Paramore have been in the business of misery since their lineup got shaken up in 2010. With the highs of smash hits like “Still Into You” and “Ain’t It Fun” also came a bunch of drama, lawsuits and snide remarks over the past ten years.
The pop-rock band’s ups and downs have become a sore subject among the band and their fanbase, and the he said she said can get a bit confusing. Billboard has compiled a timeline of the major drama that has gone down since that original 2010 split.
December 2010 – Paramore announces that the Farro brothers have left the band
More than a year after the release of their 2009 album Brand New Eyes, Paramore shared in a since-deleted blogpost on their official site that founding members Josh and Zac Farro were leaving the band.
While fans were shocked by the news, the remaining three members Hayley Williams, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York admitted that they weren’t. “None of us were really shocked. For the last year it hasn’t seemed as if they wanted to be around anymore,” the statement read. “We want Josh and Zac to do something that makes them happy and if that isn’t here with us, then we support them finding happiness elsewhere.”
“We never for a second thought about leaving any of this behind. We really hope that you can be encouraged by the fact that the three of us who are still here are ready to take on another chapter of our journey together,” the statement continued. “You have always been what keeps us going so why would we stop now? We want to stick by you. Knowing that we have a unified passion and a clear vision makes us feel stronger than ever.”
December 2010: Josh Farro’s jab at his former bandmates
Just days after Paramore’s official statement, Josh fired back with a scathing, since-deleted statement on his blog. After noting that Williams released the departure statement “without my permission,” he went on to call Paramore “a manufactured product of a major label,” and accused Williams of being manipulated by her management, and her bandmates were simply “riding on the coattails of ‘Hayley’s dream.'”
“Hayley’s manager would tell the band to be in the lobby of the hotel at a certain time, but he and Hayley wouldn’t 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 wasn’t simply a solo artist, but we were a band,” he wrote.
“The band was in the dark the whole time,” he continued. “After many meetings between Hayley, her manager and the labels they decided to sign her to Atlantic Records. We didn’t 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. … Next thing we knew we were having a signing party for Hayley.”
He also claimed her parents controlled her, noting, “Hayley’s father … 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. We’ve always been treated as less important than Hayley. It’s been obvious how her family views things.”
Farro confirmed the rumors he and Williams dated, claiming that after their breakup, “things started going downhill for the band.”
January 2011: Paramore’s “not going anywhere”
In an interview with MTV, Williams, York and Davis said they were “hurt” by Josh’s blog post. “The three of us are still here — we’re not going anywhere,” said Williams, who also revealed previously that guitarist Justin York and drummer Josh Freese will be joining the band for its upcoming South American tour. “A lot of kids are still asking if the band is breaking up, and that just goes to show how broken the communication online can be, when rumors start traveling. So this is our way of showing that there’s a future and we’re stoked for it.”
“It was a drag. …Once we released our statement, we all knew they would probably release something,” said York of the blog post. “So I think we were all kind of bracing ourselves…It was really hard to read, just because it seemed like a lot of the stuff was pretty irrelevant to what happened. I think that was the weird thing, ’cause it just didn’t seem really necessary.”
February 2011: Josh forms his own band
Farro formed the group Novel American with singer Van Beasley, drummer Tyler Ward and bassist Ryan Clark, and just months after departing Paramote, was planning to record a debut EP.
“I think ‘liberating’ is a great description of how I’ve felt over the past month,” he said at the time. “Coming from Paramore, I didn’t think that I would want to be in a band or want to have anything to do with it, and so, when I actually found that passion and love for music again, I was like, ‘Wow, this is great.'”
December 2015: Jeremy Davis leaves the band
Paramore released their self-titled album in 2013, and things were great for a few years, filled with tours and cruises. However, in 2015, the band’s official Facebook page shared that Davis’ departure was “really painful,” though they didn’t give much detail. “We’re hopeful for Paramore’s future and we’re also excited for what Jeremy’s going to do next,” the statement reads, promising that the band won’t break up.
February 2016 – Davis files lawsuit against his former bandmates
The bassist claimed he was a partner in Varoom Whoa, the legal entity owned by Williams that operates the band’s business. Paramore, however, argued that Davis was actually an employee of the band and therefore did not have access to revenue streams in sales, touring and merchandise.
February 2017 – Zac Farro rejoins the band
Some good news! After news spread that Zac was drumming on the group’s fifth album After Laughter, Paramore announced he was back as full-fledged member. Paramore updated its official website to showcase a T-shirt featuring an image of young Zac Farro, along with the title “I’m Back.” Those on Paramore’s mailing list received emails with the headline “Zac’s Back.”
“I read this thing once about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis — when one of them died, their whole group of friends changed completely because with one of them gone, the part of each person that that person brought out of them died too,” Williams later said in an interview with Billboard. “When Zac left the band, I lost a part of Taylor; I lost a part of me. We got through it, found joy and hope to write music, because life goes on. But [Zac] said it all the time when he came back: ‘This doesn’t just happen; you don’t always get second chances like this.’ It wasn’t, ‘I need to be back in this band.’ It was really what he said at the Q&A: ‘I came back to my family.'”
May 2017 – Paramore and Davis settle legal dispute
Prior to Paramore’s tour-opening hometown gig in Nashville Thursday, the band’s lawyer told the Tennessean that “everything has been resolved and settled,” though terms of the settlement were not revealed.
October 2020 – Hayley speaks out
“there’s a reason there are only 3 people left in @paramore,” she tweeted on Wednesday (Oct. 28). “surprise, haters, it ain’t cause of me. paramore do not condone religiously/politically dogmatic beliefs which leave our LGBTQ+ friends, fans, & family feeling abandoned and hopeless.”
“and ya know, if that doesn’t jive with you, well, feel free to go to where all past members of paramore have gone which is literally anywhere else but paramore. to paramore’s LGBTQ+ family (and @ColormeBrian i am talkin straight to you) you are full of love and you are loved,” she concluded.
While she did not call anyone out specifically, fans theorized she was referring to guitarist Josh Farro. Users in the comments unearthed an alleged Facebook comment in which Farro compares homosexuality with pedophilia.
October 2020 – Zac distances himself from Josh’s 2010 blogpost, shows support for LGBTQ+ community
Zac joined the chat. After Hayley’s tweet, the drummer tweeted a note titled “Letter to our lgbtq+ fans,” his first post in more than two months. “I want to say I love and support you all and have your back, and and [sic] most of all, stand with you. I do not condone any actions that do not love and support your community,” the note reads.
“When my brother and I left Paramore in 2010, there was a post about the band that I did not fully condone. My name was included on the post yes, But I had not been briefed on what the entirety of that message contained,” he continued. “I am openly speaking about this now being not only the founding drummer of Paramore, but also rejoining in 2016. I am saying that I have a voice of my own and my voice stands with our band and our fans, not with words including me in actions I do not agree with.”
“We all have our own voices and each powerful within themselves,” he concluded. “Let’s use this power for love and peace, not separation and exclusivity.”
— Zac Farro (@zacfarro) October 29, 2020