Paramore’s Hayley Williams has reflected on her experience as part of the emo scene in the mid noughties, and has addressed certain treatment she received specifically from NOFX’s Fat Mike.
Williams alleges the LA band’s frontman/bassist made sexually suggestive comments about her when she was a teenager, and that this, coupled with the misogynistic culture of the emo community at the time, has caused her to look back on those years with anger, rather than fond nostalgia.
In an interview with Billboard, the vocalist opens up about her hesitancy in returning to the scene when Paramore co-headlined last year’s Las Vegas-based When We Were Young Festival, which was described as “an epic line-up of emo and rock bands from the past two decades.”
“Everyone’s just trying to remember better days, and I’m sitting there like, ‘They weren’t that much better’,” Williams explains. “We don’t want to be a nostalgia band. But I think what I felt was a mixture of vindication and also a lot of anger.
“I was really surprised that I had so much anger well up in me because I was like, ‘Wait a minute. They’re treating us like a prize now, but like, Fat Mike used to tell people that I gave good rim jobs onstage when I was 19 years old.’
“I do not think that that’s punk. I don’t think that’s the essence of punk. And I feel strongly that without young women, people of colour and also the queer community, I just think we would still be where we were then.”
The singer goes on to say that in spite of her mixed views towards the era, she was amazed at how the fans’ loyalty to Paramore meant that they were able to top the bill. alongside the reunited My Chemical Romance.
“And what it comes down to is that the fans are the ones with the power because otherwise, us and My Chem wouldn’t have been headlining that thing. And I think that’s beautiful.”
Williams also addressed her thoughts whilst on stage at When We Were Young, and in an open letter ahead of the event.
During Paramore’s set at the festival, Williams noted how the scene wasn’t always a safe place “if you were different, if you were a young woman, if you were a person of colour, if you were queer, and that’s really fucked up if you think about it because this was supposed to be the safe place, wasn’t it?”
Her speech followed her letter, which read: “To grow up in this scene was not a simple thing. To be celebrating it (and to be celebrated by it) is not a simple thing. Nothing about this life – for you, me, or anyone – is simple…
“What I did know was that for every ‘Take off your top!’ or snarky punkzine review… For every dramatic headline pinned on my name, or any season of self-doubt… No one was going to define Paramore but Paramore.”
Paramore’s upcoming sixth studio album This Is Why is due to arrive on February 10.