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Brendon Urie announced Wednesday that Panic! At The Disco will drop a new album this summer; a piece of work that he started thinking about well over a year ago.
“I’m literally trying to jump right in to the next record cycle,” is what Urie told me backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut the night he kicked off the “Death Of A Bachelor Tour” in February 2017. “I know that seems crazy, but I have a bunch of ideas that I’ve been working on for the last couple of months and I’m seriously pursuing recording them in the next month or two.”
It definitely seemed, dare I say pretty odd, that he’d already be talking about album six just as he was kicking off the tour for LP number five. But as Urie spoke more it became clear that he had a plan in place for the next twelve months.
“I want to see what else outside of music I can get in to,” he continued during our chat, which streamed live on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page. “Theater really interests me and acting really interests me. I’ve done a couple auditions a few years ago and they didn’t go so hot, so I want to try to redeem myself a little bit.”
Urie went on to do just that, starring in a run on Broadway of the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots.” On Wednesday night, the singer found himself within walking distance from Al Hirschfeld Theater. Panic! At The Disco performed its new single “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” in 30 Rock’s Studio 6B for “The Tonight Show.” As for the album, it’s called “Pray For The Wicked,” and comes out June 22. A supporting tour runs throughout North America from July 11 through mid-August.
Perhaps then we can inquire about lucky number seven.
So great to see @PanicAtTheDisco back with new music! @brendonurie told me over a year ago about this album (and in the process, his Broadway aspirations; H/T @MoheganSun). #PanicOnFallon #PrayForTheWicked #SayAmen pic.twitter.com/7pcKlpF3hI
— Ralphie Aversa (@ralphieaversa) March 22, 2018
A little over six years passed in between my last two interviews with the band All Time Low. During that stretch, I did run-in to the guys a couple of times. During a 2014 trip to Baltimore, the band’s hometown, for Derek Jeter’s last game at Camden Yards I ended up at the same bar as lead singer Alex Gaskarth. Talk about a small world: Gaskarth played a DJ set at that same venue the previous night. I was there the next day, Sunday, because it also served as Baltimore’s designated Buffalo Bills Backers Bar.
The place is owned by Alex’s bandmate Jack Barakat.
Then this past February while in Los Angeles for The GRAMMYs, I saw singer Cassadee Pope and her boyfriend, ATL drummer Rian Dawson outside of Microsoft Theater. They were chatting with friends and I was filming vignettes with Westwood One, so I just stopped briefly to say hello.
Of course, what I didn’t see was the engagement ring on Pope’s hand. Dawson popped the question that day. However a few weeks ago, the pending nuptials were reportedly called off.
Many things besides relationship statuses can change in six years. During the span in between our sit-downs, the Baltimore quartet added four studio albums to their discography and changed record labels twice. They switched up the band’s sound as well, although Gaskarth insists that the new sound has nothing to do with All Time Low’s new home at Fueled By Ramen.
“I think the change in direction of music was something that was already happening within the band,” the front man explained. “We knew we wanted to try some new things and go in some different directions on the album.”
With All Time Low’s previous deal at Hopeless Records up, the guys felt that signing with Fueled By Ramen made the most sense.
“Fueled By is rad, they always have been,” Gaskarth continued. “I love their roster now and I love what they do.
“I think the biggest part of us switching (to FBR) was that we sort of had the idea in mind that we kind of wanted to try some new things with our music, and (FBR) was all about it.”
Fueled By Ramen most notably housed Fall Out Boy and still counts Panic! At The Disco, Paramore, Twenty One Pilots and Young The Giant as a part of its roster.
“Fall Out Boy served as inspiration for us when we were younger,” Gaskarth noted. “Panic!, we kind of came up around the same time; obviously different trajectory and different path but (Brendon Urie) has been at it just as long as we have and works just as hard, if not harder than we do.”
For the three aforementioned groups, it is kind of fun to pause-and-reflect on both their longevity and evolution: FOB still headlines arenas, Panic! was nominated for a GRAMMY last year and All Time Low is charting a single at Adult Contemporary radio. Of course there have also been other acts that have come and gone not just from the label, but the scene; something ATL is cognizant of.
“Yunno, we’ve seen a lot of our friends’ bands and other bands fade out, and it’s amazing to sort of be in the other category of still being able to do it.”
And if All Time Low continues in that category for six more years, the band can celebrate a 20th anniversary.
Monday marked “National Tequila Day,” another capitalism-created “holiday” that no one would be aware of if not for a hashtag and radio DJs like myself talking incessantly about it. However for Panic! At The Disco lead singer Brendon Urie, it’s a holiday that he essentially celebrates before every Panic! performance with a double-shot.
“It just kind of kills the hyperawareness, so we’re not up there reading too many signs and I’m forgetting lyrics and stuff,” the frontman told me back in March before the band kicked off its “Death Of A Bachelor Tour” inside Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The interview originally aired on Mohegan Sun’s Facebook Live feed. “Yeah it’s nice; it just kind of kills the tension a little bit.”
Urie recalled a time before the band’s pre-show ritual of tequila when the group instead opted for whiskey.
“We all noticed on stage… this is going to sound weird but, we were on stage and we just kind of all looked at each other and we all felt grumpy,” he said while laughing about it. “Then after we got off stage we were just like, ‘Get off me!’”
After two sets, Panic! turned to tequila.
“That worked. Then it was just a party,” he noted. “It definitely makes a difference. I don’t know if it’s psychosomatic or something, but yeah.”
I assured Urie that it is normal for people to react in different ways to different liquors; knowledge I was able to secure without headlining sold-out arenas. No word if Urie is continuing the tradition during his run on Broadway but if the lead in “Kinky Boots” appears a little grumpy, perhaps now you know why.
Check the full interview below.
Panic! At The Disco is on the “Death Of A Bachelor” tour, headlining sold-out arenas across the country. But for lead singer Brendon Urie, the album cycle is basically finished.
“I’m literally trying to jump right in to the next record cycle,” the front man told me backstage at Mohegan Sun Arena before the trek’s opening night show. The interview was conducted for Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page. “I know that seems crazy but I’ve got a bunch of ideas I’ve been working on for the last couple months. I’m seriously pursuing recording them in the next month or two.”
The “Victorious” singer is also going to try his hand again at projects that don’t exclusively involve music.
“Theater really interests me and acting really interests me,” he continued. “I’ve done a couple of auditions, a few years ago, and they didn’t go so hot. So I want to try and redeem myself a little bit.”
The fact that Urie wants to branch out might be a testament to how gratifying and fulfilling the band’s latest LP was. “Bachelor” debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with the highest first-week sales for Panic! yet. It also earned Urie a “Best Rock Album” nomination at this year’s GRAMMYs.
“That was a huge milestone,” he said of the nod. “I was filled with so much happiness. I was just like, running around… did a lot of drinking that night to celebrate.
“But it was amazing, man. It’s definitely put a nice little hat-tilt to this tour.”
Speaking of drinking, Urie joked (or maybe semi-joked?) that as far as essential tour items, beer definitely makes the list. He also revealed a Panic! pre-show ritual: shots.
“We did one night where we tried whiskey,” he explained before laughing. “This is going to sound so weird but, we were on stage and we all just kind of looked at each other and we all felt grumpy.”
The remedy? A switch to double-shots of tequila. Urie said it puts the band in party-mode in part by killing the group’s “hyper-awareness.” Judging by the rave reviews that the show is receiving so far, it seems to be working.
My Thanksgiving tradition: Waking up early, walking a few blocks to Central Park West, chatting with some friends who are performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and snapping a few photos and videos the floats.
A big thanks to Macy’s along with Rachel Platten, Pat Monahan, Brendon Urie, Questlove, Shawn Mendes, Prince Royce, Trey Songz and Spongebob Squarepants.
Anytime Panic! At The Disco releases new music, it is almost always judged against the band’s 2005 debut A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Lead singer Brendon Urie has heard this a million times over, and regardless of what people think he seems happy that an audience has an opinion period.
“Either love it or hate it; but I hate the middle ground,” Urie told “The Ralphie Show” about the seemingly polarizing affect PATD’s music has since they were introduced with the super-hit “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” “That’s always going to be said; ‘We want the old stuff, we want the old sound.’”
That stated, it seems the new stuff is more on the loved than loathed side of the band’s fan base. Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die debuted at number two this week on the Billboard chart, selling 84,000 copies. It certainly is a nice ode not just to Panic’s evolving sound, but also the personal stories that Urie shared throughout the album.
“A lot of times in the past, we’d make up stories,” Urie shared about previous songwriting material. “It could have been based on something personal, but it became this exacerbated thing and just exaggerated stories and lies. That’s always fun to do, but yeah this time around I kind of had the more hip-hop thing where like it’s just more confessional.”
Urie cites Drake and Kendrick Lamar as influences, but charts his love for the genre back decades.
“I was always in to A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul and a bunch of different sounds,” Urie revealed. “It was already so eclectic in its own genre, but called the same thing.”
In addition to the storytelling, the lead singer channeled the hip-hop’s sonic diversity on PATD’s fourth album.
“This record for us is the most eclectic we’ve had so far,” Urie noted. “It’s like 80’s synth-pop and like, hip-hop influence, and some like, 80’s anthem-rock influence.”
The inspiration to continuously change was also behind the choice of “Miss Jackson” as the first radio single from the LP.
“’Miss Jackson,’ for me, sounded like nothing we’ve ever done before,” he explained. “I felt like it was the best introduction to this album.”
So while Urie conceded that there will always be hints of that rookie effort in Panic’s music (he mentioned the piano in “Casual Affair” as a specific example), don’t expect anything of the band’s to sound like A Fever again; especially with the immediate success of the recent release.
BONUS CONTENT: Panic! At The Disco performs “This Is Gospel” and “Miss Jackson” acoustically for “The Ralphie Show.”
Panic! at the Disco have added and dropped both members and the exclamation point during the band’s seven year run. The group… err… duo is back, sans two members, carrying the exclamation, and prepping to drop a new LP. The first single is called “The Ballad of Mona Lisa.”
Vices & Virtues will be released on March 29.
the vegas-based emo group dropped the exclamation point and stepped up the catchy-dance melodies.
panic returns with a cross-country trek on the honda civic tour this spring. it stops in philly this may.
“nine in the afternoon” is the first single from their sophomore effort, due out in april.
the mp3 is up to 21 spins in my itunes. i just snagged it last night.
the video premiered last night on mtv.com, and is available for your viewing-pleasure below.