These are all some great posts I'm trying really hard to remember when the decline happened.I was fortunate to be around pre STS and got my merch bundle #2,and specifically remember the DF store had great deals on exclusive and markdown merch like 7.99 a shirt,20 for a quality hoody not the 40-75 dollar cash grab I see bands doing for hoodies.The board was super active on both sides it had a certain magic to it just like the band always had for me.I acually find these forums are really making me feel like the forums were,there's people talking and searching out different merch for others that's what the old board was people buying tickets or out of print vinyl that were in their area and shipping it to the person with no problems same with merch items on tour and even people selling their collectibles to other members.
STS-had studio videos,tons of signings at record shops and meet and greets,DU had the huge scavenger hunt that went on forna few months that led to 5 secret shows over the US everyo e worked together and researched and made calls and cracked the cyphers to finish the mystery it was awesome after that Blaqk Audio got going they had a type of DF thing where I got my tickets to the first Blaqk Audio show @ popscene it was a tiny show and awesome waiting outside meeting various board members putting faces to the names.
I kind of feel after Crash Love where the site had everyone send in a video talking about what the band means to them AFI watched the videos to select 5 or 6 people to sing backup gang vocals on 2 songs at Henson studios I believe in L.A. after that contest and crash love came out there were still small shows like the catalyst or the Phoenix Theater show from the infamous days of the Phoenix shoot so there was still some awesomeness going on but there was definitely a disconnect,afi series had taken over then I think that became afi news hq,alot of members simply disappeared and a more reliable source was jades blog shyboyswin.blogspot or hunters which was tranquilmammoth,they however arent as active as they were when they started the blogs.they were still at the shows but the meet ups and meet and greets were next to nil
If you happened to see them they would oblige and we're still the awesome dudes they have always been,I knew smith just from growing up going to the shows so he would always chill or get me the set lists I'd wait for at every afi or Blaqk Audio show so that was cool.I still see Adam around SF with his wife at shows so that's a cool reminder once in awhile.I always see Smith during the summer in downtown Sf he's a character!
But I guess the opening of DF now is more of a(no do respect intended) merch sentimental play on what was/see who will buy as there's no boards and the tour cycle for the blood album is over most likely as Jade mentioned he wants to start the next records(Afi/BA/)then two are married and davey has dreamcar and xtremist with jade so who really knows were looking at most likely 3 years soonest maybe 4,I hope I'm wrong and its 1.5/2years but I've been hoping for that since AOD.As it was said it seems more like a merch bundle,unless they do some DF exclusive shows which I don't see likely but you never know.
What I take from all this was during BSITS and AOD they were very active building the band and it was paying off then they landed DreamWorks for STS a major label then platinum album,then a switch for DU which seen them enjoying success,I simply think they got caught up in life as we all do and then the began to enjoy the fruits of their labor they've been going with AFI full steam since they were out of highschool which is a very long time then throw in all the other projects like Blaqk audio,xtremist I think they achieved what they set out to do and still are there for us when we catch them but after all the van tours and being in cramped spaces they finally got to put their feet up as you say and enjoy their hardwork,I don't see it as them being malicious or anything,I think it's the merch company doing it if anything as most bands have contracts with companies that design out merch but you never know it could be they have plans for the DF I really wouldn't think a board relaunching but more of shows and meet and greets,I really wish they had more than one live dvd too!Well I have to go back to work but that's simply my 2 cents on it.
P.S. I'm so glad I randomly found this site it's so awesome and so are all of you.Maybe tweet Jade,or Hu nter,even Davey and you'll get a RT I'm sure.The community here is already awesome.Thank you guys and thank you STORMS!