FRANKLIN, Tennessee — On December 30, MTV News traveled to Paramore's hometown of Franklin, Tennessee, to conduct the band's first — and only — interview about the departure of founding members Josh and Zac Farro.
It was a far-reaching, in-depth chat, covering topics like faith, friendship and the very future of the band itself. The discussion was frank, open and even a little eye opening, and no topic — including frontwoman Hayley Williams' relationship with Josh Farro and the status of Paramore's deal with Atlantic Records — was off limits. And as proof of that, we're presenting the entire interview to you now, complete with a full transcript. Take a seat, because it's a doozy.
MTV: Well guys, thank you, obviously, for inviting us in today. This is a tremendous opportunity I think and a really cool thing to do, so I wanted to talk first of all ... I found out about this on Tuesday, and the message I got from the label, from the management was: "We want to do this before the end of the year." I think I can assume why, but I'd like to hear you guys sort of articulate: Why was it important for you to address this issue before the end of 2010?
Hayley Williams: 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. 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: Have you ever tried to be sarcastic in an e-mail and they're like, "Why are you yelling at me?"
Williams: Yeah! It never works!
MTV: I guess before we talk about the respective statements I wanted to [address] the timeline. ... The timeline of this is a little odd. I completely missed this first fake blog post thing. From what I understand, you guys had nothing to do with this fake blog post. This took you completely by surprise.
Williams: We, I mean, I haven't even read the whole fake blog post. I saw bits of it.
Jeremy Davis: Me neither. I looked for it too. People were like, "What are you talking about?" I didn't even get to read the whole thing. I never could find the rest of it.
Williams: It was really weird timing though. When I got an e-mail about it, I was like, "What is happening?" You know? ... The fans that are really close to us thought, at least, thought they noticed things for a while now, and so with all the speculation, I guess we had to expect that someone would do something like that eventually, but the timing was weird, and that's why we wanted to clear stuff up.
MTV: So the issue of the two respective statements: Yours was posted first, then Josh was sort of upset by that. So did [the Farros] come to you and say, "We're going to announce this at so and so date?" How did you guys sort of go first?
Williams: With the statement?
MTV: Yeah. Because of the blog post, it sort of came out?
Davis: That was the problem, because then everyone online starts wanting to know immediately, and you know how fast things spread online. An hour online is like three days. And it flies all over the world. And it was important to us to clear things up with people ... you can't have a fake statement going around. I mean, obviously it does, and people are going to believe whatever they believe, but we wanted to post something that showed the fans "Hello" and clear it up and something before Christmastime, too. It's all really strange timing.
Taylor York: And that was the thing ... Josh and Zac told us a couple months ago, so we communicated that we really wanted them to write something to the fans themselves. And that's the thing is the [fake] blog really threw things off, because people started talking, and so they totally had the chance, but we just needed to clear things up before things got out of hand. So that's kind of how that whole mess started: It wasn't anyone trying to beat anyone.
MTV: So you were sort of waiting for them?
Williams: Yes. Originally, we wanted them to make the statement, and we gave them a chance, and then everything happened online. It was terrible timing, especially being around Christmas. You don't want to be like, "Merry Christmas, the band is over!" It sucked for us to watch out fans freak out online, especially the ones that are on our website, because those are the ones that are so ... every single day posting stuff and contributing, and that's not a way you want to pay back your fans, especially around Christmastime.
MTV: You guys said in your statement that their decision to leave didn't really shock you. So I'm interested ... when did you start having conversations with [the Farros] when they said they wanted to leave?
Williams: We didn't really have any conversations about it before they told us, "We've decided this." At least, I didn't have that conversation with them. I was not shocked that they wanted to leave, but kind of was surprised at how they were telling us, more or less. The way it was so far in advance to when they would actually be done. We've noticed they weren't happy, and that sucks. It sucks to be in a family or in a marriage where you see someone that's either hurting or just not having fun ... I don't know, it sucked. I shouldn't say we weren't shocked, because it's always going to be a shock, it's always gonna suck, but I guess we felt it coming for a long time.
MTV: Having seen you guys for a couple of years and watching how you react, both on-camera and off, it's very easy to look at every interview we've done with the five of you guys ... the way they sort of were in interviews, Josh in particular. So, like you said before, I think people can sort of notice things that maybe weren't there and was there ... I'm just kind of curious, when you said this didn't really surprise you, that you felt it coming, was there a moment where they said, "This is it?" ... Was it when Brand New Eyes came out? One of the tours for it?
Davis: It wasn't very long ago. It's not like we've known forever. I mean, it was literally a couple of months before it all happened. It was all still new to us as well. But, we could tell. ... The thing is, even in posts and stuff, kids talk about them not being happy, and it shows. ... When you're not happy, it shows. And it was just really good for us to finally, that's why that blog post really hit us hard, because we were going through all this, and we wanted to get it out to our fans, and our fans had found all that, and everyone started freaking out about it. So we had known for a couple months, but just didn't know when to post it, and then that blog ended up screwing it all up. So it makes everything really difficult.
MTV: I know the schematics are a pain to go through again, but you said [for] a couple of months, you knew they were going to leave. Was it difficult then to carry on and sort of pretend — red carpets — that everything was cool?
York: Absolutely. We always talk about how our band is like a marriage, and it's really hard to move forward as a group when there are people that aren't into it. They're not excited, they don't want to be there. So to know it to that level that they didn't want to be there was really tough. And knowing what was happening, and even in interviews being positive when maybe we didn't feel positive, it was really hard. I think, in a way, it was kind of special because we knew when our last show was, and we were able to prepare, and I think that was cool. It was cool for us to know, but it was very difficult.
MTV: Last night I watched a lot of that footage from the show in Orlando, my hometown, but it didn't look like it was a dire thing. Everyone seemed, onstage at least, to be having a good time.
Davis: That was the goal, really. To make sure everyone had a blast, and remembered, even if they weren't happy at the time, we all enjoy and love playing together and all that stuff, and we wanted to make a celebration out of our last performance.
Williams: And that's another reason we didn't announce it sooner: We didn't want fans to feel like they were coming to a funeral. Like, "Well, this is their last show, so I'm gonna go and mourn for an hour and a half." That wouldn't be fun for anybody, and it wouldn't be fun for us. I think the way we did it was the right way for us, with our fans and the relationship we have with them. We put a lot on the line, and we tell our fans pretty much everything, but this was something that, it was like, we wanted to wait until the end of the year and we're done because we want to enjoy every second that we can.
MTV: What happened after the show?
Williams: It was really anti-climactic, honestly. I think I expected it to either end in tears or be a big celebration kind of party thing. And it was neither of those. It was just, you know, you walk offstage, I went and warmed down, the guys went and put their stuff away, and that was it. We went back to the hotel and got ready to come home.
MTV: And I know that in their statement, they sort of left it nebulous, [and now] Zac sort of has this new project. Did they say what they were going to do next? Did they want to keep doing music, just different music?
Davis: They pretty much said their heart wasn't in it anymore, and you know what? Good for them. I would rather them go and be where they're supposed to be, where they can be happy all the time. I think that's what I would want anyone to do. But as much time as we spent, how much good things we've had together and worked together and everything, it's been good. I'd rather see them be happy somewhere, you know?
MTV: Taking all that and segueing into their statement, I'm assuming this caught you by surprise, and probably was sort of hurtful. Where did you first read about it, hear about it? What was your initial reaction?
Williams: I think I heard it from — I don't know who I heard [from] ... probably one of these guys. 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. I mean, 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. And if they don't want to be in the band, then that's a simple answer. But then when it really became about all these other things that 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. We've loved every second that we've spent onstage, all the meet and greets, the things we've gotten to do with our fans; that's the stuff we've built, we've worked really hard for, and I don't think anyone should discredit it.
MTV: Taylor, how did you take it because you've known [the Farros] for a long time. Just judging on dynamics, you were sort of the link between you two and them. So how did you take it?
York: It was a drag. I mean, like I said earlier, we were expecting a statement from them, so once we released our statement, we all knew they would probably release something. So I think we were all kind of bracing ourselves. Breakups are hard, and there's a lot of feelings, so we kind of, I think in a way we expected there to be something weird, and, 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. But, we're working through it, and it is what it is, and you can't really let it get to you, because, I don't know, it's life.
Davis: It was pretty confusing because the way it was expressed to us from them was they weren't happy and they wanted to move on and do something else. And there was this peace between us. And then reading [their statement] was totally something different. And, like Hayley said, ... it was hard reading it, because the whole time, I was thinking about all our fans we worked so hard for, and all the confusion and that stuff. And it's all a bunch of silliness. And, you know what? If they don't want to be here and do the band stuff, then good luck with whatever they want to do, but they decided to leave and they weren't happy so I can't really say anything other than that.
MTV: Those are very diplomatic responses. I'm assuming, had we caught you on the day when this first happened, it might have been different.
Williams: Well yeah, I don't really know what you're talking about [laughing]. I don't get angry. Yeah, of course you feel every single type of emotion possible when something like that happens with someone that either was or is very close to you, you just feel everything all at once. I've never felt so just. ... I couldn't even figure out how I felt. But after realizing, like Taylor said, that it just 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: Obviously, part of the reason we're here is to talk about what's next, but I would be remiss if we don't go through this statement, and again, if there's things you don't want to talk about ...
Williams: It's fine.
MTV: We printed out copies and underlined several things. The strangest part of this thing is that they signed off by saying, "The intention of this statement is not to belittle or disgrace the band. We are still hoping to work out a friendly way to leave our part of Paramore and the band, including Hayley." ... All it does is belittle the band. Secondly, have they met up with you? Have you spoken to them since the statement?
Williams: No, we haven't talked. I don't even know what would be said, you know? I think I'm trying so hard to focus on the future, and they kind of opted out of that, so I'm happy here. I don't know if there's anything to be said.
MTV: Fair enough. So we'll just go through these [points]. First and foremost is [to Hayley], you're the one that sort of bears the brunt of it.
Williams: I know.
MTV: [But] there are parts where each of you [are mentioned]. First of all, can you talk about when this band first started, and just talk about your parents and managers, and [their claim] this was a solo band. How much of that [is true]? Because over the years people have said that Hayley is the only person in the band signed to Atlantic. Is that true?
Williams: Yeah, well, 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. Since I can remember, being 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, you know? 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 and stated. We've always been honest about it. I've talked on LiveJournal to fans about the history of Paramore, the story of our band, tried to make it a more personal thing, where it's not just hearsay and all this stuff that fans have to thumb through online. 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.
MTV: And it's interesting to bring up the point, 'cause there's obviously money, but when we were here a year ago, you [to Taylor] were talking about buying a house or something and you were 19 years old, so technically everyone is doing OK in this setup. But the question is: If we were to somehow to go to the Atlantic offices, pull out the contract, whose name is on the contract?
Williams: You would see my name. And the reason that it's like that is because I was offered one. But it just sucks so bad that fans would have to focus on that, even for a second. Because this has never been about me. I've hated anybody or anything that has ever made this about me. That's why I've worn shirts that say "Paramore is a band," time and time again; that's why we've written the songs we have; that's why you see the name "Paramore" on our album covers.
York: That's why the three of us are here talking to you.
Davis: And even if you go to the label, you'd technically have to pull out that [contract] to see [Hayley's name on it], because otherwise, it's Paramore stuff all over the walls, with all of us on it. And that's how it's been this entire time: We've all been fighting for the same thing. And with the fans, all the same way, so it's silly to think that.
MTV: There's a paragraph here that talks about going to L.A. for a showcase and basically your manager was like, "Be in the lobby at this time!" and then you guys didn't show up.
Williams: I didn't hear this part. Huh? Wait. What would happen?
MTV: [Reading from the Farros' statement] "We traveled to L.A. a few weeks ago for a showcase and it was a nightmare. Hayley's manager would tell the band to be in the lobby of the hotel at a certain time but he and Hayley wouldn't show for hours. We found out that they had been meeting with record label executives all morning without us, which was totally weird because this wasn't simply a solo artist, but a band. The band was in the dark the whole time."
Williams: Oh my. OK, so first of all, that wasn't my manager.
Davis: And even if it was in the beginning, but we've been touring for, how long now?
Williams: But that's the part of the story that could be so easily be misconstrued, because, as I said, I was offered a contract, and my whole mission as a 14-year-old person who was being courted by these people was to turn them away from me and let them see what we were doing as a band. There's been a lot of people who have tried to use us — in the beginning — for their own good, and we've been lucky enough to get out of that each and every time and make it once again about us so I didn't even know that part was in there, and I think that's so irrelevant, because I barely even remember that.
Davis: And, by the way, Hayley being two hours late is usually around correct anyway.
MTV: Every time we would talk while you were writing this record, time and time again you would say, "Josh wrote this amazing guitar part, and I wrote these lyrics," so it wasn't just you like, "I did this!"
Williams: I couldn't do that with a straight face. I can't. First of all, I can't take myself seriously at all, in the least. But yeah, it's just embarrassing when people brag about themselves. I definitely can't be that kind of person. I don't know, I just can't.
MTV: The second part [of the statement] is the idea of signing to the label, and these various machinations of "You're signed to Atlantic, but you're Fueled by Ramen." A lot of these things have been covered in the past. We wrote articles three years ago about 360 deals, stuff like that. But it all sort of culminates in this statement. "In reality, something that started off as natural, somehow morphed into a manufactured product of a major label, riding the coattails of Hayley's dreams." So how does it feel? Honestly, this is a band that is on Atlantic records, so it is a major-label rock band. About this record, we wrote that it was the best major-label rock record of 2009. So what is your reaction to this thing, "it is a manufactured product of a major label"?
Williams: Well, I don't get how it could've started natural if we were ... if it was all about me anyway, it wouldn't have started natural if it was all about me anyway. ... But we're not a manufactured band. We've dealt with that rumor for a long time, and that's because of the rumors of FBR and Atlantic's relationship. We've always talked about that, and I think it was a few months ago, right after the Honda Civic Tour, that I addressed this exact topic on our LiveJournal, saying, "When we started, I again fought that this would be a band thing, and I fought for something that we could really work hard and start from the ground." 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 work for whatever they're 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, but we got very lucky that Fueled By Ramen and Atlantic were already working with other bands together, before we ever signed. So, our first record was not on Atlantic, it was on Fueled by Ramen, and then when we started to pick up interest, Atlantic began once again to be interested in us.
MTV: And there are mentions of dating and ...
Williams: [laughing] What? I never dated anyone!
MTV: Did you not read this statement? The interesting part was when we first started to meet you and interview you was when Brand New Eyes was being made, and the thing you said time and time again was, "This is the record that sort of saved the band, to the brink and back, we really fought each other to make this record." And the [Farros'] statement is basically, "Hayley claimed that this reunited us as a band and made us grow closer when in reality, we were all growing further apart." So there are obviously two different viewpoints.
Davis: If he can speak for the half of us, that's not really fair either.
York: I think, in all fairness, I think we, at the time, we all did believe that's what it was, absolutely. We had the best time of our band's career when we were making that record, and things change. I think we all believed that, and we were wrong. And that's just how life is: We made a statement that we believed in, and it didn't turn out the way we thought it would.
MTV: We've said several times that Brand New Eyes is a great record. At the time, the record was about addressing "nameless naysayers and faceless detractors," "the people at large." Going back and listening to it [now], there are an alarming number of songs that can specifically be interpreted as being about Josh Farro. "Careful," "Ignorance," "Playing God," maybe "Misguided Ghosts." Were you essentially then writing about this conflict that he talked about in his statement? Were you writing songs about the conflict between you two?
Williams: I would say that a large majority of those songs, yes, have to do with the relationship that we had, and then we had to mend. And it was really hard, because we were all friends, and then going through a breakup, and going through any kind of tension as a band, really affected all the lyrics, even if they weren't about just Josh and I or just me and Taylor. Everything we were going through had an overall effect on the tone of what I was saying, but there are a lot of specifics that I pulled from my experience with just feeling like my face was underneath a boot all the time. I think that the point of the album was never to point out those things, but hopefully to encourage people that feel that way. Because I felt so alone in that fight that I would never want, especially another young woman, to feel that way, because I know there are a lot of girls I've talked to, fans, go through the same thing in relationships and families, and it just sucks to feel kind of victimized in a way that you don't want to feel petty, so every level of it really sucks.
MTV: It only adds a new level to the record. There's a lot of things in here. They mention in their statement that there's a lyric in "Careful": "The truth never set me free so I did it myself," which they sort of see as you [denouncing] a Bible scripture. Can you talk about that lyric in particular, because it's gotten a lot of attention?
York: Well, I'll talk about that. When Hayley first came to us with those lyrics, we had a massive talk about it, because they voiced their concern. And the first thing Hayley said was, "Well, I get that, but honestly my intention is for it to say, 'Your truth really set me free.' I just didn't change it, but that's what I really mean." She wasn't saying "truth" as in what we believe in: She was saying "truth" as in what other people want you to believe, what they see as truth. It was never about what they are saying it's about. It's about other people forcing their beliefs on you, and if you don't meet their requirements, then you're doing a bad job. So, that was really misconstrued.
MTV: But there are other mentions here. There's, in "Ignorance," "It's not a war. No, it's not a Rapture." A biblical reference, "Playing God," a lot of that in there. Did you guys have a disagreement in faith? 'Cause they mentioned faith — God a lot — with their reasoning to [leave the band]. Was that part of your disagreement, issues of faith? Because they also mentioned that you two in particular [to Williams and Davis] started making choices that they disagree with.
Davis: All right!
Williams: Right on! [laughs] I was surprised, honestly. I mean, yeah, we've had discussions about it, and it's not like I never knew that they thought I believed something different. But I was surprised by the extent of it, because I so clearly believe in the same thing as I have since — oh, I don't know — since I made the decision to believe what I believe in. And the difference is, in what I'm learning, I think it's a great thing about faith is that each person is who they are and you can't change that no matter what you try to do. You are who you are, and faith can be yours, you know? I'm not saying that it adapts so you make your own rules the whole time, but I believe in what I believe in so strongly, but it might not look like what someone else believes in. Just because I'm a Christian doesn't mean that I have to pray at the same time as someone else every day.
MTV: You live with your faith, and your faith lives within you. It's this thing where it's malleable and such, but were there arguments about faith?
Williams: I don't really remember.
Davis: Most of our record was about friendship, and I felt like that's kind of a weird line where people ... where it can be thought of as a faith thing. It all was a friendship thing. All of us started out really young and started growing up, and you go through a lot of changes, and being on the road and away from the family and [the band] is your new family. It all gets really tough. And when anybody changes, it's hard to really look [at it]. I'm changing, it's like, "Is that a bad thing? Is that a good thing?" That is what the record's about. That's how we came up with the title. You have to look at your friends with a brand new set of eyes.
Williams: Yeah, and the references I would say to spiritual warfare and anything spiritual at all are probably just because it is a big part of me, so for me to talk about something metaphorically or use an analogy, it's very easy for me to use faith 'cause, to me, it's so applicable to almost every single thing that I go through in my life. For me to say, "It's not a war, it's not a Rapture" is like saying, "It's not the end of the world. It's not everyone being wiped off the face of the earth and all these insane things happening. This is just life."
MTV: Right, there are no horsemen. But you mentioned growing up and changing, and it must be very difficult for you in particular to have to answer for decisions that you made when you were 13 or 14 years old. And it's the thing that has always been with this band in a way. Would you agree with that?
Williams: Yeah. I definitely wouldn't want any 14-year-old to be held accountable at 22 years old for whatever decisions they made. But I think that, first of all, I had a great family that looked out for me, and I think that I had a good head on my shoulders because of them and because of the friends that I had to help me make good decisions, 'cause I don't think I can see one thing that's gone wrong since I was 14. It's been a breeze, and it's been so much fun, and yeah, there's hard times, but I think I'd be going through that if I worked at Burger King. No matter what, if I was in college. The difference is people wouldn't be looking at it or care about any blogs I posted about it.
MTV: It's interesting that we are in this basement where you guys shot the "Playing God" video. At the time — you talked about in an interview — about [the video] closing the book on Brand New Eyes. When you made this video, had the Farros told you they were going to leave? And was that odd to make the video then?
Williams: It didn't feel like any other video shoot. Well, it did and it didn't. It didn't feel any different in the sense that the friendships that were the weakest were still the weakest. We got along the same way. But ... it felt way too similar to the things that were going on. It was definitely creepy. But I had a lot of fun on it. I definitely think that it was personal in a way that it was so easy to relate to that we just didn't feel like working at all.
MTV: About moving forward, Taylor, you in particular, we've talked off-camera, and you've always said, "Oh, this awards show. I don't really do awards shows. I'm not really an awards-show type of guy." You're kind of like an "indie" guy. You're someone who shares a faith with the Farros and also has known them for a long time, so, why did you then decide to stick around?
York: I think, in all fairness to the Farros, they started at a really young age too, we all did, and I think there's always been times where all of us might have a bad day and been like, "I don't want to be in this band." So, of course, I've had those days. But today, I still love what I'm doing, and I think it was hard for me because, yeah, they're really dear to me, and so it was weird watching them go. But I still want to do this, and I couldn't let their decisions affect my heart and my passions. And the fact that the three of us still want to do this and make music, who knows if the three of us will ever get this chance again, so we're going to take advantage of it.
MTV: The tour starts shows in February. Are you going to be playing leads now? Has this been discussed?
York: I think. Yeah, there's been a lot of talk of that, about like, yeah, I'm really playing drums and guitar [laughing]. Everyone's like, "You're taking Josh's spot," and, in a way, this is also a business, and I think when any business downsizes, you don't just take over someone's title: Everyone's title changes to fit the mold. So there are some things that I am going to have to do that Josh did, some parts, but at the same time, I have no intentions of being the new Josh, taking over his parts. That's not really what I want to do. So, yeah, I'll be doing some lead stuff, but I love what I get to do, and I still intend on doing that.
MTV: Jeremy, obviously you've been with the band for a long time. Was there any doubt ever whether you were going to continue on with this?
Davis: No, there was no question about it. I've quit jobs before, and I'm like, "Hey man, I'm out. Sorry, it's not my thing," and I'll leave, and I'll never hear from them again, because they want to continue their job. And this has been our heart and passion, and anyone can tell that. Our fans end up crashing websites because [they're] so hardcore, and it's been every bit of our passion to have those fans and keep those fans and work for those fans, and make 'em feel like family anytime — whether we're getting off a plane and it's been 23 hours and no sleep, no matter what the time is — they've been our passion and our heart. So, no, it's never been close to an option for me. It really sucks because I feel like our family on the road, it really sucks to lose a part [of it], or feel like you're losing a part. Like I said in the beginning, I'd rather they be happy somewhere else. That's gonna make everyone else happy. And, you know what? If they're happier somewhere else, we might be happier this way. Who knows? So we'll see. Things change, and you kinda gotta just go with it.
MTV: You have a couple of months until the shows, so I'm assuming you're going to have to start auditioning people. How do you plan on filling two positions?
Williams: We have fill-ins for the South American tour. We're going to have Justin York, Taylor's brother, who has filled in with us before and is also in Relient K, which is very exciting for him. So he's going to help us out on guitar, and they're gonna work out who does leads, not leads. And Josh Freese on the drums. No big deal at all, just one of our favorite drummers.
York: But, to clarify, this is for one tour, so ...
MTV: [laughing] Josh Freese is not joining Paramore?
York: No. We haven't even started tackling what it's going to look like with new members. We have one more tour planned, and so we already know how we're going to get through it, and then we'll tackle what's next.
MTV: How will it feel to take the stage with these "hired guns," as they call it? A different band? Will you miss something?
Williams: I really am going to miss Zac a whole lot. Zac is one of my favorite drummers in the world, and he has been since he was 13 years old. That's really going to suck. But I don't want him to ever not be happy. And ... if he stayed, and for me to turn around and not see him happy, that would suck worse than not seeing him at all. I think that will be the hardest part to get used to. I mean, yes, Josh Freese, incredible drummer. I think he's the best guy we could've gotten to come do this tour with us, but no one will ever replace Zac in my heart. Zac is one of my favorite people. And you know what? Yeah, it will suck, but I think that now that we are so unified that the three of us know exactly what we're doing, we want to be here so bad, and I think that's going to feel really good, to know that we're not dragging anyone around, we're not making anyone do anything they don't want to do, that's going to be exciting. And I guess I don't have any regrets about it. I just feel like, "Let's just start this new chapter already," because it can only be great. We're not going to let ourselves not be great. We're gonna make it good.
MTV: On [Twitter] there's a lot about Yahtzee playing, but there's also one tweet about a new demo that Taylor wrote? So is this the first demo that you have brought to these two?
York: Yeah. We're just getting started and putting out our feelers. This is the very beginning, and so we wanted to get it started, and so that's the first thing.
Williams: It's good. He's too humble to say it's good, but I'll say it for him: It's awesome. I'm really excited. Me and Taylor have written together since we were kids, so I guess I still feel like a kid right now. But since we were little kids and I have no doubt in my mind, he's a great writer, and I'm excited.
MTV: You did an interview saying you were gonna take some time off and work on a record. Is there any way we're going to see a Paramore record [in 2011]? Do you think that's even in the realm of possibility?
Williams: We will definitely release songs next year. Who knows if a full album will come out of it, but obviously we'd love that. It would be fun. We definitely want to put stuff out for our fans to party with us, but who knows when that will be? Hopefully, sooner rather than later.
MTV: If you look at any [Paramore] stories [on MTVNews.com], [the comments] are two-thirds [in favor of] you guys. But there's definitely one-third who are fans of Josh, fans of Zac, and are maybe afraid that this band will be different or they've maybe just given up on the band. For the ones who are afraid of "What does this mean for the band?" "I really like the stuff that Josh wrote," what can you say to them?
York: Well, the thing is: We're going to be different. We lost two really big parts of this band, so it's going to be different. But we're still Paramore. We've all written together before, so it's not like we're losing our style. We're not going to become an R&B-soul-funk band ... We're more excited than ever, and we're not going to put out something that's not good. Next year, when we say we're taking time off, it means we're writing until we have something that's great. And we're not going to stop until it's great. So yeah, things are gonna be different. I think it's kinda cool to see. It's gonna be good. I don't think it's a negative thing. But of course, Josh and Zac were a really big part of the band, so people are going to miss them and it's natural. But, we're here now, and here we go.
MTV: [The split with the Farros] is done now, the year's over, but what did each of you guys take from this experience and how do you view Josh and Zac?
Williams: I'm trying not to view anyone at all, except for people that are close to me, because if you listen to one opinion that's out there, then you listen to all of them. I guess I'm just learning that you can't prove to anyone who you are, you just have to be it. You can't make someone think anything about you, because they're just going to think what they want. I guess we're just going to do it really right this time ... it's going to be fun to kind of just not have to think about what someone's thinking about me. I know that, for me personally, I'm just gonna feel — and I don't even mean this in a negative way to Josh and Zac — but I'm definitely starting to feel a lot more free about myself, and I think maybe that's just me growing up. But the people I have around me, Taylor and Jeremy, I feel very supported and loved as a person, and that's a rare thing in this world.
Davis: What did I take from this whole thing? I don't know. I know that Taylor was saying that growing up we learn a lot, and I definitely learned that I'm gonna be the person that I'm gonna be, no matter what anyone else thinks. I'm just really glad to see that almost all of our fans [stuck] with us, and they see the fact that we're here saying that, "Listen, we're still here for you guys," and they're 10 times as supportive back. I'm just glad that they feel [that way], 'cause I was really worried about all our fans and stuff. We spent so much time working on growing, like being friends with them and talking with them online and making sure everything we do is for them, even in writing records: "Let's have parts where they can sing back! Interact with the crowd!" It's always been about that, and I feel like our fans are, since they're growing up with us, not all are the same age, but I feel like they're learning with us. And it's really cool to feel that. And honestly, all their support has been good too because we've been a group for so long, so it's a lot on our minds as well, so it's been really good to have the support from them all. And yeah, you gotta move forward. I'm excited about it. It could be something great. I know that it's gonna be so nice with all of us just being the way we are together and everything. It's just so good — very positive.
York: I think in life there are always trying experiences, and this is one that I think has really challenged all of us to grow up a lot. It's been really testing handling the situation with as much respect as we can, and trying to dignify people and not slander anyone. We've grown up a lot through this, and every time you go through something like this, you have the option to just act out of emotion, and do things you might regret, or you can try to do honestly the right thing, and I think that's what we've been trying to do. And so, I don't know, just things change and we've been doing our best to do handle it well, to finish this season well. And yeah, we're excited, and I think we've just learned a lot about relationships and communication, so we're going to do things a lot different now, and we're all just incredibly excited for the future.
MTV: You mentioned "doing things different this time." Is that in terms of communication? Writing? How will you do things differently? What did you mean by that?
York: Obviously we're humans, so we're not perfect ... we mess up. So I think the best way to move forward is to look at your mistakes and your victories and learn from them. Avoid things and focus on other things. We've had problems with communication, and that's honestly the biggest thing. Even a lot of this ... a lot of things have been misconstrued, things we haven't ever talked about, things we're kind of hearing for the first time or that we assumed but are actually seeing it in writing or something. But communication is huge, and even things with songwriting and pretty much everything, I think we're just trying things that we've never tried, things we never have the freedom [to try], just things we've never talked about. I think that's gonna effect a lot of different areas.
MTV: Going forward, there has to be some part of you that wants to prove these people [wrong] — to prove Josh and Zac wrong, that you want to make something that is lasting and powerful, and [have] the final word on it. Is there a part of you inside that wants to do that: to prove these people who jumped off the ship, who've written the band off, wrong?
Williams: I think if there wasn't any part of us that wanted to react, then we would be perfect, and that would suck, quite frankly. You want to react, you want to say things back, and counter every point that's made, but what's the point? What's the purpose of that? It's just gonna never stop. It would never end if we dealt with it that way, and to me, that would be so unfair to our online community we've built and our fans have built. We're not trying to create some drama for everyone to talk about, because that takes the focus away from what it should be, which is our music and something positive we're building and still want to build onto. I mean, yeah, I would love to just throw punches and be pissed and angry and say things that I would just regret five minutes later.
MTV: Perhaps the final word will be whatever you guys make [next]. The ultimate triumph, the ultimate vindication, is making another record that is killer, you know?
Williams: Well, first, making a record at all would be a triumph. I think that's a triumph any time a band gets to make another album. I was surprised we made it to three albums, and I was stoked. But yeah, it being a great record will be our way of sort of saying, "No one can take this away from us, no matter what."