It took Paramore's guitarist and drummer Josh and Zac Farro 1,442 words to explain their reasons for leaving the band they founded in 2004, and they paint a dramatically different picture than the one remaining members Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York put out to the world three days earlier.
The official Paramore announcement read, in part: "For the last year it hasn't seemed as if they wanted to be around anymore. We want Josh and Zac to do something that makes them happy and if that isn't here with us, then we support them finding happiness elsewhere... What truly matters are the good times. The pictures of us with our arms around each other, the long van rides..."
But according to a blog post published Tuesday, attributed to the brothers and apparently written by Josh, how Paramore came to be and the lengths to which the label and management kept its members in the dark was simply unbearable. Among the allegations laid out in this missive: That it was Williams alone who was actually signed to Atlantic, while her bandmates were hired guns and an afterthought, ignored and pushed aside despite playing a key role in writing the songs.
"The band was in the dark the whole time," reads the post. "After many meetings between Hayley, her manager and the labels they decided to sign her to Atlantic records. We didn’t understand why Hayley was the only one signing the contract since we were told this was a 'band', but we were too young to grasp all of this. So far, Zac and I haven’t signed with another label, although I guess our part of Paramore sure could. Next thing we knew we were having a signing party for Hayley."
An Atlantic Records rep for Paramore says, "We have no further comment other than the announcement that has been posted to paramore.net." Meanwhile, a blog apparently belonging to Farro's wife Jenna reposts the link to the guitarist's statement, and a follow-up post published Wednesday reads, "I assure you that my blog and joshs [sic] blog are real. I'm not sure how I'd prove that? Clearly my blog is real by reading my stories and personal photos that are posted. So, why would I post a fake link to Josh's blog?"
"Paramore is continuing on and maybe someday the Farro's will have more music too," the post continues. "Everyone is happier this way and that's the bottom line."
Band tensions hit a fever pitch just before work started on 2009's Brand New Eyes, which, ironically but not atypically, has spawned the band's biggest single, "The Only Exception," recently nominated for a Grammy Award for best pop vocal performance by a duo or group. In fact, it was at the nominations ceremony in December that Williams herself alluded to strife within Paramore's ranks, telling reporters, "Our band's been through some rough patches ... We could have thrown in the towel any day but we're still here."
Or are they? Many reacted to the Farros' exit as a sign the band was headed for a break-up, and if you believe half of what's laid out in the Blogspot manifesto (not to mention her recent guest spot on B.o.B.'s "Airplanes"), Williams is well on her way to a solo career.
You can read the original Paramore statement here and check out the full "Farro" text after the jump. Then let us know what you think: Is this a hoax instigated by a vindictive fan or just a classic example of a bitter end?
-- Additional reporting by Monica Herrera at Billboard
Josh and Zac's Exit Statement
Let me start by apologizing to you for the way everything went down on Saturday. I had a statement typed ready to post to you guys but Hayley released one without my permission. We were not going to issue a statement until we worked out our exit agreement with Hayley. I wish it didn’t have to happen that way, Zac and I wanted to be the ones you heard it from. I want to be honest with you guys about how this band formulated from day one. I did not think Hayley’s version told the whole story, at least from our perspective and hopefully this will explain a bit about why we are leaving.
Zac and I had a garage band in high school with the intentions of just making music for the love of it. We met Taylor and our friend Jason Clark at our school and found out that we shared the same musical tastes. So, we asked them to join our band. It was some of the greatest times of our lives playing music in Taylor’s basement with them. We obviously needed a lead singer and one day Zac met Hayley. We asked her to come try out and eventually to join the band.
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.
We travelled to LA a few weeks later 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 is totally weird given that this wasn’t simply a solo artist, but we were a band. The band was in the dark the whole time. After many meetings between Hayley, her manager and the labels they decided to sign her to Atlantic records. We didn’t understand why Hayley was the only one signing the contract since we were told this was a “band”, but we were too young to grasp all of this. So far, Zac and I haven’t signed with another label, although I guess our part of Paramore sure could. Next thing we knew we were having a signing party for Hayley.
Our next move was to rerecord her solo demos with our own music rather than studio musicians to make it sound more genuine. Meanwhile, we tossed around band names. I wrote out a list of names, including “Paramore”, a name my old band with Taylor and Jason Clark had thought about using. Obviously, we settled on that name. The label received the rerecorded demos and once again tried to fire the entire band, saying we were terrible. Thankfully Hayley and I had been writing some new songs together (Hallelujah, Here We Go Again) that the label was pleased with so that acted as leverage for the band to stay. The label and management then decided to build our band up the grass-roots route. They put Hayley on Fueled by Ramen not making it known she was signed to Atlantic as well. All the while we still questioned whether or not we were an actual band, but Hayley continued to insist we were, despite our being ignored and pushed around by the label.
They then sent us all to Orlando to rehearse and write eight hours a day for our first record. Half -way though this process, Jeremy decided to quit. We were all really upset about it. So we finished the record, replaced Jeremy, and hit the road with Hayley’s father as our tour manager/driver of a twelve-passenger van. 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. We’ve always been treated as less important than Hayley. It’s been obvious how her family views things.
Jeremy ended up rejoining and we toured non-stop for two and half years building our fan base, pretending to be a band that started naturally. In reality, what started as natural somehow morphed into a manufactured product of a major label, riding on the coattails of “Hayley’s dream.”
Before recording our next record, we kicked out Jeremy for his lack of work ethic and participation in things that Zac, Hayley and I didn’t agree with. At this point it was just the three of us to record Riot. Once the record was done, we needed a bassist and another guitarist. Eventually Zac and I convinced Hayley to let Taylor rejoin and she convinced us to let Jeremy back in, promising he had changed his ways.
Once again we hit the road and toured on our biggest record as a band. As you all know Hayley and I dated and broke up during this album cycle. Things then started going downhill for our band. Hayley and Jeremy’s views started changing from what we all once believed in. The band almost split after cancelling a tour in Europe, but we managed to keep it together somehow. This is when Zac and I started to consider quitting the band.
Once we finished touring on Riot, we came home for a break and started writing for Brand New Eyes. Hayley presented lyrics to us that were really negative and we didn’t agree with. For example, “the truth never set me free”, which contradicts what the Bible says in John 8:32 (“and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall sat you free”). We fought her about how her lyrics misrepresented our band and what we stood for, but in the end she got her way. Instead of fighting her any longer, we decided to just roll over and let it go.
Hayley claimed that this record reunited us as band and made us grow closer together, when in reality we were all growing further apart. Suddenly the band had spilt into two sides. Touring became more difficult since we couldn’t agree on anything. The friendships our band once had were no longer existent. Amos 3:3 says, “Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction”. In addition to the band turmoil, touring had really taken its toll on us both. We left home at such a young age and missed taking part in normal teenage years. When you own part of a band and are constantly playing, you make sacrifices. Touring has taken its toll on our family members as well. I specifically remember many moments where our parents would break down in tears when we had to leave. It broke my heart. Seeing our siblings grow up so much during our absences was never easy either.
After a lot a prayer and counsel Zac and I came to the decision that it was time to leave the band. We truly feel that God is leading us elsewhere and is going to do great things with us. The intention of this statement was not to belittle or disgrace the rest of the band, it was simply to clarify our decision for leaving and our desire to finally tell you guys the truth. We are still hoping to work out a friendly way to leave our part of Paramore intact with the remaining band members, including Hayley.
We want to thank you guys for all of your love and support over the past 7 years. It’s been an honor creating and playing music for you. If music is what God calls us to in the future, we hope that you all will be a part of it.
All of the glory be to God,
Josh and Zac