Convinced that the most interesting thing about Panic! at the Disco is the band's on-again, off-again relationship with the exclamation mark? Wrong! Here are five things that you probably don't know about the group, featuring founder and sole original member Brendon Urie!! Catch Panic! At the Disco, which played the Commodore its last swing through town, when it graduates to Rogers Arena on Saturday (August 11)!!!
Go Your Own Way. Urie—a lapsed Mormon who’s been married since 2013—caused quite a sensation when he came out as pansexual earlier this year. Making him a role model for kids everywhere but Utah, he has been traditionally open about his sexual life. The subject was broached in 2013's “Girls/Girls/Boys” where he sang "Girls love girls and boys/ And never did I think that I could be caught in the way you got me/ But girls love girls and boys/ And love is not a choice.” That year Urie, who had his first threesome at age 16, told NPR that no one can control which sex they are attracted to. "A lot of times people want to label something just to make themselves feel comfortable,” he said. “They wanna call this person gay or this person straight. I have had similar experience with homosexuality, with bisexuality, and that's something I feel comfortable talking about. It's not something anyone should have to hide, and that goes along with the message of the song, that it's important to know who you are, to be able to be proud of that, and have the courage behind your convictions. People can say whatever they want; it doesn't matter unless you let it affect you. That's an important lesson I had to learn with the band.”
A job to do. The romantic notion of doing something creative for a living—whether it’s writing songs or dreaming up porno scripts—is that it’s all fun and debauchery. You get up in the morning, open a bottle of Jack, cut a half-dozen lines, and then end up off the races. The reality is that devoting yourself to being creative takes discipline, something that Urie discovered after guitarist and songwriter Ryan Ross left the group in 2009 after musical differences. Taking the reins as the creative brain of a hitmaking band wasn’t easy, he told Pop Matters back in 2011. Making things worse was that a cloak of depression had descended. “I guess in the beginning the hardest thing was just getting up and writing every day,” he said. “There are those days that everybody has, you don't want to get out of bed, you're just like, ‘I'm not going to do it today, I'm just going to sit here and watch Jersey Shore’ or whatever. So you pick those days to be like ‘Alright, I've got to get up. I have to get up today.’ I took the encouragement of everybody behind me.”
Viddy well. Not that we endorse home invasions, drinking milk in bars, or tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him bleeding real horrorshow, but goddamn we love A Clockwork Orange. Turns out we’re not alone, as original Panic drummer told Rolling Stone in 2012 that the Stanley Kubrick/Anthony Burgess classic set the visual template for the band early on, especially Urie’s penchant for bowler hats and pancake makeup.
"What a beautiful wedding". Urie might have launched his career as an emo icon—think streaming mascara and teenage angst—but the performer’s personal life is much more endearing. Marrying his wife Sarah Orzechowski in 2013, the singer decided to use his lyrical talents to dazzle guests as he stood at the altar. Writing his wedding vows in the form of a song, Urie later turned his short speech into a piano-ballad, “The End of All Things.” The song was released on the band’s fourth album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, which signalled Urie’s renewed appreciation of the exclamation mark.
Trans-formation. Boasting a vocal range that would make a eunuch jealous, Urie put his singing prowess to the test as the star of the cross-dressing musical, Kinky Boots. A born showman, the Broadway role was a natural progression for the entertainer, whose performances with Panic! at the Disco typically include plenty of theatricality. Telling Rolling Stone that the role had been on his “bucket list for the longest time”, Urie was so sensational in the production that Panic fans would reportedly stand outside the stage doors for hours after the show to catch a glimpse of the singer—and to scream insufferably in his face. Deciding halfway through the run that he could no longer greet people after the show, he chose to take a more reclusive approach to his post-stage routine; an act that led to his signed handbills becoming a sought-after collectible among fans.