Ever since they first stepped into the spotlight, Paramore have faced accusations that they are some sort of pre-fabricated band built up around singer Hayley Williams. That idea has reared its head again with the departure of brothers and band members Josh and Zac Farro. In his now-infamous “exit statement,” Josh referred to the band as “a manufactured product of a major label” and accused both Williams and the band’s management of keeping the rest of the members in the dark while they made business decisions. When MTV News’ James Montgomery sat down with Williams and still-in-the-band members Jeremy Davis and Taylor York, they took the opportunity to once again address the idea of whether or not Paramore are a “real” band.
From the outside looking in, Paramore have always seemed like a band. They seemed to work well together, hung out when they weren’t working and had an impressive on-stage chemistry. And it seems like Williams is serious about carrying on as a band.
But even if Paramore was a manufactured group put together in a lab and pre-fabricated by a team of marketing geniuses, would it really matter? Music history is littered with bands who didn’t get together in a garage and advance “organically.” Most pop acts are put together by producers or record executives but still manage to move crowds. The Backstreet Boys were still meaningful (and continue to be so) to millions of people around the world even though they were a construction. Does it make their songs any less good knowing that the guys didn’t first get together in a basement to grind out Green Day covers first?
Back in the ’90s, there were no blogs, but if there were, most of their bandwidth would probably be taken up with arguments over band authenticity. At the height of the grunge era, fans and journalists suddenly became super-concerned with every group’s “realness.” Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder both wrote from painfully honest places, and that was considered the only standard by which anybody could create music. That’s what lead to bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Candlebox getting dismissed as lesser groups because they were from the wrong cities. It’s an ethos left over from hard line punks that doesn’t really make any sense now, if it ever did.
But even the question of whether or not that’s a reasonable argument is sort of irrelevant. In the end, a good pop song will transcend any sort of biographical claptrap, whether it comes from Mariah Carey, Linkin Park, Taylor Swift or, yes, even Paramore. The internal strife within the band may have been too much for the Farro brothers to take, but for people on the outside, as long as Hayley Williams is singing the songs, everything should be OK.
We want to hear from you. Do you consider Paramore a “legitimate” band? And does that question even matter? Got anything else you’d like the world to know about Paramore? Send us your video response at Your.MTV.com. Your video could be featured on “Paramore: The Last Word,” live streaming this Friday at 4 p.m. on MTV.com!
MTV News will be unveiling our exclusive interview with Paramore on Friday at 4 p.m. ET with “Paramore: The Last Word,” 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.