Have you ever idolized someone so much that you believe that he can do no wrong, but then something happens that makes you question whether you really know him at all?
The something in this case is Pop Kids, the first novel written by my favorite musician Davey Havok of the rock band AFI.
Of course, unlike our friends and families, we can’t really know celebrities at all in the first place. My opinion of Davey (actually born David Paden Passaro) has been crafted by his art, appearance, interviews, and societal sentiment. And so far that opinion has been untarnished…
But before I launch into my review of his book, I wanted to share what Davey has meant to me up until now.
It all started in 2006 with this music video that I saw on TV:
“Miss Murder” (which included the intro “Prelude 12/21” in this long version) was the lead single off AFI’s seventh studio album Decemberunderground. At the time I had no idea that this amazing band had been around since the early 1990s, breaking into the punk rock scene out of Northern California.
All that was going through my mind watching this video was, “Who is this band?! And who’s the lead singer? His look is a bit strange, but in a cool way. Digging his hair and makeup and piercings. Wow, I’m in love with this sound. And the whole cryptic cult leader thing going on is so badass. OMG where has this band been all my life?!?!”
Just like that, AFI became my favorite band of all time and has continued to be so for seven years. And although I prefer their more recent albums (since Sing the Sorrow), I respect their humble beginnings. Every fan has their favorite era, but I’m proud of how the band, and especially Davey’s voice, has evolved with each production.
Everyone on the current lineup–Davey, Jade, Adam, and Hunter–is so crazy talented. Listening to AFI has been a way for me to celebrate the best of times and get through the worst of times. When I finally saw the band play live a few years ago, the moment they walked out on stage, I couldn’t help but cry. A bit dramatic, yes, but if you’re a part of the Despair Faction (either officially or unofficially), you know exactly how much their music means to you.
My “relationship” with Davey has always been unique to me, as he’s one of the few vocalists I don’t fangirl for, at least in the traditional sense. Although handsome in his own right, I don’t swoon over him like I do for Jared Leto from 30 Seconds to Mars or Tyson Ritter of The All-American Rejects.
Regardless of his often-debated sexuality, I don’t want to date him; I just want to hang out with him, maybe discuss existentialism over vegan muffins, you know? To me, he’s the epitome of cool, whether it’s performing on Broadway in Green Day’s “American Idiot” or modeling for Tarina Tarantino. Not to mention, his straight-edge lifestyle makes him an inspiration to people around the world.
Davey has worn many hats–singer, songwriter, actor, model, fashion guru–and worn them so well that it seemed only natural that he write a novel. After all, how can you compete with the poetry of his lyrics?
So who will follow? Who is the lead? I know I leave a stain, because I bleed, as we dance, we all dance, we all…have no chance in this horrid romance. ~ “Dancing Through Sunday”
City lights, like rain, dance and explode, fall upon debutantes, reeling from nights that kiss and control, all of our broken hearts. ~ “Kiss and Control”
Give me something I can take to make the memories fade, poison kiss, remember this, I never was meant for this day.~ “Fainting Spells”
Will the flood behind me put out the fire inside me? ~ “The Missing Frame“
Well, it turns out that no one has the Midas touch, not even my idol whom I thought was a master wordsmith. In fact, I have so much to say about Davey’s debut novel Pop Kids that I felt obligated to write this blog post as a disclaimer.
I still love Davey, and I can’t imagine not loving AFI. But my perceptions have changed during this reading experience and the light of reality is starting to shine through. I’m sure that this effect is exactly what Davey intended in his critique of society’s obsession with pop culture. Chapter by chapter, he killed my darlings.
But much more on that later. Better microwave some popcorn and make yourself comfortable, because I’m about to release one hell of a review.
Things are about to get interesting…