AUSTIN, Texas — Paramore frontwoman Hayley Williams wants to make this as clear as humanly possible: Despite what you might have heard, her band is not breaking up. Really, honestly, truthfully.
"No, Paramore is not breaking up. Not at all," she laughed, before turning to her bandmates to make sure. "We're not, are we?"
Everyone seated around her — guitarist Josh Farro, bassist Jeremy Davis and drummer Zac Farro — agreed. And they appeared happy too. So, it seems that Paramore really aren't breaking up.
And though it seems like we're being repetitive here, that's exactly the reason Paramore decided to talk to MTV News in Austin — where they'll headline a Hot Topic South by Southwest showcase late Friday night (March 14) — because they wanted to clear up any misconceptions about why they decided to cancel a week of European tour dates last month. That move, coupled with Williams' mention of "internal issues" in a subsequent blog post, caused this whole "breakup" talk to begin in the first place. This is their first interview since the incident, and they're hoping it'll be the last they have to give about the subject.
"We tried to be as honest as we could with it, without giving our life stories, and it definitely did come back to bite us, but in the end, it was the best thing for us to do, to communicate with our fans that we needed time. We needed time to come home and catch our breath," Williams said. "It's been a long year, ever since Riot! came out, it's just been nonstop. And that's not to say that it hasn't also been the time of our lives, but there comes a time when you really have to do something for yourself for once. And that's what we had to do. We didn't like canceling shows, but that's what it took; to go home and kind of start over again."
Of course, Williams never intended to start all the rumors with her blog post. She claims that when she wrote it, she was just feeling really down about having to cancel a string of dates. But the chain reaction it caused was just another example of how bright the spotlight shines on Paramore these days.
"When we posted the first blog, we were in one mind-set, and then it took us a couple of days being home to have a different view on the whole thing. We wrote that blog in the airport, getting ready to come home, and we were all down. And I think, just like anyone's personal blog, you can sense the emotion in [our] words," she said. "The first blog we posted was definitely a downer. We tried to thread some hope in there, but we were bummed out, we were letting a lot of people down, and we didn't like that. We never like letting people down, which might be the reason we got in this situation in the first place.
"And then two days went by, and we started to feel better about the situation, and that's why we posted another blog saying, 'Things are cool. We just have some things to work through, but it's good, it's important and it's healthy,' " she continued. "We've been posting blogs to our LiveJournal and talking to our fans that way for years now, and it's always been something that's been really fun for us. But now it's crazy, because I'll post something, and it's all over the place. It's really funny how things have escalated, and how people make a huge deal out of the tiniest things. We were coming home, we canceled a week of shows, and then the next thing you know, I'm pregnant."
Ah, yes, about that pregnancy rumor. It was just one of several dozen that hit the Net in the days following Williams' blog post (others included the dissolution of an intraband relationship and Williams hooking up with various members of pretty much any band you can think of). Given the way news spreads today, each rumor was taken as gospel. Of course, Williams has got something to say about all that too.
"Well, as you can see, I am still a twig. Nothing in there but last night's dinner," she laughed, patting her stomach. "It's really funny how that pregnancy thing came up. It's happened before too. Someone said I was pregnant with some dude in some band's baby, like two years ago. It's hilarious, really. ... We try not to get into our personal relationships with the press or even with bands so much, because there's a fine line between being open and having your personal life and situations threatened. And we never want to put ourselves in that position where we have to really defend something we [shouldn't] have to defend.
"It sucks people took it that far, but it's ... everything's cool, we're all right," she added. "We're off to a better start than we were about a year ago. It feels good, and when we go back out on the road, I just think we'll be more prepared for whatever comes up."
While no one in the band will discuss just what was fixed when they returned home to Tennessee, they all seem to agree that things are much better already. And as Paramore get ready to hit the road with Jimmy Eat World in April, they say that for the first time in a while, they're recharged and ready to hit the ground running.
"I think what we really needed was just time to rest and just be normal people," Farro said. "We got home and were thinking, 'What are we going to do to make things better?' And we sort of realized that we just needed time to ourselves, because the road catches up to you. Touring really got to us. We still love it with all our hearts, but it takes a toll mentally and physically. But we just needed time with our friends and family, and just [to relax] and basically refuel. Now, I can't tell you how excited we are about things."