January 5, 2011 | 10:46am
Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams is responding to a strongly worded letter penned by former members Josh and Zac Farro following their sudden exit from the band. As you may have heard, the siblings, who played guitar and drums respectively, published a scathing treatise describing their reasons for bailing. They cited Williams' controlling manager and family viewing the rest of the band as "hired guns," whose sole purpose was to support (rather than to collaborate with) her. Now, Williams and the remaining members of Paramore are telling their side of the story to MTV in a televised special called Paramore: The Last Word. Cool title. Sounds like Paramore is back, and this time, it's personal.
In a preview of the MTV special, Williams can be seen speaking in measured tones about her disappointed reaction upon first reading the letter. According to MTVNews.com, Williams will address the points brought up by the Farros, but she will ultimately dismiss them as "irrelevant." I agree with her 100 percent. Williams' manager could ditch the entire band except the fire-haired ingenue, and Paramore could conceivably continue on. No one in the group, except for the spunky little songstress with the gap-toothed smile, is beyond being replaced. Still, it would be nice for Williams, rather than following the direction of her publicity team, to admit she's a product manufactured by a record company--little more than a corporate shill. Of course, that would be a self-defeating prophecy, wouldn't it?
It doesn't matter if you take as fact what the Farros wrote in their letter--that Hayley was initially signed by major label Atlantic, then quietly corralled with the rest of the band onto a minor label to give the appearance of indie credibility. After witnessing Paramore's last performance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, the puzzle pieces fit. Sponsored by Honda Civic's 2010 hybrid model, New Found Glory, Tegan and Sara, and Paramore, like professional carnival barkers, loudly welcomed the throng to "the Honda Civic Tour" following each set's opening number.
In between performances, a massive screen ran B-roll of the car zipping through hairpin turns, along with Paramore's members mugging for the camera with the sexy hybrid as if taking a picture with a Disney character on Main Street USA. A web crawl ran along the bottom of the screen showing texts sent by audience members to their friends, ensuring all eyes were glued to the screen. Pamphlets handed out to the young audience included pithy explanations of how to obtain credit to buy a new hybrid. The sheer force of the commercial assault was overwhelming. Whatever side Paramore's fans take following MTV's special, Lord knows there are lots of them, and that's a large audience that needs to be kept for future marketing campaigns. There's just too much at stake.