Hot off a platinum-selling debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and MTV’s Video of the Year award (for the hit “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”), Panic! guitarist Ryan Ross talks about life as a newly minted rock star.
ON THAT UNUSUAL NAME The band [guitarist Ross, 20; singer Brendon Urie, 19; bassist Jon Walker, 21; and drummer Spencer Smith, 19] was playing with Panic! At the Disco and Burn Down the Disco, which is a lyric from “Panic,” a song by the Smiths. We just decided on Panic! for whatever reason. We like to try to make up more interesting stories about it sometimes.
ON THEIR LONG SONG TITLES A lot of them come from favorite quotes from books or movies. Like “Lying Is the Most Fun” is a quote by Natalie Portman in the movie Closer.
ON THEIR MUSICAL GENRE We’re not pop or punk or emo. I think emo takes itself too seriously. How overly dramatic is a line like “You stabbed me in the heart and I’m bleeding”? Our lyrics are definitely not very sad. They’re more angry and sarcastic.
ON THEIR THEATRICAL LIVE SHOWS At our concerts, we try to create a musical onstage. When I go home to Las Vegas, I try to go to a couple of shows. One of my goals is to create something like Cirque du Soleil.
ON BEING LABELED A HOT BOY BAND It’s such a bum-out when people only have a poster of you because you’re good-looking. The Backstreet Boys’ songs were cheesy. They could sing, but nobody really liked them for their music. That waters down what’s important. I think we’re gonna start covering our faces.