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gwen stefani

The Paramore Effect

July 17th, 2008

As many people have taken issue with Hayley Williams of Paramore as have fallen for her charm over the past couple of years. Emma Edmondson takes a look at the unlikely hero and explains The Paramore effect.

Paramore Hayley Williams Josh Farro Jeremy Davis Zac Farro Thrash Hits

Pop punk is forever getting a bashing from critics. Emo, schmemo, whatever they sigh – it’s full of depthless lyrics.

While others twitter their tunes for teenyboppers wearing black clothes and blacker souls. Yet still the acts get slapped on front covers of mags, despite the editorial staff’s dislike for the music, as hey, guess what – their songs actually sell. Sigh.

We all know it’s an age-old argument that’s duller than Gordon Brown’s latest Prime Minister’s question time (snore…) but it’s often even worse for girls in the bands.

The plain pop world sees women ruling the roost – but when it comes to killer riffs and stage diving boys out number girls ten to one. “You’re a cut price Gwen Stefani,” they cry, “an Avril Lavigne clone,,” they sneer with a tsk or two while pointing their witch-hunt like fingers accusingly.

Watch this critique of ‘Misery Business’ and Paramore’s style

Warning: LOTS OF SHOUTING WITHIN (and a bit of music)

No one hears this more than Hayley Williams from Paramore – the flame-maned front woman of Nashville’s biggest girl fronted group since, well, a long time.

Often dubbed the star of the platinum-selling band (although she doesn’t proclaim herself so and shies away from such labels) as with any press-elected group spokesperson she experiences a media verbal lashing regularly. And unnecessarily.

But the fiery haired heroine doesn’t bend over to take it up the botty hole, so to speak. Last year when Hayley felt her, and her band, were misrepresented in a Kerrang! article the singer spoke out on Paramore’s ‘blog.

Watch Hayley Williams being voted 2nd Most Sexiest (sic) Vocalist in Rock

She said the magazine claimed she was a bossy so and so, the Paramore boys were her bitches and that Hayley happily lets Josh fondle her mammaries.

Ahem, right then. These mutterings, on top of having to handle personal comments about her rather large head (eh?) and general (lack of a curvy) appearance, riled the carrot-haired songstress.

And rightly so. Since when has it been ok for a music magazine to turn all judgemental, women’s-cum-lad’s mag style on us? Talk about Jekyll and Hyde.

Publication-bashing aside, although this war of words is old news, it ignited a fizzle of admiration in me for the fiery singer. And, of course it, and she, didn’t stop there with Hayley continually keeping in touch with her fans and the world through the blogging hemisphere.

Watch the video to ‘crushcrushcrush’ by Paramore

She comments on anything from her ex-step dad trying to make some moolah on eBay by selling her school work to a certain magazine’s obsession with her breasts up to the Chinese whispers of her rumoured pregnancy causing the band to halt a tour earlier this year.

Eloquent and opinionated, but not in a preacher like way, if the Paramore lady isn’t a teenage role model in action I don’t know what is. In a world where women are idolised for getting naked and shagging footballers she’s a new age heroine standing up for herself by speaking her mind and writing songs that inspire kids.

She’s got a voice and uses it and herself the rest of Paramore, should be respected and cherished – not beaten to the ground with negative comment sticks.

I mean who would you prefer your little sister or niece to turn out like – Jodie Marsh or Hayley Williams? I know who I’m with, and she sure as hell doesn’t wear a studded belt as a bra and see getting married to a guy she met through an MTV show as normal.

Paramore commence The Final Riot! Tour with special guests Jack’s Mannequin, Phantom Planet and Paper Route on 25 July 2008

Bands

Gavin Rossdale: Life after Bush

July 3rd, 2008

Former Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale is back with a debut solo album. Ruby Q had a chat with the Shepherds Bush, London native on life after Bush and being married to a lady who is currently selling millions.

Gavin Rossdale Bush Gwen Stefani Thrash Hits

Gavin Rossdale has been getting a lot of stick of late. The ex-Bush frontman returned to the stage and recording industry last month with the first project since his not-so-successful post-grunge group Institute flopped into a pool of failure like some fat man doing a belly flop.

Now, almost three years on, he’s shaken off that slating like unwanted dandruff and gone lonesome LP style for the first time. But, as sod’s law would have it, all anyone seems interested in chatting to him about are nappies and his Japan loving pop minstrelette of a wife Gwen Stefani rather than the music maaaan.

Life’s a bitch when you’re less famous than your spouse, eh?

But let’s not write the new stuff off yet, as Gav ain’t no fool. After releasing just one record, Distort Yourself, from Institute he said sayonara (as Gwen would) to the doomed outfit and went back to the notebook.

Watch the video to ‘Swallowed’ by Bush

He’s a realist though and readily admits, “Institute didn’t really connect. We did one album and went on tour with U2 and slogged it around the clubs for a while and it didn’t really happen. I loved that record but that’s how it goes in show business so I picked myself up and started writing some songs.”

Those tunes made it onto his debut solo album Wanderlust and, despite some reports to the contrary, it’s not total guitar vomit.

Although the first single ‘Love Remains The Same’ and ‘Can’t Stop The World’ are mum rock to the Nth degree, and would nestle nicely on the playlist of Radio 2, there are squeakings of Bush type rawk-rooted gurglings in ‘If You’re Not With Us’. Albeit quiet ones.

Still, while all and sundry are slapping him with post-it notes marked ‘house-husband’ and ‘Mr Stefani’, let’s remember Bush were once a mega-selling act. Heck – they shifted nigh on 10 million copies of their debut record Sixteen Stone in the United States alone while ‘Swallowed’ became the anthem for generation doom-noughties pretty much worldwide.

Watch the video to ‘Glycerine’ by Bush

They were the (sole) British gods of grunge – with some media scribes even going as far as to ink them with the label of England’s Nirvana.

But, because of this achievement, it wasn’t easy trudging out into unknown solo-land for Gav. So scary in fact that the songs on his Bob Rock produced debut were initially meant for a Bush reunion release.

“I would have loved it to have been a Bush record and I offered it to them [the rest of the band] to do it. For two months it was on and I felt really excited about that,” grins Gavin. “I felt like I was back with my first love you know and then it didn’t work out.”

The reason why? One of the band-of-dads didn’t want to travel and leave his family home bound – something that papa Rossdale sympathises with, but not enough to transfuse the touring blood pumping through his veins.

“I look at my son every day and a little bit of me feels very bad that I have to leave,” he sighs. “But it’s a freedom record and I want to go play rock shows.”

Watch the video to ‘Machinehead’ by Bush

And that he has. Boasting a recent sold out Camden Underworld show that saw an impressive, almost goosebump-bursting set speckled with Bush classics, such as ‘Glycerine’ and ‘Machinehead’, and tracks from his solo release the sardine tin-packed crowd howled back sweat drenched lyrics both old and new.

Obviously someone out there’s buying the new offering. But that’s the thing, as mean as anyone (including Thrash Hits .com) wants to be about last month’s release there’s no denying Rossdale’s enigmatic live performances and songwriting capabilities (and the fact he’s really a rather lovely chap) – even if they’ve matured to the status of a little bit dull and middle-aged from soul scooping teenage angst stoner rock.

It’s just Wanderlust isn’t really for Bush fans – well not this one anyway but I never was the most hardcore of the bunch. It’s for a new crowd who like their music celebrity endorsed and easy to listen to. And hey – that’s ninety per cent of the record buying public now anyway right? Quids in…

Wanderlust by Gavin Rossdale is out now on Universal Records

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