Panic! At the Disco plunges into Vegas decadence
By David Self Newlin
The Salt Lake TribuneFirst published Jan 10 2014 01:01AM
Brendon Urie was lead singer for a platinum-selling rock band before he was 20 years old and had a record deal before the band had even played a show. That was almost 10 years ago, but Panic! At the Disco’s singer still talks about music with the excitement you might expect from a teenager on a rocket to the top of the charts.
"I love it. I still love it," he told The Tribune. "I would never give it up."
Panic! just released its fourth album, "Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" an homage to Urie’s glittering hometown of Las Vegas. It’s a pop album, perhaps the biggest change in the band’s overtly theatrical rock sound since sophomore album "Pretty. Odd." The band takes the stage at In The Venue in Salt Lake City on Friday, Jan. 17.
"Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!" is all about the seedy glamour of Vegas, The Strip, the casinos, the drugs and the sex that come along with it. Even the title is a reference to Hunter S. Thompson’s classic "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." It’s a mixture of carefree decadence on tracks like "Vegas Lights," confusing love triangles on "Girls/Girls/Boys," and the torture of addiction on "This Is Gospel."
"Every song on this record was from a very honest place," Urie said. "I felt like this time around was the first time I could be honest about my past, really, and confront things that had been plaguing my conscience for so long."
This time around, the band has help from Salt Lake native Dallon Weekes, the man behind The Brobecks, one of Salt Lake’s more successful local bands. Weekes officially joined Panic! in 2010 while touring with the band as a supporting figure, and recorded bass and vocals on the latest album.
Aside from both being from the West, Urie and Weekes share a Mormon background. While Urie left the religion early on, before Panic! recorded its first album and launched its first tour, he said Weekes is still an active member of the LDS Church.
"Dallon is a funny dude," Urie said. "He’s always there to help out with whatever. It’s really fun to have someone else who came from a place of creativity and writing stuff to help out instead of just hiring somebody to just kind of sit up onstage."