Panic! at the Disco (known as Panic at the Disco between 2008 and 2009) is a rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2004. The band comprises Brendon Urie (vocals) and Spencer Smith (drums). In July 2009, both Ryan Ross (guitar) and Jon Walker (bass) left the band, citing creative differences as the reason for their depature. They have since formed a new band, entitled The Young Veins.
Panic! at the Disco's debut album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, reached #13 on the US Billboard 200, and has sold over 2.2 million copies worldwide since its September 2005 release. The band's second album, Pretty. Odd., was released on March 25, 2008 and debuted at #2 in the US.
Formation and early years (2004–2005)
The band was formed in Las Vegas, Nevada, by two childhood friends — Ryan Ross on the guitar and Spencer Smith on the drums. Since the age of 13, the two played Blink-182 covers together in a two-piece band called "Pet Salamander". Later they recruited more members to create a band under the name of "The Summer League" with Brent Wilson and Trevor Howell, who would later leave the band.
Wilson met Brendon Urie at Palo Verde High School. Wilson asked Urie to try out as guitarist for the fledgling band, as they were looking for a replacement for Trevor at the time. Originally, Urie was not the band's lead singer. Rather, the position belonged to former guitarist and lyricist Ryan Ross. However, when they heard Brendon sing backup vocals during a rehearsal, they were impressed with his backup vocal abilities and unanimously decided to make him the singer. The band then settled on the name 'Panic! at the Disco.' They lifted the name from the lyrics of a song called "Panic" by Name Taken. Although the band often says that the name comes from the song "Panic" by The Smiths.
The band contacted Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz through LiveJournal and sent him an internet link to their PureVolume site. Wentz took a trip to Las Vegas to meet the band. After seeing them practice, he asked if they would sign with his Fueled by Ramen imprint label Decaydance.
A Fever You Can't Sweat Out (2005–2007)
Panic! at the Disco released their debut album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out on September 27, 2005, making a fan base through PureVolume and MySpace, though achieving little initial commercial recognition. The name "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" was inspired by a young fan named Katie, a friend of the band's wives. After a consistent presence in PureVolume's top 10 signed artists, and reaching number one in MySpace's indie charts, Panic! at the Disco were featured on MTV's Total Request Live on January 17, 2006, where they premiered their music video for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Featuring Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Cirque and a circus wedding theme, the video débuted at #10 on the TRL countdown, later winning the Video of the Year award at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The song was also featured and ran for a month as a "Hip Clipz" on the website of Curly Grrlz Skateboards. The single itself, released April 27, 2006 got to #7 in the US charts.
The band was originally third-billed for the Truckstops & Statelines Winter Tour in early 2006, which was headlined by The Academy Is... and included Acceptance as direct support and Hellogoodbye on the line-up. Due to their increase in popularity before and during the tour, the band ended up getting pushed above Acceptance to second-billed every night playing right before the headliner and "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out" outsold The Academy Is...'s debut album, "Almost Here" during the tour.
Their second single, "But It's Better If You Do", was released in the UK on May 1, 2006 where it debuted, and peaked, at #23. The accompanying music video, released the previous month, portrays the band playing in a speakeasy in 1930's America, which, according to Urie, shows "the dark and secluded style of Panic."
The band officially announced the departure of their bassist, Brent Wilson, with a message on the band's website on May 17, 2006. Wilson has since claimed that the decision to leave was not his, and that he was fired without warning for monetary reasons, though the rest of the band deny this. Wilson demanded a cut in royalties, and threatened to take his former band to court if need be.
Just days after Wilson's departure, the band embarked on their first headlining tour through Europe, with long-time friend, Jon Walker, filling in for the summer tour as a temporary bassist while a permanent replacement was sought. All of the dates were sold out, with some, notably Manchester, selling out in a matter of hours. Upon their return, the band embarked on a two-month North American headlining tour with supporting acts The Hush Sound, OK Go, The Dresden Dolls, and Lucent Dossier Vaudeville Cirque, still retaining Walker as a temporary bassist. On July 3 of that year, the band's MySpace profile was edited to list Walker as bassist/vocals, and he became a permanent member of Panic! at the Disco.
The success of their first two singles helped catapult their debut album to the top of the Billboard Independent chart and to #13 on the Billboard 200 in July 2006.
Toward the end of July 2006, Panic! at the Disco released their third music video, "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off." The video features people with fish tank helmets walking the streets of what appears to be a studio back lot. The video only shows the band in one shot, reportedly because they felt that their looks were distracting from their music.
In early August 2006, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out went Platinum, having sold over one million albums.
During Panic!'s opening song on August 25, 2006 at the Carling Weekend: Reading Festival, an audience member threw a bottle at the stage, which struck and temporarily knocked out Brendon Urie, forcing the band to stop playing. After a few minutes, he got back up and shouted to the crowd, "You can't take me out! Let's see how well you guys do with my left side", and continued with the same song. In a phone interview Ryan Ross stated that "We were kinda expecting that [bottling] going into the Reading, because we heard that that's kinda a tradition they have over there" and "We walked on and we were kinda expecting that to keep our heads up the whole time, and unfortunately Brendon, he was catching bottles coming towards me and Jon and then he was dodging them himself, and kinda just didn't see one coming that I saw and it got him pretty good, and I dunno that's the only time anything like that's ever happened so hopefully we won't have to worry about anything like that too much."
The band embarked on a world tour in the later part of 2006. It included dates in Australia, New Zealand, and continental Europe. On November 7, 2006, they kicked off their first-ever arena tour with Bloc Party (who shortly dropped out because of drummer Matt Tong suffering a collapsed lung) and Jack's Mannequin. The Plain White T's were added to the next few weeks of The Nothing Rhymes With Circus Tour. They opened up the shows beginning in New York through November 26 in Iowa. After that, Cobra Starship were on the tour through December 9 in San Diego. The band appeared along with Fall Out Boy, Marilyn Manson, and other bands on the special edition soundtrack of Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas covering "This Is Halloween", which was re-released in 3D on October 20.
Their final single from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, "Build God, Then We'll Talk", was released on March 5, 2007. The accompanying music video portrays the fallacy of relationships.
In May 2007 it was announced that a Smashing Pumpkins Tribute LP would be released, compiled by MySpace and Spin. The LP features Panic!'s cover of "Tonight, Tonight" and was included free in the June 26, 2007 issue of Spin.
Pretty. Odd. and ...Live In Chicago (2008)
In early 2007, Panic at the Disco began writing their follow up album, but decided to scrap all of the songs they had written so far that they had been working on in July 2007. While speaking to MTV, Ryan Ross explained that, before the decision to start over was made, the album had lacked a band set up and that it "sounded like a film score." He also explained that the new songs have "a more positive outlook to them." The band also began performing new songs during various festivals and gigs. Two of these songs were "Nine in the Afternoon" and "When the Day Met the Night".
On January 9, the exclamation point in the band's name was dropped. They defended the decision to drop the exclamation point during an interview with MTV: "It was never part of the name to us. (...) When we started doing new promo stuff for this album, we just told everyone not to use it anymore."
Rob Mathes, who produced the record, described the album as "the most significant music project I have done in a while in that it is young and intense, adventurous and endlessly creative." "Working with these young kids has made me look at music the way I did when I discovered early records by The Who and Brian Eno-period David Bowie when I was 16. For this project I am also filled with "gratitude"." The band had previously planned to have Danny Elfman, who worked on the original Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, produce the album.
On December 11, it was announced on Billboard.com that Panic's second album was set to be released on March 25, 2008. Later that day, a series of puzzles began to appear on the Panic at the Disco website. The first puzzle led to the answer of "YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY" - drummer Spencer Smith explained that it was a lyric from a song named "We're So Starving".
The video for "Nine in the Afternoon" was shot on the December 21 and 22, ahead of the release as a single in January 2008.
A second puzzle revealed samples from a song on the upcoming album with the third piece of the puzzle leading to a blog entry on MySpace which updated the progress of the album while releasing a rough version of the song "We're So Starving". The band also announced that they would be recording the strings and mixing the album at Abbey Road Studios. Panic later confirmed that the second album was titled Pretty. Odd. with a release date of March 25, 2008. A fresh puzzle appeared on the band's website on January 16, various parts of the puzzle were released on to different websites. A week later, the completed puzzle appeared on the website revealing the album cover of Pretty. Odd. On January 10, Panic at the Disco were confirmed as headliners for the 2008 Honda Civic Tour. The tour started from April 10 in San Francisco and finished in Anaheim on June 14. The band customized their own Honda Civic Hybrid that would be won by a fan and ticket holder.
On January 28, "Nine in the Afternoon" was made available (in full) on the band's official MySpace page. iTunes made the Deluxe Edition and Standard Edition of the album available for pre-order on January 29, 2008. The day after the video for the first single "Nine in the Afternoon" aired, the band shot a whole new video for the next single, entitled "That Green Gentleman (Things Have Changed)".
On March 30, the album hit #2 in the UK Albums Chart. The album also debuted at #2 in the U.S., selling 139,000 copies in its first week. On April 8, the album debuted at #1 in Australia.
In August, Panic at the Disco embarked on the Pretty. Odd. World Tour, performing in Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand; accompanied by The Academy Is... and Cobra Starship in the last two countries.
In December, the band released the DVD/CD set, ...Live In Chicago. The DVD contained the filming of the Chicago show of the Honda Civic Tour, a featurette, music videos and documentaries on the filming of the music videos, whilst the CD included all songs played at the same show, as well as alternative versions of four songs from Pretty. Odd.. A deluxe Limited Edition was made available, containing all the components as the Standard Edition as well as a hardcover book of photographs, "A Picture with books" taken by longtime friend Shane Valdez. A limited 4,000 copies were made available, and more than 3,700 copies were pre-ordered before the initial release date of December 2, 2008.
Third studio album & Departure of Ryan Ross & Jon Walker (2009–present)
In late 2008, the band stated that they were in the early stages of writing and recording their third studio album.
On July 6, 2009 it was announced, via the band's official website, that both Ryan Ross and Jon Walker had left the band due to musical differences. The two are currently in a new band, The Young Veins, and are writing and recording their first album together in Los Angeles. Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith are to continue performing as Panic! at the Disco. This changed the plans for the third album, which they will now write and record without the help of either of Ross or Walker.
Shortly after the news of Ryan and Jon leaving due to wanting to do their own thing, which was forming The Young Veins, a 1960s-type band, Brendon and Spencer reassured their fans that their scheduled performances with Fall Out Boy and Chester French for the second half of Blink-182's summer tour were still going to happen.
On July 10, 2009 Spencer Smith posted a short message on their website stating that they have been hard at work in the studio on their third album. Along with the message he included a 30 second clip of a new demo they have been working on titled "Oh Glory". "Oh Glory" is the first song to not feature Ross in the band's history. The band also reinserted the exclamation point into its name.
The band's new single, "New Perspective" was released on July 28, and the single is also part of the soundtrack for the movie Jennifer's Body which released on August 25. They also posted the lyrics to the new song. Panic!'s third album is said to be released in early 2010 and Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus is also supposed to work with the band on at least one new track. On July 29, 2009 Spencer Smith told MTV that Ian Crawford, former The Cab member, was going to fill in for Ryan Ross on their tour during the summer of 2009. As for Jon Walker's replacement, Dallon Weekes, singer/songwriter of the indie band The Brobecks also played bass on the tour.
In August 2009, Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith were in a Fall Out Boy video, "A Weekend at Pete Rose's" ("Headfirst Slide into Cooperstown on a Bad Bet"). This video was directed by Shane Valdez in four hours, with no budget or crew. This video consists of Brendon, Spencer, and a "dead" Pete Wentz.
Panic! at the Disco performed in Times Square during the New Year's Eve events in December 2006/January 2007 with Carson Daly. They performed two songs, "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" and "I Write Sins Not Tragedies". Since both songs contain profanity, Panic! at the Disco sang censored versions of the songs.
Music critics have named a number of different genres to describe Panic! at the Disco's music. These include pop punk, and for their later material, baroque pop. Panic! at the Disco has gone on record many times saying that their second album would be completely different from A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, as Rolling Stone wrote in an article: "The group cemented its next direction with their first single, called "Nine in the Afternoon". "It’s influenced by the music our parents listened to: the Beach Boys, The Kinks, the Beatles", says Ross. "Our new songs are more like classic rock than modern rock. We got older and started listening to different music – and this seems like the natural thing to do right now."
In his review of their live album, Stephen Thomas Erlewine noted, "...Pretty. Odd. suggests that they're becoming that rare thing in 2008: a pop-oriented rock band. They might not be doing this knowingly, but the results are entertaining all the same."
Concerning their style of music, Ryan Ross has said, "I try to think of the person who's worked an eight-hour day, the person who gets in the car and puts on their radio. I'd like them to hear a song that makes them feel happy for three minutes rather than something that makes them more depressed than they already are. We're not afraid to write about love or being happy. We have an entire culture that is either provocative or negative. It's so geared toward being shocking that it no longer manages to shock. They've pushed it as far as they can go both sexually and in terms of anger. Which is why we're here, to provide something different." Pretty. Odd. is described as "Alice in Wonderland-like whimsy; it's as if they dropped the entire Beatles catalog into a blender, added some modern alternative ice and the horn section from Sonia Dada, then churned out a new-millennium Liverpool smoothie. And the band knows it, singing, 'I can't prove this makes any sense, but I sure hope that it does.'"
- Brendon Urie – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, piano (2004–present)
- Spencer Smith – drums, percussion (2004–present)
- Ian Crawford – lead guitar, vocals (2009–present)
- Dallon Weekes – bass, vocals (2009–present)
- Eric Ronick – keyboards, vocals (2006–2008)
- Nominated: Best Direction in a Video (2008) for "Nine in the Afternoon"
- Nominated: Best Pop Video (2008) for "Nine in the Afternoon"
- Won: Video of the Year (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best Group Video (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best Rock Video (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best New Artist in a Video (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best Art Direction in a Video (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best International Rock Group (2007)
- Nominated: Best International Rock Group (2008)
- Won: edc Style Award
- Won: Best Video International (2006) for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
- Nominated: Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package (2008)
- Nominated: Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package (2009)
Biography from Wikipedia