So Hayley Williams, the lead singer of Paramore, has an adorable grandmother. Adorable.
I ran into her very proud grams in line for the ladies bathroom at the Roseland Ballroom, NYC on November 28, 2007. I wanted to tell Gramma Williams that Hayley had quite a voice but she was busy chatting it up with the girls behind me. So instead I’ll tell you.
Hayley Williams has quite a voice.
I first saw Paramore on Steven’s Untitled Rock Show on Fuse in their video for Pressure off their Fueled By Ramen debut, All We Know Is Falling. Hayley’s amazing voice and coveted red hair coupled with their unexpected rhythmic changes sold me immediately. (Adam would call those unexpected rhythmic changes ‘their drummer is too good for his own good’ changes but as someone who can’t stick to one rhythm when writing a song, I say: whatever.) In fact, I continued to flip to Fuse – a station which, until then, I rarely watched – to try to catch a glimpse of that video and the name of the band in it. Finally, I found it and out to the record store I went.
All We Know Is Falling is addictive. Addictive like pop rocks. Sometimes you don’t even want it but you need to have it anyway.
And I’ll admit it. Hayley and her ‘I’m 15 and a rock star’ life is living my dream. And then there’s the hair. The fact that she’s now 19 doesn’t subdue my jealousy at all either. Me and my dishwater blonde are totally, completely jealous.
Hayley and Paramore lived up to my expectations at the show too. I’ll admit my expectations weren’t that high considering my love-hate relationship with the current pop-emo-rock trend going on. Nonetheless, Hayley rocked herself just like she does in the video and it was awesome to see a female up there head banging and dancing around like she fucking owns that stage. And she did own that stage … and like the gracious hostess she is, Hayley would step aside during musical interludes to let the boys shine too. And shine they did.
Paramore is definitely a talented band. Perhaps, as Adam says, a little too talented for their own good but talented none the less. They are also a fun band – the kind of band that brings energy to the crowd not just the other way around. I think the place would be “tickin’ like a clock”, as Paramore says, even with a generally apathetic crowd.
The part of the show that really endeared me to Paramore, though, was when they covered a Sunny Day Real Estate song and attributed the band’s formation to one of the boys putting the song on a mix tape for Hayley back in the day. Their intro to the song was, like all their stage banter, a little contrived. Nonetheless, I love it when bands share the history of their music with their audience. It’s how underground music propagated and it’s an important tradition to continue.
An another important tradition that was alive and well at the Paramore was one that I’ve harped on more than a few times here: punk rock community.
Everywhere I looked at the Roseland Ballroom that night I saw kids wearing t-shirts proclaiming “To Write Love on Her Arm.” I thought: What the hell? Is this a new band I’ve never heard of? If so, that name is quite a mouthful. Am I really so out of the loop that I’ve never even heard of the band let alone heard it?
When I got home I googled “To Write Love on Her Arm.” And no, as the cool kids reading this know, To Write Love on Her Arm is not a band at all. Instead it’s a grassroots organization dedicated to alleviating the self-destruction behaviors tormenting youth or, in their own words,
I think that is awesome. The phrase “To Write Love on Her Arm” comes from a story the founder wrote about helping a friend overcome addiction. Read the story here. Now, they have a little bit of a religious bent which I’m not into, but they are open about their beliefs and have stated that their mission is to help everyone:
NATIONAL HOPELINE NETWORK (1-800-SUICIDE) – WWW.HOPELINE.COM
The National Hopeline is a non-profit organization that fights suicide at the front lines. Their toll-free call line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and links the caller to the nearest crisis hotline in their area. To date, they have received over 2 million calls from individuals struggling with thoughts of suicide.
TEEN CHALLENGE – WWW.TEENCHALLENGEUSA.COM
Teen Challenge is a rehab program with locations in 70 different countries. “Teen Challenge endeavors to help people become mentally sound, emotionally balanced, socially adjusted, physically well, and spiritually alive.” Many Teen Challenge centers offer treatment for free, and that is made possible through donations.
MERCY MINISTRIES – WWW.MERCYMINISTRIES.ORG
Mercy is a non-profit organization for young women who face life-controlling issues. They provide residential programs free of charge designed to address the whole person: spiritual, physical and emotional. Mercy homes are located in the USA, Australia, and the UK.
Construction is underway for Mercy’s first home in Canada.
S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) – WWW.SELFINJURY.COM / 1-800-DONT-CUT
“S.A.F.E. Alternatives is a nationally recognized treatment approach, professional network and educational resource base, which is committed to helping you and others achieve an end to self-injurious behavior.”
KIDS HELP LINE (Australia) – WWW.KIDSHELP.COM.AU / 1-800-55-1800
Offers free, confidential, anonymous 24-hour phone and online counseling for young people (5-25) in Australia.
Back in January, three of us traveled to Kolkata, India, as part of a group there to experience the work being done in the fight against human slavery. We partnered with two different organizations, and as part of our commitment to the children we met and the work we experienced, 5% of the money we give away will go to those
Apne Aap – WWW.APNEAAP.ORG
Sanlaap – WWW.SANLAAPINDIA.ORG
Fucking A. Who said that kids today are apathetic and uninformed?
Not me. Not Hayley either.