Love and 2013's Burials -- began to incorporate Havok and Puget's experimental aesthetic. Veering back toward no-nonsense hardcore, the pair formed another AFI offshoot in 2014 with the straight-edge fury of XTRMST. The polar opposite of Blaqk Audio, XTRMST issued their self-titled debut on Dim Mak Records.
Havok and Puget returned to their AFI duties for the release of the band's tenth full-length, AFI (aka The Blood Album) in early 2017. The LP was their highest-charting in a decade, peaking at number five and producing the singles "Snow Cats" and "White Offerings."
That same year, Havok announced his involvement with Dreamcar, an '80s synth pop-inspired supergroup formed with Tony Kanal, Tom Dumont, and Adrian Young of No Doubt. The quartet joined forces years earlier, secretly working on their debut with producer Tim Pagnotta of Sugarcult. Havok and the band released the first single from the project, "Kill for Candy," and the full LP months later. ~ Neil Z. Yeung, Rovi