Paramore Overcome Insecurity, Self-Doubt After Nearly Breaking Up
By Jon Wiederhorn
For almost 10 years, the members of Franklin, Tennessee band Paramore have been taking steady strides towards commercial superstardom. Their second album, 2007's pop-punk Riot, went platinum; and their third record, 2009's more emo-pop Brand New Eyes, debuted at No. 2 in the U.S., selling 175,000 copies in its first week and eventually going gold.
But nothing could have prepared the band for the reaction they've received from their fourth album, the eclectic, poppy and new wave-inspired Paramore. The disc came out April 5, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, and things have just gone uphill from there. The album's second single, the peppy, infectious "Still Into You," refuses to release its grip on the masses; a video for the song has amassed nearly 25 million views. Paramore performed the song on the Teen Choice Awards on August 11, and won Best Rock Group at the event, beating the Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, and others.
"I don’t think anyone of us anticipated 'Still Into You' lasting this long and taking on this new life," vocalist Hayley Williams told Yahoo! Music. "It was on the radio, and then we played the Teen Choice Awards, and now we're just getting so much more love for that song that we have to keep pushing it, which is great."
Currently, there's no end in sight to Paramore's pop reign. In mid-October the band will launch its first U.S. arena headline tour with Metric and Hellogoodbye in support. Dates include New York's Madison Square Garden, which, like many musicians, Williams has always dreamed of playing.
"The idea of having a concert at Madison Square Garden feels totally surreal," she said. "But at the same time, I'm sort of like, 'It’s time, y’know? We've been touring for eight years, we've been a band for almost a decade. And if we're ever gonna do it we need to do it now. I have every bit of faith our fans are going to fill that place up. I just know it. We have crazy fans in the Northeast, especially New York City."
Paramore's commercial dominance is especially impressive considering the slap in the face they took two years ago when founding guitarist and songwriter Josh Farro and his brother, drummer Zac Farro, left the band. The departure erupted in a storm of controversy when Josh posted online that Paramore was a "manufactured product of a major label." He also claimed that Williams was the only band member signed to Atlantic Records, and that the other musicians were "riding on the coattails of her dream."
The betrayal stung Williams deeply since she had always considered Paramore a tight-knit band, and at first she considered breaking up the group.
"There were days early on when all the drama was still hot on the press and fresh," she explained. "You could still smell it and it was so disgusting. I hated it. I really, really didn't like being in the middle of something I never thought would happen to Paramore. It was bad enough losing band members, but then to see it play out in this very dramatic soap opera for everyone to read about was so gross and really petty. And it made us look like we were a part of it, which we weren't! We didn't want any part of it. It really shook up the rest of the band as well. It took [guitarist] Taylor [York], [bassist] Jeremy [Davis] and I a while to regroup."