By Brian Ives
Panic! At The Disco is spending their summer on the road with Weezer. Like most of his peers, Panic! frontman Brendon Urie is a huge fan of Rivers Cuomo’s band, and he still seems shocked to find himself on the bill with them.
“It’s so crazy to think about touring with Weezer,” he tells Radio.com. “Because that’s a band that I grew up with. ‘The Blue Album’ and Pinkerton were huge for me; I learned how to play drums and guitar to those records. And they hold such a special place for me.”
Besides the fact that he’s a Weezer fan, Urie is happy to play in front of audiences that may not be totally familiar with Panic! “It’s kinda why I love playing festivals too; there’s something about having to prove yourself. People that came to see Weezer, I wanna see what kind of reaction I can get from them. I wanna pull some kind of visceral reaction. I wanna shock people, I wanna impress people.”
Urie recently spoke with Radio.com about another time when he played in front of someone else’s audience when he made a surprise appearance during Halsey’s set at Coachella. He says that his music tastes expand from pop to alternative rock, and far beyond that.
“My music library is all over the place. I’ve got A$AP Rocky, I’ve got Billy Joel. I’ve got like Celine Dion albums that I just worship. There’s all kinds of different stuff, When I was coming up, it wasn’t a weird thing [to like rock and pop]. You didn’t have this hatred from people if you liked pop and you liked this underground stuff. It was more like, ‘Oh, wow, you like this? That’s so cool.’ The broader that your music tastes were, the cooler it was. If you liked NSYNC, and then you also liked Leonard Cohen, it was cool.”
He notes that he’s influenced by a lot of ’90s rock and punk bands, including Nirvana and Fugazi, he’s not worried about making music that would have appealed to the members of those bands. “When I think about bands that I worship and worshipped when I was younger, if I think, ‘Would they approve of this?’ then I probably wouldn’t be happy with half the stuff I’d written. So it has to come from a place of, ‘Am I happy with what I’ve written, but how can I use the stuff that I worship as influence for something new, unique, and exciting?'”
He also doesn’t get hung up on the expectations of his fans, either; particularly on the matter of the band’s lineup. These days, Urie is the only permanent member of the band. “Our first split was back in 2009 [right]? That was the first time I felt, ‘OK, I’m taking the reins, now I get to really jump into that world of I get to do whatever I want, and let’s see how far I can take this.'”
“And then that just kind of progressed further. I just started doing more and more stuff that no one could question it, or have too much of an opinion, because it was like, ‘No, this is what I’m doing.’ I had full say, and I could delegate to whoever, facilitate certain friends to do certain things, and it just made it more fun. That’s always what I wanted to do, that’s how I started writing. That’s how I taught myself certain instruments. So I was kind of going back to that roots movement that I was starting with. But there was something about just the first time that the band stopped being the original four, it was just like, ‘All right, I’m doing my own thing.'”
Of course, as many artists, from Axl Rose to Billy Corgan have learned, fans tend to be partial to a band’s original lineup.
“Oh, yeah. People love bands. I still constantly get stuff. It doesn’t bother me, because I can’t change what they say or what they think, and if that makes them feel more comfortable to live in that past moment, then so be it, cool. It’s all good, whatever makes you happier. It doesn’t dictate how I write or what I’m gonna do. If that did, I probably wouldn’t be happy with half the stuff I’d written. So yeah, if you wanna live in 2007, live in 2007, bro, but at least come to the show and check it out for yourself. We’re still gonna play all the oldies.”
Catch Panic! At The Disco on tour with Weezer through August, check Eventful for dates.