After 19 Years, Brendon Urie Announces the end of Panic! At The Disco

After 19 years of touring, Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco has announced that he will be stepping away from the group due to life events.

Panic! At The Disco
Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco, Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images.

Panic! At The Disco came onto the alternative scene in 2004, born out of Las Vegas by childhood friends Brendon Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brent Wilson. What essentially was a blink-182 cover band turned into something more as Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy heard a demo tape Urie sent him. They got a deal with Wentz’s Decaydance Records and developed with Urie on vocals, Ross on bass/guitar, as well as being the main songwriter, Wilson on guitar, and Smith on drums.

Their first record in 2005 A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out saw the second single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” catapult to the top of the charts, and the album was certified triple platinum. In 2006, Wilson was fired after a world tour and replaced by Jon Walker. In 2007, the band arrived at a cabin in the rural mountains of Mount Charleston, Nevada, and began writing for the record Cricket and Clover. Eventually, the album was scrapped, although Ross said it was almost done, and they started over. “We wanted to approach these songs in the most basic form,” Ross said. “We wrote them all on one acoustic guitar and with someone singing.” The band, now with a new sound, released the folk indie record Pretty Odd. in 2008, with the upbeat and nostalgic song “Nine In The Afternoon.” This sound was favored by Walker and Ross, but not by Urie and Smith.

In April 2009 the group was finishing off a tour circuit for Pretty Odd., and their shows in Cape Town, South Africa proved to be the breaking point for Ross and Walker, who subsequently left the group after. The big question for fans is what happened in Cape Town to cause this. Ross seemingly answers the questions in his song “Cape Town” by the group The Young Veins, which also had Walker on guitar. Ross sings “I got lost in Cape Town, in Cape Town/I saw you, I met you/I loved you, I left you in Cape Town,” answering that he had a short-lived fling there, and was emotionally devastated. As well as butting heads with Urie over creative decisions, he called it quits, with Walker leaving alongside him.

panic! at the disco
Ross (left) and Urie (right) onstage.

Now the group, consisting of Smith and Urie, had to figure out what to do next. They recorded and released the song “New Perspective” for the movie Jennifer’s Body. They recruited bassist Dallon Weekes and guitarist Ian Crawford as touring musicians for live performances. Weekes became an official member in 2010 and helped write and record the 2011 record Vices and Virtues. The tour had an over-the-top production and saw Crawford leaving the group after. Urie started to operate as a solo artist as he diverged to recording a song with Fun called “C’mon” in 2011, and the track “Mercenary,” for the video game Batman: Arkham City.

He came back to the group to write and record the 2013 record Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die! Weekes wrote a lot of the music on the record, showing he was a viable member of the group. Trouble began to occur as Smith was battling a heavy addiction to pills and alcohol, writing a letter to fans. He toured for the album cycle with Fall Out Boy before leaving midway to “continue fighting addiction.” Urie posted on the band’s website in 2013 that “It’s become evident that Spencer still needs more time to take care of himself. I can’t expect him to be fighting addiction one minute and be fully immersed in a national tour the next. With that said, the tour will continue without Spencer while he is away getting the help he needs.” On the record he sings “This Is Gospel,” which is about Smith’s addiction and wanting the best for him.

Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith
Brendon Urie and Spencer Smith in 2011, Andy Kropa/Getty Images.

Smith officially left the band in 2015 despite not touring since 2013. In that same month, Urie announced a new record was in the works, turning into the record Death of a Bachelor. The record debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, and it was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Panic! At The Disco toured with Weezer in 2016 for the record, and Weekes announced his departure from the group in 2017.

Since departing, fans have speculated as to the reason why. He did start a new band immediately after leaving called I Don’t Know How But They Found Me and continues to make music with the group, comprised of him and Falling In Reverse’s Ryan Seamon. Breezy Weekes, Dallon’s wife, tweeted in 2020 about Panic!’s bodyguard, Zach Cloud Hall, and his inappropriate behavior.

Hall himself tweeted about keeping fans’ inappropriate photos as his screensaver, as well as writing sexual things about Dallon Weekes himself in tweets. Brendon Urie came under fire for not firing Hall, however, he was quick to kick out touring member Kenneth Harris for inappropriately messaging fans on Snapchat in 2018. Weekes also was made fun of for being Mormon, and always the butt of jokes by Urie, which contributed to his departure.

Brendon Urie has also come under fire for racist remarks and for saying inappropriate things onstage. A video surfaced of him in 2011 onstage saying he was going to have sex with fans, whether they liked it or not. He has also been seen singing racial slurs in videos and saying transphobic things.

Despite all the drama surrounding the group, Panic! went on to release Pray For The Wicked, featuring “High Hopes,” which became the highest-placing single from the band, becoming number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2022, the band released their final album, Viva Las Vengeance. They embarked on a U.S. tour supporting the record, and Urie made an announcement on January 24 saying he is going to be leaving the group, which over the years became a solo act for Urie, as he was the only official member.

He said in a statement “Well it’s been a hell of a journey…I am going to bring this chapter of my life to an end and put my focus and energy on my family.” He announced his wife Sarah is pregnant with their first child, which was accidentally leaked by Pete Wentz last month in a photo he posted on Instagram, but then deleted right after fans saw Urie and his wife in a photo of her with a pregnancy belly.

The final tour begins in Vienna on Feb. 20 and concludes in Manchester, England on March 10. Urie has not said if he will release music as a solo act, but for the time being he will be focusing on raising his child. Despite the controversies surrounding the group and its members, Panic! At The Disco left a mark on the emo/alternative scene that will last for years to come.

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