Hayley Williams is well aware that her power pop band, Paramore, may be on the verge of a major commercial breakthrough.
But even though her group's second CD, Riot!, is closing in on 300,000 copies sold, there's still a part of her that feels Paramore has a ways to go in distinguishing itself among the crowded modern rock field.
"I never thought that I'd be waiting for SoundScan to come in and see what numbers [we sold]," Williams says over the phone. "I never thought I'd see hundreds of thousands of record sales at the top of the sheet.
"It's a good thing," she says. "I would love to go gold. Obviously, we'd probably pass out and die if we ever went platinum."
The band members might want to start interviewing doctors, just to be safe.
Paramore has the ingredients to become bona-fide modern rock stars. With Riot!, the band has made the kind of high-energy, rocking, pop album that has turned bands like Fall Out Boy, Weezer and The Killers into platinum-selling stars.
And in Williams, a 5-foot-1 dynamo with multi-hued hair and a voice far more commanding than her diminutive stature, Paramore has the kind of charismatic and attractive woman out front that rock hasn't seen arguably since Gwen Stefani helped propel No Doubt to superstar status.
Williams, now 18, was just 13 when she met future bandmates Josh and Zac Farro (drums). Bassist Jeremy Davis completed the initial lineup, and the Franklin, Tenn.-based band was soon gigging and trying to get seen by industry professionals.
Before long, John Janick, president of the Fueled By Ramen label, caught the group live, signed it and sent Paramore into the studio to record its 2005 debut CD, All We Know Is Falling. The CD and its catchy songs got the band off to a solid start, and prompted Atlantic Records to work out a deal to release and promote the second album.
Williams credits producer David Bendeth (whose diverse credits include Hawthorne Heights and Killswitch Engage) with helping Paramore create a CD in Riot! that exceeded even the band's expectations. Bendeth worked to keep the project on course in the project's early stages, the band parted ways with second guitarist Hunter Lamb.
"The record and the songs wouldn't be the same without Bendeth's guidance, and him just really pushing us past the limit," Williams says.
The effort paid off.
On Riot!, the band sounds more seasoned than its years in cranking out a set of high-energy, ultra-catchy tunes that include such standouts as "For a Pessimist, I'm Pretty Optimistic," "Miracle" and the disc's first single, "Misery Business," a lyrically cathartic song Williams writes about a rival teen-age girl who uses sex and manipulation to overpower people she meets.
Riot! with its vibrant and crisp sound gives fans a good idea of what to expect from Paramore in concert.
"Riot! is way more inspired by our live show than All We Know Is Falling, because we hadn't ever toured before we did All We Know Is Falling," Williams says. "We sound a little more aggressive live."
Paramore with The Starting Line and Set Your Goals
The Fillmore Auditorium, 1510 Clarkson St., Denver
Sunday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $19.75, 16-plus; visit ticketmaster.com.
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