It was a break, not a breakup. But the way the screaming, flailing fans — ranging from teens to those teetering on the brink of middle age — at New York’s sold-out Beacon Theatre are reacting to frontwoman Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York and drummer Zac Farro ripping through their spiky new single, “This Is Why,” you’d think Paramore had just risen from the dead.
“It’s funny — everyone always thinks we’ve broken up,” Williams says. It’s a week before the Nov. 13, 2022, Beacon show, and the members of the trailblazing pop-punk band are seated on shabby vintage chairs in an old house in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park on a sunny afternoon. “It’s always like, ‘Will they or won’t they come back?’ ”
“Love to keep ’em guessing,” Farro quips.
“It surprises us every time,” adds York.
“At this point, I don’t understand how we’re still doing it,” Williams continues. “Because it just feels like against all odds every single time — which, honestly, I feel like we’re the most annoying band in the world because it’s always like, ‘Oh, we overcame this, and now we’re making this album.’ ”
Williams, 34; Farro, 32; and York, 33, met as kids with musical ambitions and Christian roots in Franklin, Tenn. Over the next two decades, as Paramore, they released five albums and survived internal band drama, from lineup changes to lawsuits, any of which could have sounded the death knell. But the group’s sixth album, This Is Why — a tight, post-punk juggernaut that zeroes in on pandemic-fueled anxieties, scheduled for release Feb. 10 — marks the first time the lineup has been consistent between two albums, as well as the end of its contract with Atlantic Records, the only label the band has ever known.
“It feels surreal,” York says.
Read the full Billboard cover story, written by Christine Werthman, here.