Hayley Williams is most well-known for her work fronting Paramore and while she’s currently gearing up for the release of her solo debut album Petals For Armor she’s also speaking out on issues she’s faced as a woman in the industry.
Speaking on some of the flack she’s caught over Paramore’s break, Hayley Williams says she believes it could have to do with her gender.
“Bands have been honest about how much they hate each other, and you never think, Oh, Thom Yorke must be the fucking Hitler of Radiohead,” Williams says. “I wonder if it’s simply because I’m a woman? I could have had a dick and the story wouldn’t have gotten any traction.”
She discusses many of the issues she’s experienced as a woman working in music including her time on Warped Tour.
“The first time we got offered Warped Tour [in 2005], I’d been waiting. Never attended, was too young, wasn’t allowed. The guys and I didn’t listen to pop punk before writing “Pressure.” We listened to heavier stuff like Deftones. We wanted to be darker. Suddenly, we wrote “Pressure,” and that was it — we were gonna write emo bops! Sick! I’m psyched that happened. But suddenly the type of attention we were getting was different. I did not know how toxic that world could be.”
She says the early 2000’s pop-punk and emo scene “was brutally misogynistic” and while she says she did meet some bands who were nice, the other revolving parts caused issues.
We got offered Warped tour, and there was a caveat: “It’s a stage called the Shiragirl Stage. It’s all female.” I was pissed! I wanted to qualify for a real stage. When I’ve been offered female opportunities, it feels like a backhanded compliment,” she says.
“As a 16-year-old who had dreams of playing with the big boys, it felt like we were being slighted. That summer we went out, and I’ll never forget [it]. We played in Florida, and the stage was a truck that had a flatbed on it. It was so flimsy it would shake and fall apart. There might have been one other female in a band [on tour], and people were gawking.”
She then discusses how that year led to the following one having Paramore on a bigger stage but it was “the year of the fucking condoms.”
“Summer of condoms, 2006. In 2005, I wore T-shirts every day. In 2006, I was a little more comfortable. I’d wear a tank top. But my chest was exposed. We were in San Diego or San Francisco, and a condom flew at me, and it stuck to my chest while I performed. I was so embarrassed, I started talking shit because I was so young and arrogant. I don’t think I was wrong. It’s just I have more anxiety now than I did at 16. I had way more confidence then. Ignorant confidence.”
She also discusses touring with Straylight Run and how one of their friends “said something about my pussy.” She mentions how John Nolan from Taking Back Sunday was mad about the situation but says his sister Michelle DaRosa was her “saving grace” and the first woman she toured with.
“I can’t remember what this guy said because I saw red so fast, but he referred to my pussy. I was literally 16, about to turn 17. Everyone was laughing. No one paid fucking attention. I was like, ‘Why do you think it’s cool to refer to my pussy?’”
Elsewhere in the interview, Williams discusses how former member Josh Farro left the band and her feelings on the situation now. She also opens up about having to fight to get Paramore’s initial record deal as one for the band instead of for her solo.
You can read the full interview here.
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