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This Is Why I Do What I Do!
August 1, 2010 | Filed Under: Interviews, Music, Photography, readers mail, Rock Zone magazine | Submit Comment

Last August (2009), I flew to Amsterdam to interview and photograph Californian rock band AFI (A Fire Inside) for the October (2009) issue of Rock Zone magazine.

Then a couple of months ago, I received a very touching email from one of our readers. His name is Hernán Montenegro and he lives in Mar Del Plata, Argentina. We published his email in the June 2010 issue of Rock Zone. I posted a scan below. Here is the translation:

“Rock Zone, I want to introduce myself. My name is Hernán Montenegro, I’m 18 years old and I live in Mar Del Plata, part of Buenos Aires in Argentina. A few days ago, I was walking through the streets of my city, while passing a news stand, I noticed a copy of last years Rock Zone magazine (the one with Muse on the cover). What drew my attention was not Muse, but the smaller photograph: my four heroes and second from left, the love of my life, Mr. Havok. I don’t know if you’re aware of the devaluation of my country’s currency and how your money is worth four times the amount, but that didn’t matter to me and it didn’t stop me from purchasing the magazine. And when I saw the interview by Ms. Nadia Natario, I knew that it was worth every cent. I know that this is going to sound unbelievable, but this is the first time in my life that I hold in my hands a magazine with an interview of AFI (obviously they are not well known in my country) and after reading the (Crash Love) review by Jordi Meya, of the band that had a real impact on me, I’m going to explain myself. I first heard of AFI when I was 14 years old, thanks to a friends’ compilation which included the song ‘File 13’. You can imagine what it was like for me when I realized that it was the same band that wrote ‘Miss Murder’. But thanks to bootlegs, I was able to get ‘Shut You Mouth And Open Your Eyes’ and it blew me away! Then I got ‘Black Sails In The Sunset’, ‘The Art Of Drowning’, ‘Answer That And Stay Fashionable’, ‘Very Proud Of Ya’, ‘All Hallows’…every song I could hear on You Tube or download. Later on I got ‘Sing The Sorrow’ and ‘Decemberunderground’. I remember how excited I got with every song, the joy I felt listening to them when I was sad, the urge I felt to go on stage and sing and the wish I had to see them live. My search for original copies of AFI began with ‘Decemberunderground’ and then ‘Sing The Sorrow’, the only two records that are actually released in my country. But, I didn’t give up and I finally found an import of ‘Black Sails In The Sunset’ for $100 (in your country it would be a CD for 100€), but just like the magazine, I didn’t think about it and bought it. Looking at the CD booklet and listening to the actual record was amazing. Not owning an original copy of ‘Crash Love’ like I want to, still hurts, but I would need to save 120 pesos to order it. Being able to see AFI live in Argentina seems like a lost cause, but I never give up hope. They are my favorite band, the first band that I was devoted to, the band that introduced me to straight edge and veganism. They were my first tattoo, my first extremely expensive CD, the first band that made me laugh and cry, the band that gave me the courage to get on stage and sing without carrying about my image or how my voice sounded. They are the band that pushed me to make my own demos. I just wanted to thank you for giving me the chance to see AFI in a magazine and to read this interview. And for once, it’s something that gave my heart a moment of joy in this country in which AFI appear not to exist. Regards to you all.” (Hernán Montenegro)

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