The Untold Truth Of Panic! At The Disco

When Panic! at the Disco's hit single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," debuted on radio in 2005, many people mistook them for Fall Out Boy at first listen. Even founding member and guitarist Ryan Ross couldn't help but agree, telling AbsolutePunk that both Patrick Stump and Brendon Urie sounded extremely similar. It was made even more suspicious since Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz was the person responsible for signing up Ross and his young bandmates to his label Decaydance Records in the first place (via Daily Press).

Yet, for a band that was once seen as a Fall Out Boy clone, Panic! at the Disco has gone through the whole gamut of reinvention, shedding the emo tag and establishing themselves as one of the most unique-sounding musical acts around. Ironically, this revamp has included going from being a band of young musicians from Las Vegas to becoming the solo vehicle for Urie's quest for musical world domination. No matter what anyone thinks of the act, Panic! at the Disco shows no sign of letting up, as they have garnered Grammy nominations and even sold out a show during a blizzard (via Local Spins). However, the past is littered with many trials and tribulations. There were moments that changed Urie and his bandmates forever as they embarked on a journey to capture the minds and hearts of fans around the globe. From switching lead singers to getting upset with Fiona Apple, here is the untold truth of Panic! at the Disco.

Ryan Ross was the first singer of Panic! At the Disco

The origin of Panic! at the Disco can be traced back to one of the most formative periods of life: high school. As Ryan Ross revealed to AbsolutePunk, he had known Spencer Smith for a long time before he met Brent Wilson in high school. Wilson moved to another school before their senior year, but they all stayed in touch. When Ross and Smith decided to put together a band, they invited Wilson, who brought along his pal, Brendon Urie, with him.

"We had [Urie] come to a band practice to try out for guitar," Ross said of the earlier years. "I actually started out as the singer, and in one of those early practices, we had him sing for some reason and found out he had a much better voice than I did." Ross took over the guitar responsibilities, but he eventually got the chance to show off his vocal talents in The Young Veins, the retro rock band he formed after leaving Panic! at the Disco in 2009, as per the Los Angeles Times.

Panic! At the Disco was signed before playing a show

Most bands spend years playing to half empty bars, sleeping on floors and couches, and eating expired hot dogs from gas stations before receiving anything that seems like a big break. As AC/DC's Bon Scott crooned on the band's legendary track: "It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll." For Panic! at the Disco, though, it came a lot easier than anyone could have expected. "We had recorded a couple of demos on my laptop, put them online, and sent a link to Pete [Wentz] through his LiveJournal," Ryan Ross told MTV. "He listened to the stuff, and he drove down from Los Angeles to listen to us at band practice. So he heard us, and he signed us [to his label]."

What was even more surprising was how Panic! at the Disco had never played a show before being signed — a rarity in the music business even in those days. Spencer Smith explained that this was a result of a lack of opportunities in the Las Vegas music scene. More importantly, their plan was never to establish themselves in Las Vegas but to get out of there.

Ryan Ross was responsible for the long song titles

Rock bands in the mid-2000s loved nothing more than to have song titles that read like paragraphs. It was a product of its era, and Panic! at the Disco decided to get in on the fun as well, especially with their debut album, "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out." Featuring lengthy titles such as "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" and "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of It Yet," the band gave Fall Out Boy a run for their money in the quest for the longest song title of all time.

So whose idea was it then? Ryan Ross revealed to Spin that he was responsible for bringing this concept into the camp initially. "On the first album, I was just reading a lot at the time, and I was on this kick where I wanted to use quotations from some of my favorite books and movies," he said. "But they did end up being pretty long in some cases." Ross added that even the band members didn't use the full song titles when discussing them.

This Is Gospel was written about Spencer Smith

In 2015, Spencer Smith left Panic! at the Disco to deal with personal issues, leaving Brendon Urie as the sole remaining original member of the band. Having been around Smith for many years, Urie was well aware of the struggles that his bandmate had toiled with. In fact, the track "This Is Gospel" — off 2013's album "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" — was written about Smith and what was happening in his life.

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Urie explained how the song proved to be a cathartic exercise for him, as well as a way to send a personal message to Spencer as both a bandmate and friend. "When I wrote 'This is Gospel,' that was all about Spencer and his struggle from my point of view but also my struggle just from a personal point of view," Urie said. "It was tough to have conversations, for me it's easier to put it into a song." Through the use of music and the lyrics, Urie believes he managed to connect with Smith and maintain their friendship.

Despite the breakup, Brendon Urie is still friends with his previous bandmates

After Spencer Smith departed Panic! at the Disco in 2015, Brendon Urie made the decision to keep the project as a one-man show going forward. As he explained to GQ, he has embraced the nature of flying solo and found enjoyment in calling all the shots. Considering how Panic! at the Disco was started by a bunch of friends in high school, there is always the question of any lingering bad feelings after the members departed. However, Urie insisted that isn't the case at all.

While Urie stated that he hasn't spoken to some of them in a while, he chalked it up to the busyness of life and how people often go their separate ways. He also added that if someone wants to leave a band to pursue something else, people should be supportive of their choices. "It was like you want to do this other thing, let's at least end it now with the caveat that we can stay friends instead [of] bickering until we don't want to be friends anymore," he said. "I'm still best friends with our original drummer Spencer — he comes over every other day."

Panic! At the Disco wrote a song for SpongeBob SquarePants

Skipping through Panic! at the Disco's discography, there's no doubt that it's a musical kaleidoscope that tries to paint all the different colors of sound. Even if they started off as an emo rock band, they have never stuck to one singular genre of music or been afraid of experimentation. Brendon Urie has continued this tradition as he dabbles in everything from pop to jazz and even musicals. In fact, he contributed a song to a Broadway show about an absorbent, yellow, and porous individual who lives in a pineapple under the sea.

As revealed by The Independent, Urie penned the song "(Just a) Simple Sponge" for the "SpongeBob SquarePants" musical. He admitted that musicals are something that interest him, and people could see more of them in the future. "For me to jump into that world would make total sense I think, but also I have such a passion for it, for wanting to do something completely different musically," he said. Perhaps Urie can write a song Patrick Star or Squidward as well.

Fiona Apple said 'no' to the band sampling her music

It's not unusual to hear bands sampling or borrowing bits from other artists' music. After all, Vanilla Ice sampled the bassline of Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" in "Ice Ice Baby," though it cost him for not getting permission to use it, as he revealed on "The Dan Patrick Show." Panic! at the Disco also had plans to include a sample from Fiona Apple's "The Idler Wheel" on their single "Miss Jackson" — from the album "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" — however, Apple wasn't interested in allowing it, as per Brendon Urie's comments to Revolt.

Urie claimed that the band had played around with sampling Apple's music and had even named the track "Bad Apple." But when they reached out to get permission for it, they were supposedly denied, and Urie wasn't happy about it, calling Apple a derogatory term. However, he still maintained that he was a fan of Apple's music. In an interview with Vulture, Apple revealed that the reason she hadn't given permission to Panic! at the Disco was because someone else at her label had already sampled the same track without asking. If it had been a different song that Urie and his bandmates had wanted, she would have likely considered it.

Panic! at the Disco's hometown bands hated them

As mentioned earlier, Panic! at the Disco weren't too fond of Las Vegas' music scene. Spencer Smith even said to MTV that they had to share a rehearsal space with countless death metal bands that all sounded the same. However, the feeling of animosity appeared to be mutual, according to what Brendon Urie said to the Evening Standard.

"Other bands in Vegas hated us because we hadn't played shows and paid our dues," he said, adding that even the press claimed they weren't a real band. "It made me so happy, the fact that everyone was hating on us so hard. We just thought, 'Wow, people are really taking notice. Let's have a ball with it.'" The tension probably wasn't aided by the likes of Pete Wentz ⁠— who had close ties to Panic! at the Disco ⁠— as he laid into another Vegas band, The Killers, in an online rant. At that point, the Vegas music scene probably thought that Panic! at the Disco was declaring war on their peers.

Brendon Urie had to move houses because of his fans

Social media has afforded fans the opportunity to get closer to their favorite artists and musicians. It's all too easy to send out a tweet or comment on an Instagram photo; sometimes, the artists might even respond to these messages. However, there are a select few who would like to get a little closer to their idols — perhaps even as close as their front door.

Brendon Urie told NME that he ended up having to move houses because a few individuals overstayed their welcome. The frontman explained how he used to receive items from fans in the mail, and he'd often send back things as a way of showing his appreciation. However, it started to get weird when people would appear outside of his house uninvited. "A couple of times, my wife was home alone, and people were showing up, and she was having to say: 'Yeah, this really isn't appropriate, guys, I'd really appreciate you not showing up to our house, please leave,'" he said. "So we had to deal with it a couple of times, but by that point, we felt unsafe, so we decided to move."

Panic! at the Disco would love to collaborate with Green Day

As Panic! at the Disco's stardom continues to rocket to another stratosphere, many more opportunities are presented to Brendon Urie. He already teamed up with Taylor Swift on the track "ME!" (via Billboard), and he has another big collab in his sights as well: Green Day.

Speaking on a livestream in 2019 (via Kerrang!), Urie revealed that he had met the punk rock icons before and would be up for collaborating with them in the future if he had the chance to. "They're so personable, and very, very nice. And I would love to do music with them," he said. "They had everything to do with me getting into punk rock." Fittingly enough, Panic! at the Disco has its roots in punk since it began as a blink-182 cover band, as per Spin. Mark Hoppus even planned to produce a few songs for their 2011 album, "Vices & Virtues" (via MTV), but that plan didn't work out. However, they did manage to get Hoppus to play an acoustic cover of "What's My Age Again?" with them on stage.

Brendon Urie makes a lot of music naked

Many musicians have weird rituals before they get into the zone. For example: Bruce Springsteen puts on Buddy Holly's music before a show. Meanwhile, Panic! at the Disco's Brendon Urie revealed to GQ that he likes to bare himself — both literally and metaphorically — for his recordings, even admitting that he recorded half of the 2016 album, "Death of a Bachelor," in the nude.

"I've been pretty damn naked recording songs," he said. "I have a studio at my house with a pool right next to it, and it's fairly private. Nobody can really look into my backyard. It's a beautiful thing when you have that kind of freedom." To be fair, it doesn't sound like it's part of a ritual or something superstitious, as Urie claimed that he walks around naked at home all the time. The benefits of working from home, right? The only problem is when someone forgets to put on a pair of pants for those pesky Zoom calls.

Brendon Urie has a favorite Panic! at the Disco song

Ask a musician what their favorite song or album is, and they'll likely say the newest one. It makes sense, though ⁠— art is meant to be about progression and moving forward, so every artist will always try to top what they did before and keep an eye on what's next. In some instances, the artist might feel embarrassed about earlier efforts since they feel they are no longer reflections of where they are at currently or how much they have developed as musicians.

After building up a catalog of songs both with his former bandmates and as the solo driving engine of Panic! at the Disco, Brendon Urie has a surprising favorite song. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, he affirmed the first single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies," from the debut album, "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out," still holds a special place in his heart because of the connection it has between him and the audience. "I still love that song," he said. "You know what's cool? Every time we play it live, I look out at the fans, and they're singing it back to me, I see it in their eyes, and I'm like, 'That's how I felt when we'd first go to shows and play this.'"