Hayley Williams Addresses Emo Nostalgia and Fat Mike’s Past Comments About Her
In a new interview, Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams pressed back on the emo nostalgia craze and suggested that the punk scene she came up in wasn't all it was cracked up to be.
Remembering the era from what she experienced, the Paramore vocalist also discussed suggestive onstage comments that she said were once made by NOFX bandleader "Fat" Mike Burkett.
When Paramore played the nostalgia-driven music festival When We Were Young this past October, as Billboard pointed out, Williams told the crowd that the scene had not always been a safe place "if you were different, if you were a young woman, if you were a person of color, 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?"
She shared similar thoughts in a letter before the fest. In the past, Burkett has come under fire for onstage banter. NOFX once apologized for onstage comments.
"We don't want to be a nostalgia band," William tells Billboard now. "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.'"
She adds, "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 color and also the queer community, I just think we would still be where we were then."
For listeners "trying to remember better days … I'm sitting there like, 'They weren't that much better,'" Williams says. Going forward, she explained she feels the scene's importance lies in the fans that made the music such a movement in the first place.
"We hung out with My Chem[ical Romance] a few minutes before we went on the last weekend [at When We Were Young 2022], and I think they feel very similarly about how they were received. 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."
Read the full in-depth Billboard feature on Paramore, which delves into their writing and recording process, growing up together in the spotlight and more.
When We Were Young 2023 takes place this October. Paramore sixth LP, This Is Why, arrives Feb. 10. Get Paramore concert tickets here. NOFX recently released Double Album and will start their "Final Tour" this year. Hear both bands' latest singles below.