Prancing with Paramore
What a difference seven months make. the last time this reporter interviewed Paramore drummer Zac Farro was earlier this year in Singapore, where he looked relaxed and at peace, talking optimistically about how the band had moved on from their difficult near breakup in 2007 and the impending marriage of his brother Josh, the band’s lead guitarist.
throughout that interview, he was peeling away at a few dried blisters on his hands and fingers – battle scars for drummers.
But that enthusiasm seemed almost completely gone when Paramore was in Kuala Lumpur last week, performing to a sold-out concert at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Zac did not have those raw blisters anymore and his hands looked more calloused, more like those of a battleweary soldier. Josh, too, looked completely beat.
“We had a 10-hour flight here (KL) yesterday. and then we have a 20-hour flight tomorrow (to New Zealand), so we’re just really tired. We’ve travelled every day on this past tour in australia,” said Zac, 20.
after all that touring, the band is only getting a week’s rest back in the United States before moving out again.
“It’s catching up, for sure,” said Josh about life on the road. “Some people are cut out for touring and some aren’t. Like hayley and Jeremy, they can just go and go and go. It’s in their nature. For us, we enjoy a little more time at home just to reenergise.”
Josh was of course referring to Paramore lead vocalist hayley Williams and bassist Jeremy Davis, the showmen (or show persons) of the band who were constantly bouncing around stage during their excellent, power-packed 90-minute concert in KL.
the crowd was totally rocking out with them as they played songs like Ignorance, Brick By Boring Brick and the Only Exception from their recent album Brand New Eyes, plus earlier hits such as that’s What You Get, Emergency and Crush crush crush.
along with rhythm guitarist taylor York, the band from tennessee, US, are well-known for the infectious energy they bring to their live shows, but it’s hard to imagine how anyone can play a whole seven months of shows like that, week in, week out.
“It’s easier for me, because I’m usually just standing there playing,” said Josh, with a wry smile.
“I don’t know how hayley does it. She warms up (her voice) a lot. But I’m surprised, with all the traveling and stuff, how her voice is still intact. It’s a good thing because if not, we’d have to cancel shows. We’ve done that before, and it’s just not fun. We let a lot of people down.”
the band had famously cancelled a string of European concerts in 2007 after the members had a falling out as the pressure of constant touring took its toll, and they required the help of a counsellor to sort out their differences.
Some of the songs on BrandNewEyes, including Ignorance, were about that painful period when the five childhood friends could barely talk to each other.
“It’s not exactly the most enjoyable thing listening to those lyrics, to be completely honest. Every once in a while I listen to it and go, hey, those are kinda mean, kinda harsh lyrics.
“But you just gotta let it go, you know? Now we can just do our thing and just zone out, and not even think about it cos it doesn’t matter,” said Josh, who got married in april, with Zac as his bestman.
asked if Zac saw himself settling down any time soon like his brother, he replied jokingly: “I don’t have a girlfriend, so that would be step one.
“But yeah, that’s definitely something I want later on in life. It all depends. It’s kinda hard when you’re out touring all the time, but I think I’ll let my life slow down before I do that. Unless I find somebody on the road somehow, or that week when I’m home.”
“It might happen ... you never know,” interjected Josh, with the encouraging tone of a knowing elder brother.
But the band has been so busy that they haven’t even started work on their next album, which would be their fourth.
“We did a big US tour, and a big tour in Britain, so we’ve been kinda too busy to make a record. that’s probably not till next year,” revealed Josh.
But one thing Zac and Josh sounded even more eager to do was charity work. the two had gone on a Christian mission trip to China before to help out in an orphanage, and they’ve been trying to find time to do more of that ever since.
the band has lent their support to some non-profit organisations, but for Zac, it’s just not enough.
“It’s hard because you can’t really go in to it. When we went to China, we got to hold the orphans, build cribs, and physically help people. We can all tweet and go ‘oh, check this website out’, but you’re not actually doing anything,” he said.
Josh added: “We like to be there, to be involved. It’s cool, because it takes the focus off of us and being a band. It makes it about the people.”