Panic! at the Disco went from a group of teenagers who'd written only three songs and never played a live show to the biggest new rock band in America. Their secret: Put together a band the way you'd create a MySpace page and let the kids run wild.
By JENNY ELISCU
Rolling Stone Cover Story, January 23, 2007
Ryan Ross bought his C55 Mercedes three months ago, but it's been parked in his Las Vegas garage ever since. When the Panic! at the Disco guitarist climbs behind the wheel, cues up Tom Waits' new Orphans collection and starts pushing buttons on the navigation system, he's still not sure how it all works. Ross is searching downtown Vegas for Panic's favorite local sandwich chain, Port of Subs, to grab a quick bite before the second-to-last show on the band's arena tour: a sold-out concert at the Orleans Hotel & Casino for 7,500 fans, their families, friends and three-quarters of Fall Out Boy, who flew in from Los Angeles to see their proteges' biggest hometown gig yet. Later tonight, Ross, 20, will face the crowd dressed as a gothed-out Oliver Twist, black liner fanning from his right eye like a tangle of tree branches and a newsboy cap covering his thick brunet quiff. But it won't be Ross' first time onstage at the Orleans: Two and a half years ago, he was here in a gown and mortarboard for his high school graduation.
When Ross walks into a strip-mall Port of Subs with drummer Spencer Smith and singer Brendon Urie, both 19, the shop is empty except for two cold-cut slingers, neither of whom recognizes the three local celebrities clamoring to upgrade to combo meals when they hear that Rolling Stone is picking up the tab. A few bites into his sandwich -- "the Pilgrim," with turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing -- Ross rubs his jaw and notes that his wisdom teeth are coming in. After listening to Smith and Urie discuss how generous a helping one ought to get when one requests "extra mayo and mustard," Ross remarks that the Pilgrim is his second Port of Subs sandwich since this morning. When Urie says he's only on his first, Ross is befuddled: "What have you been doing all day?"
"I had to pack my Dior case," Urie answers, as if it were the most normal thing in the world for a teenager shoveling five-dollar fast food into his mouth to have a $1,500 bag from a Parisian couture designer. "And then I cleaned my room. Because it was starting to smell.".........