FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Hayley Williams isn't going to deny any of it. Not the anger, the sense of betrayal she felt two weeks ago when reading Josh Farro's "Exit Statement," or the bewilderment over the bizarre set of circumstances that led to that statement.
But more than anything, she's not going to deny her overwhelming desire to put the whole incident behind her ... which is why MTV News flew to Tennessee last Thursday to talk to Williams and her [artist id="1968732"]Paramore[/artist] bandmates Taylor York and Jeremy Davis about the split with the Farro brothers, and their plans to move forward without them. Because, as they told us, once 2010 came to a close they had no intention of addressing the topic anymore.
"There's been a lot of things said online, especially in the past week, and it sucks ... it sucks to read it, and it also sucks to know that responding isn't really going to help, online, because things travel so terribly on the Internet," Williams said. "So we really wanted the opportunity to show our fans that we're OK, you know? The three of us are still here, we're not going anywhere. A lot of kids are still asking if the band is breaking up, and that just goes to show how broken the communication online can be, when rumors start traveling. So this is our way of showing that there's a future and we're stoked for it."
MTV News will examine the band's past and future in [url id="http://www.mtv.com/shows/paramore_the_last_word/series.jhtml"]"Paramore: The Last Word,"[/url] a live stream on MTV.com on Friday, January 7, at 4 p.m. ET. Because unlike any other band of their stature and status, Paramore just can't seem to escape the past. To this day, questions exist about their formation, talk of Williams' initial pseudo-career as a solo artist and about the group's early days as an indie-label act with major-label backing. And if, by some bizarre circumstance, you weren't aware of any of that, well then Josh Farros' statement probably brought you up to speed.
A large portion of our interview last week dealt specifically with Josh's central points — points the band deemed "irrelevant" — and, on Wednesday, we'll publish Paramore's responses to them. But we figured the best place to start with a situation this complex is at the beginning: with the band's first reactions to Farro's statement, which turned what had been a rather amicable split into something else entirely.
"I don't know if I got a phone call or an e-mail, but I woke up to it, basically, and that sucked, and I was not happy," Williams said. "And yeah, it hurts, because what we were told was that they weren't happy, they didn't want to do this, and you can't be mad at someone for not feeling something. ... But then when it really became about all these other things, I was very surprised and kind of felt led on, almost. We've been doing this for six, seven years now. I don't think any of this has been in vain, for any of us ... and I don't think anyone should discredit it."
"It was a drag. ... Once we released our statement, we all knew they would probably release something," guitarist Taylor York added. "So I think we were all kind of bracing ourselves. You know, breakups are hard, and there's a lot of feelings so we kind of, in a way, we expected there to be something weird. So, yeah, it was really hard to read, just because it seemed like a lot of the stuff was pretty irrelevant to what happened. I think that was the weird thing, 'cause it just didn't seem really necessary."
Of course, Williams and York said all of this in carefully measured, downright diplomatic tones. You get the feeling, had we sat down with them on the morning of December 22, immediately following Farros' statement, their reactions would've been slightly different. But Paramore made it clear that are trying very hard not to get angry, if not for the sake of the band, then for the sake of their fans.
"You feel every single type of emotion possible when something like this happens with someone that either was — or is — very close to you, you just feel everything, all at once," Williams smiled. "I've never felt so ... I don't know, I couldn't even figure out how I felt. But after realizing, like Taylor said, that it was kind of going to happen this way, you've just got to know that what's important is the three of us are still here, and that we want to do this, and that's the positive part about this."
MTV News will be unveiling our exclusive interview with Paramore on Friday at 4 p.m. ET with [url id="http://www.mtv.com/shows/paramore_the_last_word/series.jhtml"]"Paramore: The Last Word,"[/url] a live stream on MTV.com that will feature in-depth analysis of the band's future, real-time discussion with their biggest fans and exclusive footage of the band, past and present.