Disclaimer: I am in no way related to Paramore or know anything or anyone of them personally, even though I wish to.
Author’s Note: None of what I wrote is true, except the part about Josh and Zac Farro leaving the band. I might not have a brilliant storyline but writing something like this is actually the only thing that is helping me cope with the Farros really leaving. And no, this fic isn’t me taking the piss, I am just as devastated, but I respect their decision and I will never stop supporting Paramore, because that’s what real fans do.
PS. The very last bit in Italic is taken from Paramore’s offical site.
Problems and decisions. Problems and decisions.
It had been a fairly rough week for Josh Farro. He hadn’t spoken to his wife, Jenna, for weeks now, and the few times he could catch a break to call her only lasted for a few minutes. It was terrible and his heart ached being away from her like that, but he had been busy with band matters. They had a show coming up in the southern United States, and just like every tour, every single minute of the day was spent preparing for the shows, all of them wanting to do their very best and please their fans. Josh enjoyed performing, he was happy if his fans were happy too. It was the kind of energy that fuels Paramore’s consistency to perform excellently, the kind of energy that kept everyone going, especially Hayley, that little life-sized Energizer bunny with flaming red hair.
“I miss you,” Jenna’s voice from the other end of the line brought Josh back from his wandering thoughts. There was a rather long pause between their earlier conversation regarding how things were at home and Jenna’s sudden assertion. Josh ran his hand through his hair and sighed. “I miss you too, Jen.”
“Listen-“ Jenna began but was quickly interrupted by someone calling Josh’s name. Josh looked up to find Jeremy Davis, one of his best pals and fellow band member of Paramore waving to him. “Hey, dude, time for practice!”
Josh sighed and yelled back, “Be there in a minute!” He leaned back against the wall and spoke into his phone, “Hey, Jen, I gotta go, I…I’m sorry.”
“It’s alright,” Jenna said hurriedly, but he knew better. She hated these stolen conversations over the phone as much as he did, but she was always looking out for him, saying that his needs came first, and his needs were entirely devoted to the band. A long time ago, he would have agreed. But now, he was a married man, and if all these distanced calls were only what they were going to get, things were starting to get out of hand. He needed to sort out his priorities; sure he was needed here, but he was also needed back at home. Paramore is his family, but what about Jenna too? He thought he could juggle between both the band and his marriage, but perhaps he had thought wrong. There were some things in life that you had to let go to pursue for the alternative, and right now he needed to decide which was which.
As he entered the studio, all these thoughts still churning in his mind, he felt a slap on his back. “Hey, Josh. Not bailing on us, are you?” A little red ball of never-ending energy, Hayley Williams grinned at him, and he smiled back. “What? Of course not.” Seeing Hayley was never easy. It wasn’t easy holding back all those memories he had with her back when they were still…together. He mentally gave himself a shake. No. That was the past. They had a deal, to leave everything behind. Besides, both of them agreed they were better off as friends anyway. Back then, there was a critical moment when Paramore’s existence depended on them, on their wavering relationship. It was complicated and horrible, and would’ve resulted in Paramore’s demise if it weren’t for Hayley who was determined to continue with the band, to never give up on their fans, to never disappoint them. She was always thinking about others, that flaming redhead. He had never seen anyone so selfless and thoughtful. But they were friends, good friends, and nothing more than that.
“Well, he might’ve been, for all we know. He could’ve been sneaking out for a taco break while we work our asses off here,” Jeremy piqued up.
“Yeah, that would be exactly what Joshua Farro would do,” Zac, his dear brother, was generous enough to add his own opinion.
Granted, Josh wasn’t the clown of the band, the life of the party; that wasn’t his job. But still, he gave a quick laugh and smacked both Jeremy and his brother’s head. “Grow up, will you?”
“Hey, I’m older than you,” Jeremy snorted.
“Hey ho, Jeremy Davis, the old man of the band,” Taylor York added.
“Yeah, yeah,” Jeremy grunted, disgruntled by Taylor teaming up with Josh.
“Are you guys going to go on the whole day, because if you are, tell me, I might need to find a couch to snuggle comfortably in while I watch this interesting drama fold out before me,” Hayley called from the mic stand.
“Alright, get your butts off anything comfy you are sitting on and get in position,” Jeremy slapped Taylor on the back, which resulted in an “ow!” from him. “C’mon! You heard Hayley, I’m the old man of the band, everyone listens to the old man.”
Josh grinned, picking up his guitar as he prepared for Ignorance. He loved the band, he loved Paramore, and for the next few hours of practice, his mind was a giant battlefield, a war that never seemed to end.
It was another one of those stormy days, one of those days when all anyone could ever do was stay at home watching TV while pigging out on Doritos, and that was exactly what the Farro brothers were doing. Josh and Zac were the only ones at home, having returned from an exhausting band practice at the studio. Zac was doing most of the pigging out, actually, and they had reruns of Friends on TV. They snacked and laughed like they normally would on any other day, but Josh was keeping something inside him, something that he needed to let out, soon, before he felt like exploding.
“Zac,” he wasn’t sure how to begin this. “I, uh, well, I was doing some thinking the other day.” This wasn’t entirely true. He had been doing some thinking for two weeks straight.
“Yeah?” Apparently, this kind of news wasn’t as interesting to his brother as “Ross the Divorce Force” was on TV.
“Yes,” Josh replied, his tone suggesting that he was slightly offended. “And, well, I was thinking that maybe I need a break.”
This information seemed to take quite some time for Zac to process. When he turned to look at Josh, his expression was mingled with curiosity, suspicion and…fear. “What…what about?”
Josh was fairly sure Zac already had an idea what this “break” was about, but he still said it anyway. “I think…I’m going to leave the band.”
There was total silence then except for the noise coming from the television. Zac stared at him until he couldn’t take the pressure anymore and looked down at his fingers. Tension was heavy in the air, and the silence seemed to last forever. At last, Zac broke the tense silence.
Josh almost fell off his chair in shock, obviously taken aback by his brother’s unexpected reaction. “…okay? ‘Okay’ as in ‘yeah, sure, fine’ or ‘okay’ as in ‘you need to reevaluate your choices’?”
Zac almost laughed. “Since when could I ever convince you to…reevaluate your choices? You are as stubborn as a baby girl who didn’t get her unicorn toy.” Realising his comparison wasn’t actually flattering in Josh’s case, he quickly added, “Look, all I’m saying is that, it’s your choice. You seemed down and really out of it lately, somehow this piece of news isn’t quite startling to me. And I’m guessing this has something to do with Jenna.” He looked into his brother’s eyes briefly for confirmation, and he was right. “Whatever floats your boat, I guess. You gotta do what you gotta do.”
Admittedly, Josh was relieved. He didn’t know what he was expecting, but this certainly wasn’t what he had in mind. What he had in mind involved shouting, disagreements and long speeches, but this wasn’t the case, and he was secretly glad. Until his brother decided to drop a bomb on him.
“And if you’re leaving, so am I.”
Now, he really did fall off his chair. “What?” He said incredulously, picking himself up from the floor.
“I said, well, I’m coming with you.”
Josh closed his eyes and massaged them tiredly. “No, you are not.”
“Why not?” Zac was standing now, obviously upset. “I am not young anymore, well, too young.” He defended. “I can make my own decisions as much as you can.”
“You don’t have any personal issues with the band. You don’t have any reasons to leave, like I do.”
“Maybe I don’t, but maybe you leaving is reason enough for me?”
Josh was touched, but he knew his path wasn’t the same as his little brother’s. Zac was young, and he was having fun. And Josh? Sure he had fun, he had more than fun, he had built such an incredible relationship with the rest of the band members they were pretty much family to him; but there was a difference. He had a huge responsibility on his shoulders, larger and heavier than anyone else. He was a married man. Soon, he would have a family, and if he were to go on tour every few months or so, what would become of his family, the family he was responsible for?
“No, Josh. If you’re leaving, I am leaving too. There’s no talking me into changing my mind anymore. You’re my brother, we do everything together, right? I’ve seen you, you look so…disinterested during practice nowadays. I can’t stay on after knowing you’ve been so miserable. Besides, drumming wouldn’t be as fun without you there, you know? And I’m not just talking about me, I’m talking about everyone else too. Heck, if I could, I don’t want you to leave, but like I said, you’re one hell of a stubborn guy, and I don’t think what I say will make any difference anyway, so the only thing I can do in this situation is go together with you.”
Zac’s words were followed by another period of silence. At last, Josh looked into his brother’s eyes, a faint smile dancing on his lips. He loved his brother so much, he really did. “Seems like I’m not the only stubborn one in this family, huh?”
“Nope.” Zac grinned.
Josh took two steps forward and hugged his brother. This Zac wasn’t the Zac that had been afraid of spiders and sleeping alone in the dark anymore. This Zac had grown up.
“I can’t believe we almost hung it up, whoa-oa whoa-oa, we’re just getting started, oh we’re just getting started!” The music started to fade together with Hayley’s powerful voice, and she spun once and stroke a dramatic pose that was meant to look obnoxious, but she was Hayley Williams, and it made her look…well, silly. The other members snorted and chortled at their lead singer’s attempt at hilarity and practice came to an end.
“Oh, good, I need to find myself some Doritos,” Taylor exclaimed as soon as he put down his guitar.
“Wait,” Zac called out. “Before you get yourself your Doritos, we have something to tell you.”
Josh knew this was coming, but it didn’t really mean he was prepared for it, but with Zac by his side, he felt confidence course through his spine.
Under normal circumstances, Zac’s remark would’ve brought on jokes and teases, but both the Farro brothers’ expressions suggested this was a serious matter, so Hayley, Taylor and Jeremy nodded for them to go on.
Josh took a deep breath. “It’s about us, Zac and I, leaving the band.”
This is it.
It was the night of their last show in Orlando, Florida, and just like they had promised, it also meant Josh and Zac’s departure from Paramore for good. Surprisingly, Hayley and the rest had taken their news fairly well, and Josh was grateful. He wasn’t sure if he could handle seeing their shocked –or even worse, teary- faces. He didn’t want them, or anyone else to grief over his leaving. It would seem redundant.
But now that he was back in their studio in Nashville, all sorts of memories rushed back to him at once. Fooling around with Zac and Jeremy at that very couch in this studio, having some sort of sleepover right there near the television and teaming up with the boys to scare Hayley in the middle of the night, and of course, the outings they had together as a band, visiting the army, going to Disneyland, and then of course there were the concerts, the crowds, the fans… He started to feel a lump in his throat, but reminded himself that it wasn’t going to help. He had made his choice, and despite knowing the consequences, leaving Paramore as a three-man band, having fans from all around the world grieving over his and Zac’s leaving, he knew he had to sort out his priorities; he knew what he was supposed to do.
Zac entered the studio right then, together with Hayley, Taylor and Jeremy. The atmosphere was tense and distressing at the same time, and Hayley was close to tears. A tear rolled down a cheek and Josh stepped forward, pulling her into a hug. “Hey, don’t cry. You are the H-bomb, and you are probably the strongest, and not to mention the most hard-headed girl I have ever met,” Hayley smiled a little. “You’ll be alright. You’ll probably be cracking jokes five minutes after I leave. It’s not like we won’t see each other again, I’m still in Nashville, always available twenty-four seven.” He let go of her and smiled at her, one that she returned back with a watery one.
“Jeremy, bro, you are one hell of a bro,” Josh laughed, and hugged him.
“One hell of an old man, too,” Zac added, giving him another hug.
“The old man, yeah?” Jeremy smiled. “Downside is, I won’t have anyone to backflip over anymore,” he added sadly, but still retaining his smile at Josh’s direction.
Josh had to stifle a sigh. “Well, six years flipping over someone like me should sound like a bore now, right? Go find some fresh meat.” At situations like these, there was nothing else but jokes, desperate jokes to lighten the atmosphere, to keep it from crashing down and starting the waterworks, the regrets, the misery. That was what the boys were good at, Hayley, not so much, as she watched through blurred vision, the waterworks already beginning.
“Taylor,” Josh called, giving him a slap on the back. “Remember when we stopped you from getting into the band because you were too young-“
“Too annoying,” Zac added.
“And too, well, new? I take that back, you are an amazing guitarist.” He beamed.
“Finally got it, have you?” Taylor laughed and hugged both of them too.
“Well… I guess this is it,” Zac said, and picked up his drumsticks while Josh zipped his guitar back into its black casing.
They were ready to leave the studio when Hayley finally voiced up, her voice hoarse. “Paramore…won’t be Paramore without you guys, you know.”
Josh turned around and looked at each and everyone of them, Jeremy, Taylor, Zac, and at last Hayley. “We are Paramore, remember? We are, and will still be Paramore, even after we leave. We are part of this family, and we will never forget. We aren’t the key ingredients here, Paramore still has you guys, and without us, Paramore will still be the band.”
Hayley smiled, a reassurance. “We will miss you.”
“We will miss you too.”
And with one last look at the three members of a band they were part of until minutes ago, Josh and Zac Farro left the studio, trudging through the snow towards the path of future they wished to lead.
Over the past 6 years, our band has been through some of the most intense and incredible experiences of our lives. None of these things have been without trial. We’ve worked so hard to get to where we are and the fact that you are all still here with us says something about you that we will never be able to truly understand. You have stuck with us through thick and thin and we are so grateful. A couple of months ago, Josh and Zac let us know they would be leaving the band after our show in Orlando last Sunday. None of us were really shocked. For the last year it hasn’t seemed as if they wanted to be around anymore. 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. But 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. 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.
The “blog” that was posted regarding everything that is going on with our band was a fake. We aren’t sure who did it or why… And we aren’t sure how they timed it this way. This is the first time that we have spoken out about what’s going on and we wouldn’t have released an official statement that important through a personal blog. So, we’re sorry for any confusion and just to remain clear, this is the first time we have spoken out about this.
We have some amazing things lined up for next year starting with our tour in South America. We are still coming to you and we are excited about who we are bringing with us! The tour is still on and we can’t wait to see you all.
As we look back, and now as we look with excitement to the future, in all of this what truly matters are the good times. The pictures of us with our arms around each other, the long van rides, your faces while you sing along as we play. Thank you for getting us right here to this very moment. We look forward to our best times. And we hope you will go there with us.
Love, Hayley, Jeremy & Taylor