The truth about Hayley Williams and "Paramore"
Josh and Zac's Exit Statement
Let me start by apologizing to you for the way everything went down on Saturday. I had a statement typed ready to post to you guys but Hayley released one without my permission. We were not going to issue a statement until we worked out our exit agreement with Hayley. I wish it didnt have to happen that way, Zac and I wanted to be the ones you heard it from. I want to be honest with you guys about how this band formulated from day one. I did not think Hayleys version told the whole story, at least from our perspective and hopefully this will explain a bit about why we are leaving.
Zac and I had a garage band in high school with the intentions of just making music for the love of it. We met Taylor and our friend Jason Clark at our school and found out that we shared the same musical tastes. So, we asked them to join our band. It was some of the greatest times of our lives playing music in Taylors basement with them. We obviously needed a lead singer and one day Zac met Hayley. We asked her to come try out and eventually to join the band.
Months down the road things changed and this band became all about Hayley. She had a manager at the time that controlled her every move along with her parents. They didnt like the idea of Hayley being in a rock band so they forced her to leave wanting her to pursue a solo career.
Hayley went off to write and record her solo demos while the four of us continued on without her. A couple of months later Hayley came and asked us if she could use the song Conspiracy that we had all previously written together. We agreed that that would be fine. I got a call a while after that from Hayley telling me that her manager said that Zac and I were invited to be back in the band (the band we started), but not Taylor and Jason because they werent good enough in his eyes. Hayley brought in Jeremy and our first rhythm guitarist Jason Bynum as the other two members.
We travelled to LA a few weeks later for a showcase and it was a nightmare. Hayleys manager would tell the band to be in the lobby of the hotel at a certain time, but he and Hayley wouldnt show for hours. We found out that they had been meeting with record label executives all morning without us, which is totally weird given that this wasnt simply a solo artist, but we were a band. The band was in the dark the whole time. After many meetings between Hayley, her manager and the labels they decided to sign her to Atlantic records. We didnt understand why Hayley was the only one signing the contract since we were told this was a band, but we were too young to grasp all of this. So far, Zac and I havent signed with another label, although I guess our part of Paramore sure could. Next thing we knew we were having a signing party for Hayley.
Our next move was to rerecord her solo demos with our own music rather than studio musicians to make it sound more genuine. Meanwhile, we tossed around band names. I wrote out a list of names, including Paramore, a name my old band with Taylor and Jason Clark had thought about using. Obviously, we settled on that name. The label received the rerecorded demos and once again tried to fire the entire band, saying we were terrible. Thankfully Hayley and I had been writing some new songs together (Hallelujah, Here We Go Again) that the label was pleased with so that acted as leverage for the band to stay. The label and management then decided to build our band up the grass-roots route. They put Hayley on Fueled by Ramen not making it known she was signed to Atlantic as well. All the while we still questioned whether or not we were an actual band, but Hayley continued to insist we were, despite our being ignored and pushed around by the label.
They then sent us all to Orlando to rehearse and write eight hours a day for our first record. Half -way though this process, Jeremy decided to quit. We were all really upset about it. So we finished the record, replaced Jeremy, and hit the road with Hayleys father as our tour manager/driver of a twelve-passenger van. Her dad would constantly threaten to pull the plug on the whole band if we complained about anything, suggesting that we were hired guns and Hayley was the real artist, when in reality we were also part of the band. Weve always been treated as less important than Hayley. Its been obvious how her family views things.
Jeremy ended up rejoining and we toured non-stop for two and half years building our fan base, pretending to be a band that started naturally. In reality, what started as natural somehow morphed into a manufactured product of a major label, riding on the coattails of Hayleys dream.
Before recording our next record, we kicked out Jeremy for his lack of work ethic and participation in things that Zac, Hayley and I didnt agree with. At this point it was just the three of us to record Riot. Once the record was done, we needed a bassist and another guitarist. Eventually Zac and I convinced Hayley to let Taylor rejoin and she convinced us to let Jeremy back in, promising he had changed his ways.
Once again we hit the road and toured on our biggest record as a band. As you all know Hayley and I dated and broke up during this album cycle. Things then started going downhill for our band. Hayley and Jeremys views started changing from what we all once believed in. The band almost split after cancelling a tour in Europe, but we managed to keep it together somehow. This is when Zac and I started to consider quitting the band.
Once we finished touring on Riot, we came home for a break and started writing for Brand New Eyes. Hayley presented lyrics to us that were really negative and we didnt agree with. For example, the truth never set me free, which contradicts what the Bible says in John 8:32 (and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall sat you free). We fought her about how her lyrics misrepresented our band and what we stood for, but in the end she got her way. Instead of fighting her any longer, we decided to just roll over and let it go.
Hayley claimed that this record reunited us as band and made us grow closer together, when in reality we were all growing further apart. Suddenly the band had spilt into two sides. Touring became more difficult since we couldnt agree on anything. The friendships our band once had were no longer existent. Amos 3:3 says, Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction. In addition to the band turmoil, touring had really taken its toll on us both. We left home at such a young age and missed taking part in normal teenage years. When you own part of a band and are constantly playing, you make sacrifices. Touring has taken its toll on our family members as well. I specifically remember many moments where our parents would break down in tears when we had to leave. It broke my heart. Seeing our siblings grow up so much during our absences was never easy either.
After a lot a prayer and counsel Zac and I came to the decision that it was time to leave the band. We truly feel that God is leading us elsewhere and is going to do great things with us. The intention of this statement was not to belittle or disgrace the rest of the band, it was simply to clarify our decision for leaving and our desire to finally tell you guys the truth. We are still hoping to work out a friendly way to leave our part of Paramore intact with the remaining band members, including Hayley.
We want to thank you guys for all of your love and support over the past 7 years. Its been an honor creating and playing music for you. If music is what God calls us to in the future, we hope that you all will be a part of it.
All of the glory be to God,
Josh and Zac