Pranc­ing with Paramore

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

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