As a 30-something guy, way outside of Paramore’s normal demographic, I feel a bit odd confessing that I’m a little bit devastated that Josh and Zac Farro have decided to quit the band. I’m sure plenty of you Paramore fans out there are feeling the same way right now – what effect will their departure have on the band? Will their sound change? Will their style of music change?
The situation with Paramore looks like it’s going from bad to worse. Contradicting the fairly benign, “we wish them well” announcement that the remaining members of the band posted recently, John Farro has posted an entirely different exit statement on a Blogger account. And sadly, it points the finger – if not squarely at frontwoman Hayley Williams – at her parents and managers.
As Farro tells it, Hayley’s parents and manager treated her like a solo act from day one, essentially treating the band as a backing act for her.
Months down the road things changed and this band became all about Hayley. She had a manager at the time that controlled her every move along with her parents. They didn’t like the idea of Hayley being in a rock band so they forced her to leave wanting her to pursue a solo career.
Hayley went off to write and record her solo demos while the four of us continued on without her. A couple of months later Hayley came and asked us if she could use the song “Conspiracy” that we had all previously written together. We agreed that that would be fine. I got a call a while after that from Hayley telling me that her manager said that Zac and I were invited to be back in the band (the band we started), but not Taylor and Jason because they weren’t good enough in his eyes. Hayley brought in Jeremy and our first rhythm guitarist Jason Bynum as the other two members.
It’s a sensational read, regardless where your Paramore loyalties lie. Farro claims that the other members of the band have been treated as secondary to Hayley.
Her dad would constantly threaten to “pull the plug” on the whole band if we complained about anything, suggesting that we were hired guns and Hayley was the real artist, when in reality we were also part of the band.
This is a difficult situation to take in – while Hayley has always been the focal point of the group, the Farro brothers have always been considered an integral part of Paramore’s sound. The temptation is to ask who we believe. Is it Hayley’s ‘everything is normal and we with Josh and Zac all the best’ approach, or is it Josh’s ‘the fans aren’t aware of what’s truly going on with Paramore’?
Some are suggesting that Farro’s post is sour grapes, others that it’s fake. It’s genuine though. Josh posted a video on YouTube to confirm that it’s his Blogger account.
It’s not the first time that a female frontwoman has taken the focus from the other members in the band. No Doubt’s Don’t Speak video is a fine example of this – Gwen Stefani being given all the glamour and attention, while casual fans would struggle to remember the names of the musicians. And don’t forget Amy Lee in Evanescence.
If the background story Farro is telling here is true, then I’m sure other fans of the band will be feeling swindled by big happy family image the band projected in the past. Is it really the Hayley Williams show? And if so, how do we feel about Hayley herself – was everything just a charade for the benefit of the fans?
At the moment, Paramore haven’t officially responded to the exit statement from the Farros. Whatever way they choose to acknowledge this, the situation could quickly turn messy. If the brothers have been suppressed during their time in Paramore, there’s little restraining them from telling their side of the story. That’s not a bad thing, but if it looks like they’re carrying a lot of resentment, it might hurt their musical ambitions in the future. That may not seem like a big deal right now, but these guys have a lot of goodwill from Paramore fans who might be supportive of their next musical project.
What’s your take on the Paramore split – are you taking sides, hoping they’ll patch it up, or just hoping that the next Paramore album won’t suck without Josh and Zac?