California modern rockers AFI didn't exactly struggle with making "Decemberunderground," the quartet's long-awaited follow-up to 2003's hit album "Sing the Sorrow." In fact, guitarist Jade Puget says

California modern rockers AFI didn't exactly struggle with making "Decemberunderground," the quartet's long-awaited follow-up to 2003's hit album "Sing the Sorrow." In fact, guitarist Jade Puget says the group had a catalog of more than 100 songs from which it chose the final 12.

"We didn't take time off. We didn't take vacation. We weren't on a hiatus," says Puget, who played in a high school band with frontman Davey Havok and drummer Adam Carson before joining AFI in 1999. "We were working on this album intensely since we got off the road on the last one. To write that much material and sort through it and develop it takes an enormous amount of time."

On top of that, Puget says AFI had some determined creative goals for the new set. "I didn't set out to write 'Sing the Sorrow, Part 1,'" he explains. "We never set out to write a copy of our last record. There's always people that are going to be like, 'Why don't you write something like your last record?' That's just not what we're about. We just felt that we needed to outdo ourselves, and that's the most important driving force, creatively."

Due this week via Interscope, "Decemberunderground" was again produced by Jerry Finn (Green Day, Blink 182), who also helmed "Sing the Sorrow." First single "Miss Murder" was written by Puget and Havoc while they were "sitting around bored" in the basement studio where they crafted most of the album's songs. The track is No. 6 this week on Billboard's Modern Rock chart.