Panic! At the Disco
photographer / Alexander Richter
story / Jennifer Huyer
hair / Kazz Mendoza | Filthy Rich Barbershop
stylist / Jasmine Caccamo
It has been almost a decade since the world was first introduced to Panic! At The Disco front man, Brendon Urie. Born and raised in Las Vegas, a teenage Urie would find himself and his peers at the forefront of inking their first record deal without having ever performed a single live show. They were young, ambitious, and using a thesaurus to throw words into songs that they didn’t really know the meaning of. The band had spent five grueling weeks in the studio and lived miles from home in a less than desirable one-bedroom apartment with everybody sleeping in bunk beds. It proved tumultuous for the band at times, but the fruits of their labor soon garnered them the commercial success they were looking for with their debut release, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. The album was received by critics with mixed reviews, but despite extreme polarization the album went on to become certified double platinum selling over 2.2 million copies worldwide to date.
From its inception, Urie joined Panic! At The Disco as a replacement guitar player with no intentions of becoming a permanent member. But by the time their fourth album came along, he had found himself to be the only remaining original member of the group. His longtime friend and drummer, Spencer Smith, had left before the beginning of this tour to get help with his battle with alcohol and prescription pills.
The band’s new album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is Urie’s diary. This is his story about things that have hurt him in the past. They are his happiest highs and his bitter lows, but lyrically they are his most honest, heartfelt and personal. His fear, love, heartache, and swagger ooze from the lyrics.
“It’s a cathartic album,” explains Urie, “every song captures a memory of how I felt at the time I was writing. It took a lot of honesty to make this record.”
Musically there is the embodiment of an eighites sound, utilizing vintage synths and creating a Depeche Mode meets The Faintvibe. Urie mentions, “I got a little bit closer to the sounds I heard in my head on this record. We’ve been listening to the same stuff for a really long time and this time around we are using those influences more directly.”
The title of the album is line taken straight from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Being from Vegas has held quite the significance in Urie’s life. In the beginning, as a band trying to figure themselves out as individuals, they were much too young for the clubs and libations that Vegas had to offer. It led to a bitter angst that bled over into the writing of their first album. On the contrary, this current album holds a much deeper appreciation, one that is celebratory of life. Referencing something like Fear and Loathing is Urie’s homage to Thompson’s style and storytelling of Las Vegas, one that acts as an inspiration on his own writing. “I’ve always thought of this record as a character album about a tortured soul who wanted to get joy out of life but didn’t know how,” he adds.
Brendon is recently married, and “The End of All Things” is the one song on the record that he is very proud of. “To me, it’s a beautiful song. It’s three chords and the melody. The lyrics are straightforward and simple, but in that light it holds more honesty. It’s about my life and my fiancé at the time, written about a month before I got married. I wanted to write my vows in a song as a promise that I want to keep as the years go by.”
The first track on the album is a song presumably written for former bandmate Spencer Smith. “This Is Gospel” is, according to Urie, a song written about addiction and being tortured by oneself. At first listen, you’ll hear the pulsating of beats, reminiscent to that of the heart’s, that are soon met with vocoder laden verses that erupt into an emotionally charged chorus. “The lyric ‘if you love me let me go’ is very pained to me,” Urie explains, “It is somebody screaming for attention and wanting someone to notice.”
Such an emotional and heartfelt song would need an equally as expressive video to accompany it. Being directed by Daniel Campos and beautifully choreographed by Tamara Levinson-Campos, the duo, along with Urie’s performance, create an intense heart-wrenching feeling as if watching the movements of a tortured soul.
Brendon Urie has always been a believer that adapting and evolving are structurally part of being a good artist, and Panic! At The Disco has continued to push their musical abilities and redefine their sound from album to album. With a more disciplined approach to his creativity these days, Urie says he has “found a different voice within the dynamics of the band,” also adding, “all four of us cooperate and contribute evenly. The goal of the band remains the same. To write the best songs and to perform the hell out of them live.”
7/18/2014 Magna, UT – The Great Saltair*
7/22/2014 Milwaukee, WI – Eagles Ballroom*
7/23/2014 Indianapolis, IN – Farm Bureau Insurance Lawn At White River State*
7/25/2014 Chicago, IL – FirstMerit Bank Pavilion At Northerly Island*
7/27/2014 Rochester Hills, MI – Meadow Brook*
7/29/2014 Columbus, OH – LC Pavilion*
7/30/2014 Cleveland, OH – Jacobs Pavilion At Nautica*
8/1/2014 Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE*
8/2/2014 Uncasville, CT – Mohegan Sun*
8/3/2014 Boston, MA – Blue Hills Bank Pavilion*
8/5/2014 New York City, NY – The Theater At Madison Square Garden*
8/6/2014 Toronto, ON – Echo Beach At Molson Canadian Amphitheatre*
8/8/2014 Toms River, NJ – Pine Belt Arena*
8/9/2014 Philadelphia, PA – Festival Pier* (on sale 3/1 at 10am local)
8/10/2014 Baltimore, MD – Pier Six Pavilion*
8/12/2014 Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion At Riverbend Music Center**
8/13/2014 Charlotte, NC – The Uptown Amphitheatre At The Music Factory**
8/15/2014 Boca Raton, FL – Mizner Park Amphitheatre**
8/16/2014 St. Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre**
8/17/2014 Atlanta, GA – Chastain Park Amphitheatre**
8/19/2014 Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion**
8/20/2014 Austin, TX – The Moody Theater (pre-sale 3/4 10am local)**
8/22/2014 Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom**
8/23/2014 Oklahoma City, OK – Zoo Amphitheatre**
8/26/2014 Los Angeles, CA – The Greek** (on sale TBA)
8/27/2014 San Diego, CA – SDSU Open Air Theatre**
8/28/2014 San Jose, CA – San Jose State Event Center**
* – with Walk The Moon and Magic Man
** – with Walk The Moon and Youngblood Hawke
Clothing credits / Tie, Black leather Stylists own custom made. Shirt; Topman. Blazer; Anthony Franco. Black waxed denim pants; Topman. Black buckle shoes; Costume National.