Can Paramore Survive Without Josh Farro?

Former Paramore guitarist Josh Farro made what is sure to be one of the stupider utterances of the year when he declared yesterday that he didn’t want to make his and his brother’s departure from the band into “this huge drama thing.”

It’s a bit late for that really isn’t it? If he’d wanted to leave discreetly without any fuss, then he wouldn’t have posted a multi thousand word blog post which fired off accusations like a machine gun. Farro’s targets included the band’s manager, singer (and his former girlfriend) Hayley Williams’ diva like status, their record label and Williams’ blasphemous lyrics.


The ensuing fallout has dragged on for weeks now, with the band mates he’d left behind giving a lengthy interview on primetime US TV, news reports dribbling out constantly which had words like “unity” and “togetherness” in the titles and now Josh Farro’s new outfit, Novel American, the formation of which he announced this week.

This has been brilliant stuff for the gossip-hungry fans of a band, who, by the end of their last tour, were one of the biggest in the world. They also responded to Farro’s outburst, with the professional sheen of a band of that stature. After initially denying the blog’s authenticity, the band quietly moved on to a no comment status, the two replacements for the band’s upcoming tour to South America were quietly announced, and then there was the confessional interview, which earned the band an hour of MTV primetime, in which they actually revealed very little everybody didn’t already know.

Engaging soap opera though this has been, the bigger question for the band is: what will happen after they finish the tour?

Josh Farro and Hayley Williams wrote pretty much all of Paramore’s material together, with occasional contributions from rhythm guitarist Taylor York. Though you could hardly say Farro had a style all his own, he had a gift for buzzsaw guitar riffs that leapt out of FM radio speakers and his songwriting will be hard to replace.


The new members should also not be taken as a sign of any new direction. At the last count Josh Freese, who has been temporarily installed on the drum stool, played, on average, on about ten albums a year and is also committed to the reunion of A Perfect Circle.

Though he may have a spare 20 minutes to play drums on the album, you can count him out of any songwriting or lengthy touring commitments. New guitarist Justin York may well stay on, but despite being a former touring member of the band, he has yet to pen to a song.

The Farros’ departure also means only bassist Jeremy Davis and Williams remain from the original line up, leaving them looking ever so slightly like the pop-punk Guns N’Roses.

One of the many accusations Farro made in his blog was that Paramore was basically a front for Hayley Williams’ solo outings. And what happens next will determine whether that’s true or not.

She’s already had solo success when she sang on B.O.B’s monster hit ‘Airplanes’ and if, during the recordings of the next album, the tunes don’t zip in quite the way they used to, don’t be surprised if professional songwriters get called in.

Hayley Williams may have been the complete focus of attention in Paramore, but that was mostly because the other band members said very little. Thing is, their fans fell in love with them as a band and not as a solo artist with a bunch of hired hands.

After they wrap up their tour dates, they need to take time off, get a settled line-up and write together as a band, not bring in the professional songwriters and dash something off by the end of the year, just so people don’t forget. We’ve all been through too much for that already.

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