Got (Dairy-Free) Milk? An Interview With Davey Havok


[Photo: Allen J. Schaben, LA Times]

Contrary to popular belief, there's a lot more to veganism than shopping at Whole Foods and swapping your clothes and dairy out for hemp alternatives. And no, not all vegans are hippies by nature either. According to the animal rights organization peta2, a vegan saves the lives of more than 100 animals every year from life on a factory farm and slaughter. Well, that’s preeetty cool, but we were curious to know what it's like to actually live and breathe veganism. So we asked one of our favorite vegan musicians out there - AFI's Davey Havok. 

Just this year, Davey appeared in a widespread peta2 campaign and created a vegan shoeline with his clothing brand, Zu Boutique - proving that vegans can be fashionable and bona-fide rockstars to boot (no pun intended..?) We caught Davey just as he arrived back in town from London to promote AFI's new album, Burials, which dropped today. Catch our interview with him below!

You're currently on tour with AFI and promoting your new album, Burials. Your schedule must get insane with recording and touring - what's the most difficult part about being a full-time vegan/jet-setting music artist?

Davey Havok: Not too much difficult parts; there aren't many and they're easy to overcome. Unfortunately the diet is relatively expensive if you're not cooking for yourself. The social aspect can be hard if you don't have a peer group who eat like you. Which I'm lucky in that I do - I have peer circle that is strongly, strongly vegan and vegetarian. My tour manager is vegan, my bass player is vegan as are many of my friends. Jade is a vegetarian.

There are some occasions where I step outside of my social circle and I'm eating with people who are participating in mainstream diets and I'm eating in a mainstream-eating establishment. Usually I eat before I go out and eat with those people, because in some instances there isn't anything you can eat.  But these days it's less common to find a place that won't serve you something. If I can't eat beforehand, then I have to reconcile myself to not eating in that situation, and just participating on the social level and not the consumption level.

Was there a particular moment that impacted your choice to become vegan?

I was a vegetarian for two years before taking the step into veganism. It truly was the straight edge and hardcore scene that influenced me to be a vegetarian in the first place and that educated me in health and animal rights, and it was the same community that led me to veganism by education. There was actually a book I read called Diet For A New America by Dr. John Robbins and it was immediately thereafter that I decided to make the change.

What cities and vegan restaurant joints do you look forward to the most on the road in the U.S.?

There's a great spot in San Francisco called Millennium that's one of my favorites. In New York, there's a place called Candle 79 on the Upper East Side: I would fly to New York just to eat there.

And unfortunately on tour, sometimes you just don't have the time even if you're in the city and you're right next door. There's a spot I really want to eat in Philly called Veg.

You also seem like a globe-trotter even while you're not on tour. What are the most accommodating places in the world to eat as a vegan?

Canada accommodates pretty well, there's Le Commensal, a buffet style vegan/vegetarian restaurant that's predominantly vegan. Canada's been on it for a while, but England - not so much, which is ironic because veganism first started in England. Japan is less difficult than it used to be but Europe still is.

Any fond moments while abroad?

In Antwerp there is a really quaint vegan spot with a photo of Moby on the wall and a paper mâché cow hanging from the ceiling and a wonderful woman who spoke 7 languages running it. She was really kind, great food - I unfortunately don't know what it's called but it's the one vegan restaurant in Antwerp. I remember having a phenomenal tiramisu there.

So do you cook?

No cooking - even though cooking really will decimate the cost of eating vegan. I don't have the ability.

What if you were going to a potluck - what dish would you bring?

I would probably have my friend's girlfriend make something for me - what she would make would really be up to her - she's vegan.