Pop-punk band Panic! at the Disco have made waves for their bold stylistic choices and their numerous membership changes since its debut. These changes might leave fans wondering why the band broke up when it did.
Panic! at the Disco broke up in 2009, much to fans dismay, after guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker left over differing views over the band’s future musical direction. According to MTV’s interviews with the band members, they broke up over creative differences.
Lead vocalist Brendon Urie leaned towards more of a polished pop sound while the former members wanted more of a retro-rock energy. When one looks into the popular band’s lineup changes over the years, it is clear how these changes impacted Panic! at the Disco’s sound and discography.
Panic! at the Disco’s debut album, ‘A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,’ was met with mixed critical reviews but took the musical world but storm anyway. The young rock group was eventually met with commercial success, especially with the single, ‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies.’
‘I Write Sins Not Tragedies’ won MTV’s Music Video of The Year Award in 2005. It features frontman Brendon Urie enthusiastically critiquing wedding party members in a top hat and red jacket.
You can watch the eye-catching music video below:
The debut album also featured unique song titles including, ‘Lying Is The Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off’ and ‘The Only Difference Between Martyrdom and Suicide Is Press Coverage.’
At the time, the band consisted of bassist Brent Wilson and bandmates Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith, and Brendon Urie. Brent Wilson was soon replaced with Jon Walker.
Brent Wilson’s departure was not entirely cordial.
According to social media posts made by the remaining band members of Panic! at the Disco, the split was amicable. However, Brent Wilson described things differently.
In a quote from MTV, Brent Wilson said, “It was 100 percent a surprise to me. We were about to leave for a show in California, and they called me the night before and told me I was out of the band. The only reason they gave was that it was for ‘musical purposes.’”
The remaining band members later claimed that the split was due to Wilson’s inability to play some of the more complicated bass lines in their songs. Whatever the reason, Panic! at the Disco continued with Jon Walker on bass.
In addition to a bassist change, the band switched up their sound for their next album, ‘Pretty. Odd.’ In comparison to their first album’s theatrical Vaundeville inspirations, ‘Pretty. Odd.’ invoked comparisons to The Beatles.
Band member Ryan Ross said of the tonal shift, “We still try to write the smartest lyrics possible, just in a different way, and the best melodies possible, just in a different way. And I hope people can hear that.”
The band also dropped the exclamation point from their name, but that wasn’t the only change on the horizon for Panic at the Disco.
Vocalist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith became the only remaining original band members in Panic at the Disco.
The band then released its third album, ‘Vices & Virtues,’ in 2011, a more pop-inspired undertaking. The band toured with bassist Dallon Weekes and guitarist Ian Crawford.
As for Ian Crawford, he left the band in 2012. He posted on Twitter that he left because, in his words, “Sorry, but I want to bring back real, genuine music. I don’t wanna get rich or die trying.”
Later, original band member and drummer Spencer Smith would also leave Panic at the Disco. He opened up with fans about his struggle with addiction and left the band to focus on his recovery.
The final album that Spencer Smith recorded with Panic at the Disco was the band’s fourth studio album, ‘Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!’
Panic at the Disco then transitioned into being a solo project of the final remaining band member, frontman Brendon Urie. He has continued releasing music as Panic at the Disco, just as a more solitary creative venture.