Somewhere on a stretch of Interstate 40 between Memphis, Tenn., and Little Rock, Ark., a Mazda 5 is zipping down the road with Zac and Josh Farro. The brothers, half of the rock band Paramore, are on their way to a gig. While they planned to take a plane with plenty of time to spare, plans changed thanks to delays in their connecting city of Chicago. So, with a friend, they rented a car and hope to make it on time.
"We took two days off in Nashville and were going to fly in this morning," Zac Farro says. "It's five-and-a-half hours ... Our friend is documenting the tour, so he's filming this part of it, too. I hope it makes it onto the DVD. It's pretty unbelievable."
The band's success up until now is pretty unbelievable, as well. Formed in 2004 when singer Hayley Williams was just 13, the band has released two albums including the platinum Riot! last year. Fueled by the first single, "Misery Business," the band found success on its own, on the Warped Tour and on the radio.
The odd part of the story is -- no one has been looking at them as kids. Unlike previous teen groups like Hanson or even Miley Cyrus, Paramore has generally won fans over and then shocked them when revealing their ages. Those numbers have always been secondary to the music.
"It gets harder sometimes, but it's really cool because all of our friends are with us on tour," Farro says. "It's four best friends on tour playing music all the time. It's a little easier for me [having my brother with me]. It's always pretty relaxed and we all stay pretty chill."
Farro notes their ages haven't been a problem while touring either -- though some club owners have sometimes hesitated to allow the band to play given their under-21 ages, it's always worked out. He says their parents have been very supportive, as well.
Currently on their own headline tour called The Final Riot! Tour, the band will also share two dates with John Mayer, one of which is in Charlotte on Aug. 19. Mayer, who once attended a Paramore show in New York, has become a fan and friend to the quartet.
"We've been talking with him for a while," Farro says. "We always thought it would be random, but fun, to play some shows together. He had two dates that no one was playing, so it worked out with us. He took us out to dinner once, which was pretty unbelievable."
Paramore is also in the process of writing for their next album, which will be released ... at some point. While Williams recently stated in an interview that the new disc would be released in the summer of 2009, Farro laughs that off as the mistake of a younger band member.
"We have no idea -- Hayley will say things on stage and in interviews that she has no idea about," Farro says. "The whole next summer thing -- we haven't talked about when we're going to record the record. It may be sooner, it may be later. We have some ideas that we practice in sound check, but nothing's been recorded. We'll probably start demoing after this tour and then start the whole process ... nothing until then."
After the current tour is over, the band plans on taking a month off before enjoying the holidays and intermittently working on their next album. Farro feels like they've all grown as musicians on the road and hopes that translates in the new songs when they're completed.
With three-and-a-half hours to go before the show, the Farro brothers are still two-and-a-half hours away from Little Rock. It may all feel like it's going by quickly, but for a band of teens and early-20-somethings that has sold more than a million copies of their sophomore album, Riot!, they should just be enjoying the ride.
Opening for John Mayer at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on Aug. 19. Tickets range from $30 to $50.50.