I believe most people now think Martin Mull was the first to say this - and it seems like as good a way as any to start out this week. As I was writing my first few posts last night, this quote kept sticking in my head. Music in general - and Paramore in particular - means so much to me on a visceral, emotional level that I have real trouble putting it into words. You’ll see my best attempts this week, but I can’t promise the level of writing you’ve seen here in weeks past. I don’t experience music intellectually - and I certainly can’t write about it that way. What I can promise this week is (hopefully) an interesting story of the rise of a great band as seen through the eyes of a fan and the best I can do in terms of telling you what this music and this band means to me and why. I may have trouble putting into words what they and their music mean to me, but I’ll give it my best shot. Hope you enjoy.
Showing 26 posts tagged paramore
Paramore - “My Heart”
I’m going to talk a lot this week about the bond Paramore has built with their fans - how they’ve worked their way up from playing for 25-50 people to where they are today. That bond is something special and it’s a huge part of why they are where they are today - and even with my close relationship with them, I know I’m not the only one that feels it.
To me, these lyrics sum it up. As a band, Paramore gives as much to their fans as any band I’ve ever seen…and the fans give it right back. It’s an incredible relationship - and their live shows are where you can see it best. A band pouring their heart out onstage…and a crowd of fans pouring their hearts out in return. These songs you’ll be hearing me talk about this week - they were written by Paramore - but they belong to us.
And since I was just talking about live performances, I’m going to start in the middle - because if this song doesn’t get your pulse going on a Monday morning, nothing will.
This is Paramore performing “Born For This” live on the The Final RIOT! tour in Chicago on August 12, 2008. The show was filmed for a DVD and the whole thing’s over on Hulu if you want to watch it.
When Paramore recorded this song for RIOT!, they invited fans of the band into the studio to sing on the track. When they perform it live, “everybody sing(s) like it’s the last song you will ever sing.”
And yeah - it never fails to give me chills. You can see what the band gives their fans onstage - and you can see what the fans give the band back. For me, the true greatness of Paramore has always been their live shows. This is a phenomenal live band - and you can’t truly experience their music (in my opinion) until you see them live. They’ve made three great records, but live…they take it to another level.
But they weren’t always playing for an arena full of screaming fans…to see how they got here, you have to go back to the beginning…specifically, for me, almost exactly 3 years earlier…
I had no idea at the time, but that would turn out to be a day that would (and I’m honestly not overstating things here) change my life forever.
But let’s go back a little bit first. You’re probably wondering how a (now) 34 year old guy winds up loving a band whose fan base is primarily made up of people half his age. You might even be wondering why that (then) 28 year old guy was at Warped Tour on August 10, 2005 in the first place. Or, you might not be wondering any of that and you’re just wondering why the hell Hendrik has let someone write about Paramore for a week on his blog (I don’t have the answer to that, except that he apparently thinks I’ll do a decent job of it - HOW WRONG HE IS.)
Anyway, my love for Paramore starts in…1990? 1991? The exact year escapes me, but I was in high school. Up until that point, I listened to awful music. And we’re not talking just standard Top 40 pop bad - I’ve always loved that and still do. We’re talking Milli Vanilli/Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch BAD.
So, I will now thank the music gods that during one of those formative years in high school, a friend handed me a copy of R.E.M.’s Document. Obviously, this wasn’t Milli Vanilli. Also, obviously, this wasn’t like anything I’d ever heard before. I was completely taken - with Michael Stipe’s phenomenal voice, with the jangly guitars, with the oblique lyrics…R.E.M. was the first band I ever loved. Still do. For the first time, music really touched me deeply, in a completely different way than it ever had before. I listened to other music, but I FELT R.E.M. songs.
In college - again freshman year - one of my (still) dearest friends got me to listen - actually listen - to Toad the Wet Sprocket, a band I had previously dismissed as those “Walk on the Ocean” guys. I could do another whole week on Toad (and maybe I will if Hendrik will have me back), but that was the second band I loved. There’s a reason I use Picasso’s Don Quixote as my userpic all over the internet. Take a listen to Toad’s “Windmills.”
And after I graduated from college (I’m shaky on the year for this one), a bunch of us went to see Weezer. Opening for Weezer? The Get Up Kids. I left that show, bought Something to Write Home About and that was my (very late) introduction to the world of emo (no, I’m not even going to TRY to define that genre and I won’t use that word again this week), pop punk, punk, whatever you want to call it. And so, better late than never right?
So, anyway, all that is a really long way of telling you how a) I started to love music - REALLY love music and b) why I was at Warped Tour on August 10, 2005. Because The Get Up Kids led me back to Jawbreaker and Sunny Day Real Estate and even all the way back to Minor Threat, but they also led me to Saves the Day and Bayside and Thursday and I wanted to hear every band I could that was making music like this - music that was LOUD and full of energy, music that was sometimes raw, always emotional (there’s that word again) - that, to me, expressed everything I loved about music in the purest way - it was music that expressed universal feelings - love and loss, pain and joy - and didn’t hide it behind difficult lyrics or imagery. It was out there - right out front - for all the world to see. The best of these bands were putting themselves out there, singing or screaming EXACTLY what they felt. The Get Up Kids made me fall in love with a whole new genre of music and even though I was, by some people’s estimation, WAY too old for this scene (last time I’m using that word too), I didn’t (and still don’t) care. I knew what I wanted to hear; I knew the music that let me get those frustrations out, that said what I wanted to say better than I could ever say it - and I was going to keep listening.
So, I guess let that be a warning about this week in advance (if you’re still reading at this point) - this isn’t going to be your standard music criticism. I’m not going to analyze what these songs mean to Paramore - what the lyrics meant to Hayley when she wrote them - in some cases, I know and in some cases, I don’t. But this is going to be about what the songs mean to me. These are songs that have changed me - and hopefully I’ll be able to articulate how over the course of the week.
This is also going to be about the experience of watching a band go from playing to 25 to playing for 25,000…and about the experience of meeting and becoming friends with one of the greatest groups of people I’ve ever encountered in my life. This is about a band (and their families and the people who work with them) who have treated me like family for the last 6 years and have given me opportunities I never dreamed I’d have.
But all that aside, it’s still about the music to me. And it was the music that started it all on August 10, 2005…but this post is long enough. We’ll get to that in a bit…
These are pictures I took (yes, with my phone - sorry for the low quality) from that first show I saw in 2005 (see - I wasn’t lying when I said the stage was a PINK TRUCK.)
I love looking back at these now and just thinking about how far they’ve come. It’s been an amazing ride - and it’s not even close to over yet.
"Emergency" music video - the 2nd single from All We Know Is Falling.
"I think that people shouldn’t be ashamed to wear their scars, and show people, and even tell people "Look, I’ve been through a lot of terrible stuff in my life", and there’s no need to hide it….so, with the carnations, with everything like that, we all have that because we were all on five different paths and now we’re on one path, together. And all of our scars will affect each other directly. So we’re tied together, for life." - Hayley Williams.