Before they were rockstars selling-out concert dates to thousands of screaming fans, they began as a garage band from Tennessee. Paramore is the premier pop punk band to rise to power in recent years, filling a gap left by Blink-182's many hiatuses. The group has become a huge success thanks to an accessible punk sound fronted by the sometimes fierce, sometimes melodic vocals of Hayley Williams. Paramore broke onto the mainstream music scene with their 2007 album, Riot!, which featured the hit single "Misery Business" and their concert dates are becoming a huge draw. With the announcement of a new album currently in the works, Paramore can currently be found on a number of concert dates, including tour dates on the 2011 Vans Warped Tour.
While the success of Paramore can be attributed to each and every member of the band, the group's formation revolves heavily around a thirteen year-old Hayley Williams. Williams moved to Franklin, Tennessee at the onset of her teen years, soon befriending schoolmates Josh and Zac Farro. She was soon signed to Atlantic Records as a solo pop artist. Williams refused and the label brought in the already formed Paramore, including the Josh Farro on lead guitar, Zac Farro on drums, Davis on bass, and Williams' neighbor Jason Bynum on play rhythm guitar.
Shortly before recording their debut album, Jeremy Davis left Paramore due to reasons that have never been fully revealed; however, he returned shortly after the release of the album. Distraught over the loss of their bassist, the remaining members of Paramore titled the album All We Know Is Falling after the incident. Shortly after the release of the album, Jason Bynum left the band and was replaced by Hunter Lamb, who would later be replaced by original rhythm guitarist Taylor York. While sales of their debut album weren't astronomical, it allowed Paramore to headline a number of sold-out concert dates.
Paramore's mainstream success came with the release of their second album, Riot!, in 2007. Riot! went platinum inside of a year as well as the hit single "Misery Business," with the album's other singles -- "Crushcrushcrush," "Hallelujah," and "That's What You Get" -- becoming successful on the radio and television. The success of the album provided the members of Paramore with plenty of concert dates on the Warped Tour in 2007, as well as loads of airtime on MTV. Paramore released their third album, Brand New Eyes, in 2009, which reached #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold 175,000 copies in the first week alone, far exceeding the release of their previous album. However, the continued focus on Williams as the leader became too much for the Farro brothers, and they departed Paramore in late 2010. That hasn't stopped Paramore from recording, or rocking huge tour dates in 2011.
Paramore announced in March of 2011 that they had returned to the studio and are working on more material, but there is no confirmation of an album yet. While fans might have to wait several months for the release of any new tunes, they won't have to wait long at all to see Paramore on tour dates in 2011. The band will head to Sweden and Finland in early July before playing concert dates in Portugal and Spain. Paramore will begin a handful of Warped Tour 2011 tour dates beginning on July 14, before kicking off a series of Hawaiian concert dates in late August. Even with two founding members gone, fans shouldn't count out the continued success of Paramore.
When you hand over your money for a concert ticket, what are you really paying for: some idea of the performer you’ve gleaned from gazing longingly at album covers and compulsively clicking YouTube videos, or the performer as they choose to express themselves on that given day? Is the consumer entitled to a certain expectation of the performance — a satisfaction-guaranteed procession of “the hits”— or should the artist interpret the fan’s investment as a vote of confidence, that the fan is willing to follow their every whim? In other words, is the customer really king, relegating the artist to the role of a court jester whose sole purpose is to entertain on demand? Or does the artist, elevated up on the stage and paid for the privilege, still dictate the terms of the contract? For Metric frontwoman Emily Haines, all these questions came to a head on the evening of March 30, 2008 at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto. She was all set to perform the sombre piano-based ballads that comprised the two releases from her solo venture, The Soft Skeleton: Knives Don’t Have Your Back and What Is Free To a Good Home? — much of which were written following a time of great sadness and personal loss. But having performed those songs so many times since Knives’ September 2006 release, Haines had an epiphany during that Phoenix show — she didn’t want to be sad anymore. And she didn’t want to play those songs. So, about 40 minutes into the show, she stopped “Dr. Blind” mid-verse and said just that: “I don’t want to play these songs anymore.” Instead, she spent the next half hour talking to her fans, encouraging them to join her at the piano on stage and, for the grand finale, pulling a kid from the audience for an impromptu duet on Metric’s “Live It Out.” She was up for anything — except playing those songs. Some disappointed Soft Skeleton fans in the crowd probably thought the show was a trainwreck. But for Haines herself, it was about getting her mind back on track — to the business of completing Metric’s long-awaited fourth album, Fantasies. “Writing for me comes from a process of trying to piece things together,” says Haines. “The function of music in my life is to help me understand what the hell is happening. This new record was about ending the fragmentation of my existence. Everything in the world right now — all the technology, the way we listen to music or watch films — everything has changed so much in my lifetime. People are allowed to have multiple identities — you’re somebody online, you’re somebody else in public — in multiple dimensions, scattered across the world… I wanted to bring all that into one place, one band, one record… I want to be one person.”
But in order to come together, Metric first had to drift apart. After touring non-stop between 2003’s breakthrough release Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? and 2005’s frenzied follow-up Live It Out, the four members of Metric sought sanctuary in sideline pursuits — Haines threw herself into the Soft Skeleton and took a soul-cleansing sojourn to Argentina; guitarist/co-founder Jimmy Shaw built a neighborhood recording facility, Giant Studio, on Toronto’s burgeoning Ossington Avenue strip with his neighbor Sebastian Grainger; while the Oakland, California-based rhythm section of bassist Joshua Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key toured their own garage-rock offshoot, Bang Lime. “We didn't have a moment where we stopped,” says Haines. “When I look back at the touring, it really was like 300 days a year for those three years [between 2003 and 2006]. After that, I thought if we went straight into recording the next album right away we would end up just writing about being in a band on the road because that's all we had experienced. We had to reconnect with our humanity first." Says Shaw: “We allowed this record to take a year and a half whereas for Live It Out we didn’t let it take more than 10 weeks. We just allowed it to take its own process, and whatever that process was going to be, it was going to be, and we were relaxed about it. We wrote when we could — we would get together for a month and then take a couple months to do our own personal shit again.” Formed in Toronto but, at various times, based in Montreal, London, New York and L.A., Metric boasts the sort of history that requires one of those connect-the-dots redlined maps you see in an Indiana Jones movie — and the story of Fantasies is no different. First stop: Bear Creek, located outside Seattle, Washington.
“The four us went out into the woods as a band with no expectations and did whatever we wanted” Haines recalls. “We were coming from London so it was a serious contrast - it felt like we had left civilization and all that mattered was music again. We wrote a lot of songs there including ‘Gimme Sympathy’, ‘Collect Call’... and 'Black Sheep', which isn't on the album 'cause it has a life of its own. When I listen to the finished record, I feel like all its warmth comes from that place in the woods.” In their recent episode of the Bruce McDonald-produced IFC documentary series, The Rawside Of…, Metric can be seen performing these songs in stripped-down, acoustic versions, and following the taut, barb-wired rock of Live It Out, it would’ve made total sense for the band to pursue a simple, back-to-basics approach further. But as the scene shifted over the course of 2007 and 2008 — back to Toronto and then New York, with Haines’ Argentina retreat in between — so too did the shape of the album. And through rigorous road-testing of the new songs, the mercurial material gradually solidified into a singular sound. “We toured the new songs a lot,” Shaw says, “because you might play something 30 times live before you start to realize, ‘Why did I get bored every single time I got to the second verse?’ and ‘Why does the ending always suck?’ The songs went through a lot of surgery, and we really feel like we sculpted them and got the best out of them. I felt like I could hear the sound of the whole thing in my head — it was really big and really dreamy. There were images of chasing invisible butterflies and pterodactyls coming out of their shells and flying off prehistoric cliffs. The sound of the record was more based on the idea of soaring pterodactyls than on that of another band, or some ’70s sound.” Adds Haines, “For me, the major influences on the record were the places we wrote it: Bear Creek, this utopian farmhouse studio, and then our own studio in Toronto, which definitely brought in the electro, dance and rock elements because the city feels so good right now and so many of our musician friends were around. And then for me, being in Buenos Aires, most of the songs I brought to this record came out of being in exile with just a piano and a guitar. And then in the final stages, mixing at Electric Lady in NYC brought everything around to where we first met Josh and Joules.”
But Fantasies is not so much about where Metric has been as where it takes you. While Haines’ missives from inside the VIP room (as cutting as ever on motorik rockers “Gold Guns Girls” and “Front Row”) would suggest the titular Fantasies are of the unattainable (or even undesirable) variety, the album’s gilded surfaces and textural density — a heady amalgam of psychedelia, disco, electronic and rock — supports Shaw’s assertion that the title is meant to evoke a certain “dream state” quality. And no song better encapsulates the utter surreality of dreaming — that peculiar combination of bliss and terror — than Fantasies’ massive glam-rockin’ closer “Stadium Love,” a song meant to be heard in the building it’s named after, but whose candy-coated “ooh-ooh-ie-ooh” chorus just might distract you from all the crazy shit happening during the verses in between. Haines explains: “I had just gotten back from Coachella, and I walked into the studio and noticed on the bulletin board that Joules had written ‘spider vs bat,’ i think he had been obsessively watching all these National Geographic animals-fighting-each-other-videos in his hotel room. For me, that phrase triggered an entire narrative that was about a gladiator-style enormo-dome where everything turns in on itself, with every form of aggression on display for spectators: monster trucks ramming into each other, bull fighting, sweaty men wrestling. And then you have these animals completely disconnected from the logic of their natural habitat, so you have a swan pecking the shit out of an elephant and pigs biting the necks out of tigers, and bats attacking spiders. And then in the seats, the spectators are kicking the shit out of each other too. There’s this completely blurred line between spectator and participant, and we’re all trapped in this fucked up Noah’s Ark. The images came to me all at once, and I wrote the lyrics on the spot.” And so an album that began its life as an acoustic jam session in the bucolic woods outside Seattle ends in a cartoon orgy of bloodshed in some mythical arena that exists in the darkest recesses of Emily Haines’ mind. Each extreme represents a fantasy in their own right: the ideal of hermetic artistic purity versus the spectacle of excess and decadence. Being yourself versus being what they want you to be. Emily Haines stared down these very polarities on her own that night at the Phoenix, but with Fantasies, Metric are now free to define their reality on their own terms. So when, amid the daydream electro of “Gimme Sympathy,” Haines invokes that age-old existential dilemma — “Who would you rather be: The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?” — it’s only because she already knows the answer: neither.
FORREST: vocals, guitar and then some
Hellogoodbye is all about having fun. What started out as a casual recording project in one boy's bedroom quickly became the most lighthearted rock-dance-roll band around today. They may not be able to sell a ketchup popsicle to a woman in white gloves but they could probably bring a smile to her face.
Combining this happy-go-lucky outlook with good songwriting, interesting instrumentation and clever wordplay, hellogoodbye is sure that almost no one can say no to their brand of rock, and if not, there exists a melody that will make them change their mind ;).
Immidiatly following the group's conception, it was clear hellogoodbye was a blessed baby. Most of the songs were written even before the bands birth. When the crowds demanded it, a band was recruted and things improved exponentially. The foursome quickly learned their first words, took their steps and pretty soon they were a singing, dancing powehouse. Shows at orange county venues chain reaction, koos, the hub, among others came quick and easy and an awesome following began to surface.
The whole hellogoodbye production is as diy as it gets. All the music is written and recorded in forrest's home studio. The website has always been 100% band created and maintained. All merchandise designs, and even t-shirt screen printing is done by hellogoodbye's caring, hardworking hands. Mailorder, booking, promotion, button making, etc etc etc... all done in-band.
The live show lacks no energy. Each member is dressed in a smile (sometimes nothing but) at the good fortune to be able to play such fun music with such fun people at such a fun show. The keyboardist's bizarre signature 'knee shake with extended arm pointing at the ceiling' dance always "wows" the crowd. Goodtimes is par for the course at "hellogoodbye Live-in-Concert Greens'; sometimes water pistols are chosen over guitars, occasionally a well timed 'pantsing' instead of keyboards. Whether theres a beat behind it or not, something fun will be going on.
What does the future hold for hellogoodbye, you ask? A debut release is in the works, a tour will be scheduled in its support, and the band will continue riding their bikes, swimming and dancing like travolta. their following will continue its rapid growth with each show and a pleasing wave of rocking out will sweep the nation.
So come on out, polish those dancing shoes and let loose. Life is much to precious to spend unhappy.