For more than a year, there's been a strong buzz surrounding the Tennessee-based quartet Paramore.
The British magazine NME in 2007 declared the band one of the top 10 up-and-comers in music. Later that same year, Rolling Stone proclaimed Paramore as a band that needed to be watched. Readers of Alternative Press magazine voted Paramore as the best band of 2007. A recent story in Spin touted Paramore as "rock's most successful new act."
Add on top of that three Warped Tours, an appearance on Conan O'Brien's show, a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist (the band lost to Amy Winehouse) and a gold record for their second album, "Riot!," and you get the idea of the kind of rocket the pop-punk outfit has been riding.
Oh, and then there's also the fact at least half the band members are still in their teens.
With such success, one might wonder if the the band is destined to become a rock-n-roll cliche, letting stardom go to their heads?
But during a recent phone interview with the Deseret Morning News while on tour in Orlando, drummer Zac Farro sounded genuinely appreciative of the band's good fortune. He also came across as having the rare rock star combination of humility and a lack of attitude.
"It's been one of the most unbelievable rides. None of us ever expected it to get like this at all," said Farro, who sounds even younger than his 17 years. "Everything that happens, it doesn't get old. We've been totally blessed beyond belief."
When talking about the band's current tour with Jimmy Eat World, one of Paramore's biggest influences, Farro sounds like any other enthusiastic fan who meets their idols.
"We grew up listening to them when I was 10 years old. Now I get to share the stage with this band? I should be going to high school," said an enthusiastic Farro.
Farro is joined in the band by his brother Josh Farro on guitar, Jeremy Davis on bass and the flaming red-haired lead singer Hayley Williams, who has received the lion's share of media attention.
The level-headed Farro admitted that with success came a lot more demands for the band's time, something that can be tiring. But, he noted, if that was his biggest concern, he didn't have much of a complaint.
"There's no reason to get a big head. We're no better than the fans. We never see ourselves higher than anybody. It's cool to think about being successful and to be proud of it. But there's a line between being proud and blissful," he said.
Paramore has also received a lot of attention for their young ages. It's something Farro, who was just 12 when the band started, takes in stride.
"It's cool. It's an accomplishment. A lot of people haven't seen as much as we have. People twice and three times our age haven't got to see what we have. I don't think (the age question) is annoying. I think of it really as blessed," he said.
"Blessed" is a word Farro uses often during his interview. That's not surprising considering he and his band are devout Christians, another focus of media attention, although not an aspect the band advertises.
"We don't like shoving that down people's throats. People have free will to choose whatever they want."
"We're here for music and having a good time," he said.
A lot of Utahns, particularly those in Utah County where the band is playing, would most likely be able to relate to Paramore's apparent paradox of being a rock band with moral beliefs."Don't let what people say to you affect what you believe" is Farro's advice for Utah's religious teens.
If you go
What: Jimmy Eat World, Paramore
Where: McKay Events Center, Utah Valley State College, 800 W. University Parkway, Orem
When: Monday, 6 p.m.
How much: $24.50-$34.50
Phone: 467-8499, 800-888-8499
E-mail: [email protected]