FRANKLIN, Tennessee — There were several moments during MTV News’ visit to Paramore’s hometown of Franklin, Tennessee , when we wanted to grab Hayley Williams & company and remind them, “You know you guys are famous, right?”
See, Paramore are so down to earth that they’re practically subterranean, which probably explains why, down in Franklin, they were willing to do anything (or go anywhere) with our crew … which led to moments like this one: the band wheeling their way through downtown Franklin, giving us a guided tour that quickly devolved into some serious Evel Knievel-esque bike stunts, bouts of frantic horn-blowing and, ultimately, a trip to their local Goodwill.
Seriously, there is no other platinum-selling rock band in the world that would do this type of stuff.
And while the impromptu cycling tour made for some pretty amazing tape, it also gave us a glimpse of the [artist id=”1968732″]Paramore[/artist] most people don’t know: the one deeply indebted to their hometown, and the one that — despite the number of albums they’ve sold — are still very much a group of kids at heart.
“I ride my bike around town, I get food and I hang out with my friends. No one stops me. Or stops any of us,” lead singer Hayley Williams explained, while piloting her bike through Franklin. “That’s just the way it is around here. It’s part of why we love it.”
Another part? The solace Franklin provides. Last year, when the band was riding out a storm of personal problems , they returned home to regroup, recharge and, ultimately, release their “That’s What You Get” video , which was filmed in and around town and served as a message to the band’s detractors: We’re not going anywhere.
And, on our way up to Goodwill, Williams stopped to point out one very key part of the whole healing process.
“This is the graveyard where we did some of our photos for ’That’s What You Get,’ ” she said, pulling her bike off the road. “We did, like, a whole press release after our band went through that tough time, we did every bit of our press from home, and … ”
“Actually, she’s lying,” bassist Jeremy Davis interrupted. “What we really did was … when we were going through hard times, we were actually going to kill each other, and so we bought plots in there.”
And as we pulled up to the Goodwill — located outside town in a near-barren strip mall out on Hillsboro Road — Williams explained the significance of the place, which has been a constant in Paramore’s career, from their earliest days to the liner notes of their upcoming Brand New Eyes album.
“When our band first started, we would always come and shop here for random outfits, little photo shoots that we had to do. One time in particular, we were shooting a Christmas card — my mom took the photo — and we came here and got sweaters and little Christmas candles and stuff,” Williams said. “But more recently, our album artwork, we picked up the props at this Goodwill. The little angels that are on the artwork for ’Ignorance,’ the picture frames on the back of our album … a lot of little random gadgets that you can see in our artwork — we got them all here. This place is rad.”