FRANKLIN, Tennessee — Paramore are not a real band. Hayley Williams is a glorified solo artist and an easily manipulated one at that. Brand New Eyes, the group’s to-the-brink-and-back 2009 album, did not close the Tennessee-size divides that had emerged between Williams and her mates (as she had previously told MTV News ); it only made them larger. The album was not a new beginning but, rather, the beginning of the end.
So claimed Josh Farro, in his now-infamous “Exit Statement” from Paramore , which turned what had been an amicable separation into a nasty, venomous split. Understandably, the remaining members of the band — Williams, guitarist Taylor York and bassist Jeremy Davis — were hurt by Farro’s words , as they told us when we sat down with them last week in their hometown of Franklin for their only interview about the split.
But they were also more than ready to address Farro’s charges. And in MTV News’ [url id=”/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, they do — starting, appropriately enough, at the beginning, when Paramore say they were just another band looking for their big break. Farro sees it differently, writing that, even in those early days, the band was all about Williams; she was the one shopped to record labels, while the rest of the group were treated as second-class citizens. And when a contract finally was signed with Atlantic/ Fueled by Ramen, it was only Williams’ name on the dotted line.
So what’s the truth? Are Paramore really just a solo act? Well, according to Williams, they never have been, and they never will be.
“When I was 14, I was offered a contract, but my heart wasn’t to be a solo artist; my heart was to be in a band,” she said. “I mean, since I [was] a kid, I’ve always just wanted to be in a band. I didn’t even want to be the singer; I wanted to be the drummer, so I could be behind everything. And that’s what I fought for, and that’s what we’ve made it. And that’s why it seemed so irrelevant that everything was being pointed out [in Farro’s statement]. I mean, we’ve been honest about it, and we are a band, and, to me, it doesn’t matter if there’s a name on a contract. I hate business, it’s the last thing I ever want to talk about. So when that was brought up in the blog, I just felt like, ’Man, fans shouldn’t care or need to hear about this stuff,’ because all that does is get in the way of music.”
That, of course, brings us to perhaps the nastiest barb in Farro’s statement: his accusation that Paramore are nothing more than “a manufactured product of a major label.” It’s a line that calls into question everything the band have accomplished over the past six-plus years, and, not surprisingly, it was also the one the band couldn’t wait to answer.
“We’re not a manufactured band. We’ve dealt with that rumor for a long time, and that’s because of the rumors of Fueled by Ramen and Atlantic’s relationship. We’ve always talked about that … saying, you know, when we started, I again fought for something that we could really work hard and start from the ground,” Williams said. “That’s the kind of music that I love, and that’s the kind of music we’ve all shared interest in since day one, and we wanted to be that kind of band, we wanted to be those kind of people that worked for whatever they were going to get. We didn’t know it would turn into this. Thank God it did, because we got to experience so many cool things.”
MTV News will be unveiling our exclusive interview with Paramore on Friday at 4 p.m. ET with [url id=”/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.