Panic! at the Disco
There was a time when music from Las Vegas conjured up images of Liberace, the cape-wearing Elvis, and the sound of drum rolls that accompanied showgirls as they kicked up their gams and flung off their garments. Despite this shtick working its magic on the Strip, the first germ of the idea of what would become Panic At the Disco was planted by two kids oblivious to everything but the sounds of Blink-182 heard on strip mall loudspeakers in the distant suburbs surrounding Sin City. Cofounders Ryan Ross (guitar) and Spencer Smith (drums) eventually pulled in a few more of their high school pals (Brendon Urie and Brent Wilson) to complete the lineup. They experimented with original songs (as practiced in Spencer's grandmother's living room), nearly half of which would end up on their debut release, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out. How did the music industry track down these innovative suburban high school talents? After hearing that Pete Wentz, bass player for the emo success story Fall Out Boy, was starting a new label, guitarist Ryan sent him a link to their website. Amazingly, after a few sampled tracks, this e-mailed URL led to being signed to Wentz's Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen records in 2005. Panic! At the Disco stand out amidst their labelmates by incorporating rapid-fire synths and drum machines into their high-energy melodies, along with not-so-rock 'n' roll instruments like a Vaudevillian piano and accordion.