By Shana Naomi Krochmal
Panic at the Disco, four barely legal guys more concerned with making music than impressing anyone with their masculinity, have never seemed very interested in hedging their bets with safe styling or simplified pop songs.
They chased Fall Out Boy's Pete Wentz online until he gave in and started a record label in order to sign them. It was a good gamble: Their 2005 debut, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, sold 1.7 million copies, primarily on the strength of 'I Write Sins Not Tragedies,' the band's inescapable single that berated cheaters who 'haven't heard of closing the goddamned door.' Then they toured with such a flamboyant and sexual stage show that even Rolling Stone was compelled to ask singer Brendon Urie and guitarist Ryan Ross if they were dating.
Panic's bass player, Jon Walker, and drummer Spencer Smith talked with Out about the band's sophomore release, Pretty. Odd., their boyhood sleepovers and how much they wouldn't care if all the rumors were actually true.
Out: The video for 'Build God, Then We'll Talk' was one of the most awesomely perverse things I've ever seen.
Jon Walker: The pornomime!
Spencer Smith: We love that video.
Walker: We weren't even planning on releasing that as a single.
Smith: I don't even think it could get played on MTV, so it ended up just an internet release. But YouTube's bigger than anything in the world anyway. We never get asked about it!
Am I going to love the new one for "Nine in the Afternoon" as much? Is it as kinky?
Smith: It's not as kinky.
Walker: It's not as sexual in the sense that there's no mime having mimed sex with a decently hot girl.
Smith: It's definitely the most interactive video that we've ever been in. In the first couple videos we made, Brendon was really the only person in it.
Walker: We're all in this one equally. And there are more colors in it than we've ever seen.
Smith: More sets. More time spent filming than any of the other videos had the budget for before.
How would you describe the look?
Walker: Pretty... Pretty odd.
Smith: [Smiling] Pretty odd.
Walker: You'll have to see it.
Your last tour included a script where Brendon referred to Ryan as his lover and then chased him across the stage, trying to kiss him. Someone at Logo even called it the gayest stage show they had ever seen.
Smith: That's awesome. I guess a lot of bands we like, they just had more interesting stage shows. It seems that a lot of things get thrown into that type of view if it's not the most masculine thing. We just don't like going on stage with skull bandanas and ripped jeans and cut-off t-shirts showing off our muscles.
Walker: We don't have any.
Smith: We don't have any! That's the problem. We can't do that.