Interview with author Davey Havok | By James Alvarez
Davey Havok is a busy guy. Like, ridiculously busy. When he’s not jumping between bands including AFI, Dreamcar, XTRMST, and Blaqk Audio, performing stints on Broadway, or ironing out his own clothing line, this vegan straight edge punk rock icon—and literal PETA poster boy—is cranking out novels.
Havok first stepped into the literary world with 2013’s “Pop Kids,” in which he crafted a debaucherous look at nihilistic millennials. His latest book, “Love Fast Los Angeles,” drops Feb. 6 via Black Candy Publishing. It exists in the same sordid universe as “Pop Kids,” but focuses on the glitzy and depraved appeal of The City of Angels.
“Love Fast Los Angeles” is a gripping and twisted ode to life in the fast lane in Southern California. It’s a tale of love and loss, romance and revenge, sex, drugs, and social media. Havok’s story follows a boisterous young party photographer named Alvin. He’s a rock ‘n’ roll warrior armed with a Canon, hellbent on ending the career of Hollywood’s premier douchebag, winning the heart of L.A.’s hottest socialite, and driving his mustang faster than lighting whenever possible.
“Alvin exists in the first novel; he was inspired by a couple of friends of mine,” Havok explains. “When I realized he would be the focus of the second novel and that he became a party photographer, he just kind of bloomed into a different identity—based on people who I know, people who I’ve seen, and people who I’ve played with.”
“The party photographer is a very real character, and there are many of them,” he notes of the voyeuristic photo ninja who lurk in the L.A. party scene. “Alvin is more concerned with matters of the heart and passion. He’s conflicted, as you can see.”
Alvin wants to climb the A-list, not for fame and fortune, but to use his stature to right past wrongs and nab Sky Monroe: his dream babe and professed future wife. At its core, “Love Fast Los Angeles” feels like an old-fashioned noir centered on dames, shady backroom deals, and fast getaways. The catch is that this story is set in the reality TV, Instagram convergence point of 21st century Hollywood, where business deals, sexploits, and criminal behavior all revolve around page views.
“It’s a very real world,” Havok says of the dizzying Hollywood aura he explores in the novel. “It’s a world of youth culture and celebrity culture that I am confronted with, and I think many people are confronted with, whether or not they are aware of that confrontation. It’s very pervasive, particularly throughout Western culture, especially with social media.”
Havok’s book not only captures the media-hyped cultural zeitgeist—the one that has made Twitter-speak the semiofficial parlance of our times—but also the actual landscape of Southern California. “I’ve always loved Los Angeles,” he says fondly. “I’ve spent a lot of time living in L.A. over the course of my adult life. I first started visiting when I was very young. It was my first exposure to subculture. I was always enamored with what was here in Los Angeles; when I was a preteen, walking Melrose and seeing all the death rockers and punk rockers in real life for the first time was really impactful for me. AFI signed to a Southern California label, and we would visit for reasons of business, and then eventually, record many of our records down here, which would involve us living down here for, often, a year at a time. So, even before I permanently decided to call Los Angeles my home, it was a city I was in love with for a long time.”
Havok’s love of the Southland shines throughout “Love Fast Los Angeles.” He sprinkles in references to landmarks, freeways, radio stations, and other genuine SoCal-isms that help keep the fantastical elements of Alvin’s misadventures grounded in reality. His romp through Disneyland, his journey to Malibu, and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ seemingly omnipresent grasp on his radio all make Alvin feel like a real-life L.A. dude—reality show paparazzi shenanigans aside.
“It’s tough writing books, novels, stories,” Havok shares, “because, for me, I need to really be immersed in it. I began writing ‘Love Fast Los Angeles’ immediately after having finished ‘Pop Kids.’ Life took me in a different direction, and I didn’t have time to focus on it, but then, my publisher and dear friend Danny said for me to get back to it and to start writing again.”
Havok prefers to write between tours, because “I’m so exhausted on the road, my brain doesn’t really function as well in that respect,” he laments, but he juggles music and writing like his character Score juggles smartphones—deftly.
For now, the writing bug is strong with this one, and Havok has plans for a third novel down the road. If it’s anything like “Love Fast Los Angeles,” his next work is destined to be “gnar.”