Paramore's secret is in the 'tude
By Naughty Mickie
Photos Courtesy of
Franklin, Tenn. punk/pop rockers Paramore are fresh off "Vans Warped
Tour" and their success continues. Their album, "All We Know Is Falling"
(Fueled by Ramen), is getting plenty of airplay and their single,
"Pressure," was used in the "Sims 2" video game. Adding to the pile, the
band's acoustic cover of the Foo Fighters' "My Hero" is on the "Sound of
Superman" (Rhino/WEA) companion album to the film "Superman Returns."
"Really, there's no other way to be because here we are 17, 15, 21 years
old and we're living our dreams," says lead vocalist Hayley Williams, 17,
when I comment on her positivity about Paramore.
Williams is joined by lead guitarist Josh Farro, 18, rhythm guitarist
Hunter Lamb, 20, bassist Jeremy Davis, 21, and drummer/percussionist Zac
Farro, 15. Their youth belies the quintet's talent, as most of them came
to music early. Williams was singing by age 11.
"My whole family is into all types of different music and one of those
genres is soul and funk and I grew up listening to that," Williams
explains. "I loved the feeling of singing it. I wanted to be in a band
when I was back home, at least a group, I wanted to play music with other
people and when I moved to Nashville, I met Zac and Josh who were already
in a band.I was inspired by seeing the dynamics of the group musically and
once I had the chance to be a part of a band, gosh, I was ecstatic."
When I ask if it's true that she also plays piano, guitar and drums,
Williams responds, "I do, but I don't know how good I am."
From here, I am curious for more of the story as to how Paramore was
"From my perspective, I moved from Nashville, I met Zac and Josh and at
the same time I was writing music with them I joined a cover band with
Jeremy playing funk music," Williams recalls. "When Zac and Josh and I
decided we needed a bass player, I was like, 'Hey, I know this great guy
named Jeremy and we should try him out.' He came and tried out and later
down the road, Hunter had been in a bunch of bands in Nashville and he was
a really good friend of ours, so he joined the band after we had already
been doing touring."
Between touring and recording, Zac Farro and Williams have managed to keep
up on their education.
"Zac's still in school, but we both did online courses and Zac does
workbooks. I just took my ACTs when I was home and I apparently I'm
graduated so I'm going to be getting my diploma soon." Williams is also
eyeing higher education, "I think that at least until the end of the year
I'm not going to think about school and just focus completely on writing
the new record and doing what we're doing now. Definitely in the future I
want to take something, whether it's that school-oriented I don't know,
really interested in art. I'm not that great of a painter, but I'm really
interested in it. Graphic design is something that I would like to know. I
think it would be helpful being in the music business, it's so much about
that now. I just want to be able to keep learning, I don't want to be
She's also learned what it's like to have a day job.
"Josh and Zac, their family, they're Italian and they own this really
great pizza shop back in Nashville. They've since sold it, but when they
did own it, Josh and Zac worked there a lot and I would help wash dishes
and I didn't do anything in the way of
cooking because I suck at cooking. I helped them out a lot there for no
money so I guess it really wasn't a real job," Williams says.
But I counter that it was still a job and a good experience. Then we go on
to her free time.
"I don't have any cool hobbies," Williams admits with a laugh. "I do
enjoy reading. I finished about a month ago, I read
'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' and 'The Five People You Meet in Heaven'
and I thought those were really great books. When I'm home, I have two
sisters, they're younger than me and I love hanging out with them. I like
doing my normal stuff, taking them to the park. My sisters are just a joy.
One's three and one's ten."
She loves her sisters, but what is it like to have brothers - Josh and Zac
Farro - in the band?
"Me, Zac and Josh have been in this together for a while now and they were
my best friends. We've all been friends since I moved up to Nashville, so
it's really been no different. We hang out every day, we make music
together and they get along really
well," Williams states.
This leads me to Paramore's approach to writing material.
"I would say Josh is pretty much the brains behind the music," Williams
says easily. "He's a genius, I think he's an amazing guy and I'm always
being shocked by the new stuff he comes up with and I write all the lyrics
and most of the melodies. We help each other out, it's like a team and
once we lay down the foundation of a song, we take it to the band and work
dynamics and the arrangement, stuff like that, to make it sound like
Plunk in the middle of things, I seek Williams' take on the music scene.
"I think that people are finally realizing that they don't have to wear a
uniform. I think that people are starting to be free, which is a huge step
for our scene. I think it's wonderful. It's beautiful, as gay as that
sounds. There's so many different kinds of music now
that connect and intertwine and I love being a part of it," Williams
We discuss what it's like to be a female working in a male-dominated
"Before we started touring and before we were actually in the middle of it
all, I was a little nervous about how people would take us and what I
would have to do to prove myself. But really, people just took us in, to
my surprise it wasn't that hard," Williams says. "I don't really think our
band fits in, but we're a part of it now, we're a big part of it and I
love it. I've got so many new friends and most of our friends are all guys
in bands and it's wonderful. Everyone respects the fact that I'm a girl
and that's nice."
OK, but what about touring as the lone girl in the band?
"I deal," Williams replies. "They're my best friends so as far as changing
and taking showers, when we're not on Warped Tour, we would stay at hotels
at least every other night and I would get my own room because, for one, I
don't want the reputation of being in the middle of four guys in a hotel
room and I think it's healthy for a girl to have her own space every once
in a while, so I would do that. But like I said earlier, when you're with
your best friends, it really doesn't feel that different. You do need to
do things to remind yourself that you are different- you are a girl, not a
guy. But it's fun, we have the best time."
Having done my own time in bands where I was the only female, I can
relate. Touring and sharing a dressing room was not necessarily the
biggest challenge I faced nor was proving myself to an audience. For me,
it was the teasing. My fellow band members would love to give me a bad
time and I learned quickly to throw the barbs back.
"We all have our jokes on each other," Williams shares. "It feels equal to
me, but I'm sure they pick on me a lot for different things. We'll be
having to run on stage and I'll be like, 'Wait, I've got to do my makeup'
and Hunter will be like, 'Oh, I've got to do my makeup.' It's always in
good fun, it's never anything harsh."
It's been written that Williams was shy, yet the way she holds her own
during a show, you would never have guessed.
"I don't think I was shy with my friends, I was always a pretty hyper kind
of person, but when it comes to meeting people or especially getting on a
stage, I would be petrified," admits Williams. "It's taken a while for all
of us to come into our own, but I
think we are really going to be who we are now and we're really confident
Paramore has been writing while on "Vans Warped Tour" and plan to take
some time to polish their songs and prepare for their
headlining tour this fall for two months across the country.
"We want to give people something that's totally worth their money,"
Williams says."We don't want to make them feel that they're coming to just
another show, we want it to be something that's huge and people will be
After the headlining tour, Paramore will take the rest of year off to work
on a new record. Although, they are already planning forays to Europe and
perhaps Japan or the United Kingdom.
"It's so weird. Sometimes you feel bad, you'll be talking to your friends
that are in bands and they've been doing it longer than you and they
haven't been to Japan yet, but you're going and now you're about to go for
your second time overseas. It can make
you feel bad because we've been doing it a lot and it's a lot of fun,"
Williams tells me adding that, in the future, she hopes to be able to help
her friends. "Most of our favorite bands are indie bands and we always
want to help them out. We always want to share their music with other
Before parting with this bubbly soul, I ask her if she has anything she
would like to say to our readers.
"Our band just really wants to get out the fact that we so appreciate
everyone that's even listened to us once. We're really excited about where
we're going and we're excited about taking all the fans that we've gained
with us," Williams says.
I can't help but comment that it's sort of scary to become so big so
fast-- where will Paramore go from here?
"Gosh, I don't know," Williams chirps. "It's too early to worry about
things like that. We want to get as big as people will let us get and
we're just going to be doing it until no one likes us and even then we'll
be doing it, just probably not in front of people."