The documented origins of AFI stretch back to 1991 when Ukiah, California teens Davey Havok and Adam Carson formed the band and released a debut split 7" the following year with fellow Ukiah High students Loose Change (whose lineup at the time featured future AFI guitarist Jade Puget) titled Dork (Hey, they were in high school). A handful of singles, EPs, compilation tracks and early albums Answer That And Stay Fashionable (Wingnut, 1995) and Very Proud Of Ya (Nitro, 1996) followed in that youthfully exuberant, sometime sophomoric East bay hardcore/punk mode, as early incarnations of AFI hit the road and began to cultivate a worldwide following.
The earliest hints of AFI's move in a more diverse, mature direction appeared on their third album and first to feature current bassist Hunter (ex-the Force), Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes (Nitro, 1997) and the subsequent A Fire Inside EP (Adeline, 1998). It would be one more year, however, before the present AFI lineup would click with the addition of Jade Puget (ex-Redemption 87) and the release of fourth album Black Sails In The Sunset and the All Hallows EP (both Nitro, 1999). Another year later, The Art Of Drowning (Nitro, 2000) would find that AFI signature sound received by a rabid audience by then numbering in the hundreds of thousands. Yet more new AFI disciples would come into the fold as that record's "Days Of The Phoenix" somehow found its way onto modern rock radio playlists.