Panic! at the Disco

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RPF Fandom
Name(s): Panic! at the Disco,
briefly Panic at the Disco
Scope/Focus: Core band in Bandom
Date(s): 2004-2009
See also: Fall Out Boy,The Academy Is...
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Panic! at the Disco, often abbreviated Panic!, is a pop/alternative rock band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2004.

As the first band signed to Pete Wentz's label Decaydance, Panic! is one of the core Bandom bands, and the subject of a significant amount of fanfiction. Panic! has been the solo project of Brendon Urie, the band's only remaining founding member, since 2015. Its former lineups changed significantly over the years, and included former members and colleagues of The Academy Is... and The Cab.

Fandom History

See also: Timeline of Bandom and Bandom History

2004-2006

According to fan sources, childhood friends Ryan Ross and Spencer Smith formed a band as teenagers[1], apparently going through several names and lineup changes before Brendon Urie joined in early 2004, when Wikipedia says the band formed. The first fandom heard about this band was in late 2004.

Early PATD fandom was drawn mainly from teenage fans of Fall Out Boy and other Fueled By Ramen bands. Many of the intro posts in the patd livejournal community mentioned hearing about the band from Pete Wentz's blog or FOB message boards. Others mentioned streaming site PureVolume or the FBR CD sampler. A few mentioned seeing Ryan Ross's posts promoting the band on the tightpants livejournal community.[1] No one had seen them live because the band hadn't yet gone on tour or even played many local shows. Instead, Ryan Ross, himself a teenager on the internet, had, according to legend (bandom primers), stalked Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy online to get him to listen to the band's demos. Thus, Pete Wentz decided to sign the band to his new label and became an early promoter of the band, and some fans later shipped Pete/Ryan.

In early PATD fandom, fans were active on forums, myspace, and livejournal. Some fans created fansites. Fandom had contact with the band online, leading to some fourth wall issues for fanfic fans. Many of the fansites and forums have since gone offline, myspace suffered various massive data losses, and many fans deleted their livejournal accounts after the servers moved to Russia and the TOS was changed to comply with Russian law.

patd, the first livejournal community for PATD fans, was created in December 2004 and saw massive growth over the course of 2005, especially after the band's first album came out in September. Fanfic featuring the band followed soon after. Crossover slashfic featuring Panic at the Disco members was posted as early as October 2005 in slashypunkboys.[2] In November 2005 rareslashpairs posts about Panic slash prompted other fans to comment that they had expected it.[3][4] In January 2006 someone asked slashypunkboys where to find PATD slash and was told slashatthedisco.[5] slashatthedisco, the first and largest LiveJournal community for posting PATD slash, was created in September 2005.

In 2006 many more livejournal comms were created, including pairing-specific comms for Ryan/Brendon and Ryan/Spencer (comms for other pairings were not created until 2007 or later). protecturprost8 was created as a higher quality alternative to slashatthedisco, discoattheslash was created as a non-elitest alternative to protecturprost8, and rydenfree was created in response to the perceived ubiquity of Ryan/Brendon fanfic. patdslashseek was created after slashatthedisco banned fic finding posts.

Rise of Bandom, 2006-2008

Crossover interest between PATD and other FBR bands began early, due to how the band was first advertised. However, cross-pollination of the fandom continued: PATD's first tours were with The Academy Is... and Fall Out Boy, among others. (This is also how they met future member Jon Walker, who was a guitar tech for The Academy is...) Brendon and Spencer also appeared in Fall Out Boy's 2006 music video, A Little Less Sixteen Candles, A Little More "Touch Me".

In May 2006 the original bass player, Brent Wilson, was fired (according to Brent) and replaced with Jon Walker. (It is a subject of some debate how friendly of a departure this was, though it seems to be generally agreed upon that it was not particularly planned or congenial.) At the time some fans were upset, but many more fans joined the fandom after this incident, so Brent, who had never been the most popular member, became a footnote in the band's backstory, to be used as a side character in fanfiction set in the early years of the band. Fans call the Jon Walker era of PATD Panic 2.0.

In part due to PATD's sudden mainstream fame and all these connections with other bands, adult slash fans also became interested in PATD and started damnyouwentz in March 2006, leading to the growth of Bandom as a multi-band fandom, which in turn enticed more slash fans into PATD fandom. Bandom exploded in 2007, and PATD was one of the three core bands. A lot of slash fan activity for PATD occurred on multi-band livejournal communities and challenges.

In March 2007, PATD stopped touring and secluded themselves in a Nevada cabin to write their next album. Their isolation, combined with the drugs they were doing, reportedly led to them going a little crazy and being unproductive. Cricket & Clover, the album they developed in the cabin but proceeded to scrap, is the subject of wild fan speculation. Fans started writing Cabin Fic almost immediately.

The actual second album, Pretty. Odd, came out in 2008 and was musically distinct from the first, reportedly inspired by Ryan's interest in The Beatles. Pretty. Odd was occasionally referred to by fans as "The Gay Album."

After "The Divorce"

In June of 2009, the band split. Fans often refer to this as "the divorce." Brendon and Spencer remained in Panic! at the Disco, while Ryan and Jon left and formed The Young Veins. The split was reportedly amicable, with both halves of the band wanting to go in different directions stylistically. This is not reflected in most fanworks, which typically represent the split as a bitter temporary or permanent fracturing of intense intra-band friendships and/or romantic relationships. Despite disbanding and eventually leaving the public eye, Ryan and Jon remain popular in some sections of the fandom.

The band's split broke up the fandom's most popular ship, Brendon/Ryan, but gave a boost to the Brendon/Spencer ship that lasted a few years. Brendon/Ryan has remained popular, but the participation rates in the annual Bandom Big Bang show that on livejournal at least, the band split coincided with bandom gradually losing interest in PATD. The musical shift in later PATD albums and PATD no longer being as high profile in popular culture may also have been contributing factors.

The band's third album, Vices and Virtues, was released in March of 2011. "Vices" was the first album the band released that was not primarily written by Ross. Fanfiction often represents it as being written by Urie, or Urie and Smith, but Wentz had a significant role in its writing. Fans have often interpreted the album as being almost entirely about a possible break-up with Ryan Ross, or more generally about the break-up of the band.

The loss of half the band necessitated hiring touring musicians, Ian Crawford of The Cab and Dallon Weekes, who were subsequently featured in fanfiction. Many fans shipped Brendon/Dallon. Ian left in 2012 and doesn't seem to have been as popular in fanfiction. Due to drug problems Spencer unofficially left the band after the fourth album came out in 2013 and formally left in 2015, possibly leading the Brendon/Spencer ship to lose popularity.

Fandom After LiveJournal

In the 2010s bandom fans migrated to tumblr and AO3, so some but by no means all livejournal fanfic is still accessible in 2021. Meanwhile, the general appeal of PATD lived on because the band was (is) still touring and putting out albums. Many current tumblr fans may never have had livejournal accounts.

This article or section needs expansion.

Early Band History Fanon

A detailed history of the band can be found at Wikipedia.

The band's history is "kind of mythological," likely due to its partial fictionalization, the band's fairly rapid rise to fame, and the seemingly random involvement of Pete Wentz. These stories are "probably transmitted through fanfiction" - and fans have noted that they resemble fanfiction [6]. Some of these events may be entirely fictional -"Most everyone at a certain level of involvement with Panic knows these things and no one can remember exactly how they learned them" [7] - and not all details can be verified.

Ross' voice is (typically affectionately) described in fanfiction as "shitty," which Ross agreed with in an interview [8]. According to most fan narratives, Ross decided that Urie would take over lead vocals after hearing him sing. Urie had reportedly sung in choir(s) previously, along with instruction in multiple musical instruments. According to fandom narratives, he was either too shy to request to sing instead of Ross, or genuinely unaware of his musical ability.

The band found other local bands bland, which "influenced them to be different and creative" [9]. (Note that the link in this claim's citation is broken, so its verifiability is uncertain). The band recorded "experimental" demos [10], Ross sent them to Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy via comments on Wentz's LiveJournal page, and Wentz visited the band in Las Vegas to listen to them perform. Fan narratives typically have Ross conceal his correspondence with Wentz until his visit is confirmed, and some of the band members unable to meet Wentz due to prior commitments. Wentz signed the band to Decaydance despite their lack of experience performing.

Fan narratives emphasize family drama during the band's early stages. Urie is typically on extremely bad terms with his family in this period, and for some time after. He is kicked out of his family's house, which is usually attributed to his family's devout Mormonism and Urie's experimentation with weed - or, in slash fiction, because Urie comes out or is outed to his family. Urie lives in an apartment by himself, works at a fast-food establishment typically called 'Smoothie Hut,' and struggles with finishing high school, often dropping out. Ross' father is typically characterized as an alcoholic, which has some basis in true events, as neglectful, and as physically (and often emotionally) abusive, which is not verifiable. His mother left when Ross was young, which is also difficult to verify. Ross did drop out of college after his first year, and have a subsequent falling out with his father [11].

The band going to Maryland to record their first album is also dramatized in fanfiction.

See #Themes and Tropes below.

Controversies

Multiple allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate and offensive behaviour have been made against Urie. Zack Hall and Kenneth Harris have also been the subjects of similar allegations.


2020 allegations against Urie and Hall

Two fans, who were underage at the time the events took place, have alleged that Urie sexually harassed and assaulted them, and was aware that they were underage [12] [13]. An article from The Daily Dot, "Brendon Urie accused of sexual harassment, pedophilia," is one of few, if not the only, coverage to use that term [14].

Allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct have also been made against Zack Cloud Hall in 2020, starting before the underage fans' allegations against Urie were made. Hall "has worked with Panic! since the early 2000s" and has been "a seeming gateway to all things Panic!". Allegations against Hall came after posts by Weekes. Weekes discussed Hall's actions when Weekes was in Panic!, calling them "abusive behaviour" which Hall "dismissed as 'jokes'" and saying that they "got worse" when Weekes "stopped 'playing along'"[15]. After Weekes' posts, "several fans [began] digging into Hall’s questionable history and calling for his removal from the team" [16] [17]. In addition/response to fan testimony of harassment from Hall, Weekes' wife Breezy shared that she was "subjected to" sexual harassment by Hall when Weekes was in Panic!, and that she only tolerated it "so that Dallon [Weekes] could keep his job" [18].

Past allegations

Urie has also been the cause of repeated controversy prior to the 2020 allegations. "With the rise of the new allegations, Urie's history of racist, sexist, and ableist actions, in addition to other times in which he touched someone without their consent, have come back to light" [19]. The 2020 allegations resulted in discussion of Urie's sexually inappropriate and/or aggressive actions, and other offensive behaviour. A frequently-cited thread by a now-suspended Twitter user includes sourced claims of Urie's "'slut-shaming women,' 'fetishizing bisexuality'," "slamming homosexuality," "fat shaming," and "engaging in transphobia and ableism" [20] [21].

Urie's past controversies also includes his "allegedly admitting to repeatedly sexually assaulting" (or "sexually harassing" [22], worded differently by a different source with similar content in the article) "former P!ATD member Ryan Ross" [23].

Urie was also accused of using drugs to sexually assault an ex-girlfriend, although she rescinded the allegations after harassment from Panic! fans. This incident is not widely known, and appears to have been absent from the 2020 discussion of Urie's actions. However, it was (less prominently) spread by beachdeath, a prominent Tumblr user and founder of The Niche, in response to news of Urie's collaboration with Taylor Swift years before.

Kenneth Harris was dismissed from the band in 2018 following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct involving underage fans.[24], which Urie called "a personal matter" in his tweet announcing Harris' dismissal [25].

Fan responses to controversy

Fan discourse and online campaigns

Fan responses to the 2020 allegations, and the discussion of Urie's past actions, have been mixed. It appears that bandom opinion has mostly turned against Urie, but that is difficult to ascertain.

The allegations against Hall were met with fan campaigns for Urie to "speak up" [26] and for Hall to be fired. They included the Twitter hashtags #firezackhall and #brendonuriespeakup, the Twitter account @firezackhall (since deactivated) [27], Carrds [28] [29], and a petition [30].

Allegations against Urie, and the rediscovery and discussion of his history of inappropriate and offensive behaviour, resulted in Urie's fall from some fans' favour, and the Twitter hashtag #BrendonUrieIsOverParty [31]. (That hashtag had been previously used for other Urie-related controversies, but this specific instance is worth noting.)


Other fans have attempted to discredit the allegations against Urie. This includes the Twitter hashtag #WeStandWithBrendonUrie [32] - and the conclusion by the Meaww article's writer that Urie is innocent. A small handful of other fans accused the alleged victims of falsifying their claims[33], claiming that Urie's accuser(s)' stories were similar to certain Panic! fanfiction(s), that the show(s) the accuser(s) attended were in fact 18+, and that the accuser(s)' Twitter accounts seemed false and too similar to each other, and were only established to make false claims and subject Urie to controversy. In "one Reddit thread" relating to the allegations, "many users defend[ed] the singer, saying his behavior has been taken too seriously" [34].

Bandom/RPF-related responses

Fan production of Panic! fanfiction on Ao3 is significantly slower than it was during Panic!'s bandom heyday and its early 2010s revival. Not enough Panic! fanfiction is being produced to analyze the impact of the allegations on Urie's bandom presence. However, some recent Ryden fanfics have been edited after their writers became aware of the 2020 allegations, to feature disclaimers that the author condones Urie's actions.

Bandom fans on Tumblr have exhibited a strong, but not universal, tendency to couple their renouncement of Urie with support and appreciation of Ross. Fans emphasize Ross' contributions to Panic!'s early lyrics, aesthetics, and sound, and mock Urie both for his actions and for what is presented as a degradation of Panic!'s artistic merit into grating commercialized pop.

Urie's attempts to kiss Ross onstage elicited mainly positive responses in bandom, up until fairly recent quotes from Urie caused those instances of "stage gay" to be reconsidered in the context of sexual assault and harassment. Some fans condemned Urie then, but not as emphatically as is common now.

Band Members

Current Members

  • Brendon Urie – lead vocals, guitar, bass, piano, keyboards (2004–present)

Former Members

  • Brent Wilson – bass (2004–2006)
  • Ryan Ross – lead guitar, vocals, keyboards (2004–2009)
  • Jon Walker – bass, guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, bells (2006–2009)
  • Spencer Smith – drums, percussion (2004–2015)
  • Dallon Weekes - bass, backing vocals (2010-2015)

Touring Members

  • Eric Ronick – keyboards, backing vocals (2006–2008)
  • Bartram Nason – cello, keyboard, electric drums (2006)
  • Ian Crawford – lead guitar, backing vocals (2009-2012)
  • Dallon Weekes - bass, backing vocals (2009-2010, 2015-2017)
  • Kenneth Harris – lead guitar, backing vocals (2013–2018)
  • Dan Pawlovich – drums, percussion (2013–present)
  • Nicole Row - bass, backing vocals (2018-present)
  • Mike Naran - guitar, backing vocals (2018-present)

Fanworks

Pairings

Panic ship popularity on AO3, 2010-2020

Panic! pairings are most often slash, focusing on combinations of Panic!'s second lineup (Urie, Ross, Smith, and Walker).

Brendon/Ryan is the most popular pairing[35]. The prominence of Ryden was especially high in early bandom and in LiveJournal communities like slashatthedisco.

Brendon/Spencer is also popular, and increased in popularity and intensity after the band's "divorce." Brendon/Dallon, or "Brallon," is somewhat popular, likely due to Weekes' comparatively long stay in the band and some "stage gay" with Urie.

Panic! GSF, featuring the band's second lineup, is not uncommon. [36]

Spencer/Jon is a relatively common side pairing in Ryden fanfic. As a main pairing, it is not very popular, and works focusing on "Joncer" tend to be shorter and less serious. Sarah Urie, nee Orzechowski, is occasionally shipped with Brendon Urie. Due to bandom's strong interest in "bandslash," Past Sarah/Brendon, or a Sarah/Brendon breakup, is more likely. Panic! members are occasionally shipped with members of other bands, typically from the Fueled By Ramen/Decaydance part of bandom. Pete/Ryan is a good example of this.[37]

Themes and Tropes

  • High School AUs are quite popular, likely because Panic!'s members knew each other at that age and Ross and Smith went to school together.

There are also several college AUs.

    • High school AUs often address members' relationships with their families, focusing on Ross and Urie. Common elements include abusive/neglectful/alcoholic parents (Ross), religious and homophobic family (Urie), getting kicked out/disowned (Urie), occasional support from supportive friends' families (typically Smith's mother Ginger), and bullying. Wilson is frequently a minor character.
  • Coffee shop AUs are common, in which Jon works as a barista at Starbucks and Brendon at Smoothie Hut, since both of them actually held those jobs in the past.
  • Cabin fic refers to stories set during the time the band went and locked themselves away in a cabin in the woods to (try to) write an album. These stories often involve a significant amount of drug use.
  • Quite often real pets are mentioned in fic - it seems to be a lot more common in bandom than in some other fandoms, possibly because so many of them talk about how awesome their dogs are in interviews and on Twitter.
    • Examples include Ryan's dog Hobo and Jon's cat Dylan
  • Divorce fic deals with the aftermath of the split between Brendon&Spencer and Jon&Ryan, either as fix-it fic in which they reconcile, or as a subject of angst.

A 2007 list of Panic slash tropes posted to slashypunkboys: 67 Things There Will Always Be in Panic!Slash, Archived version

Fanwork Examples

Fan Art

Fanfiction

Fannish Resources

Fanwork Archives

Communities

Footnotes

  1. ^ Ryan Ross posted pictures of himself wearing tight pants several times in late 2004. untitled post by ex_i_amcland189, 2004-10-09, Archived version, untitled post by ex_i_amcland189, 2004-10-24, Archived version, i have a dirty bathroom. post by ex_i_amcland189, 2004-11-02, i bit my tongue and now its bleeding. post by ex_i_iamcland189, 2004-11-17, Archived version
  2. ^ The Only Difference Between Sins And Tragedies Is Press Coverage, posted by slash_sucks in slashypunkboys, 2005-10-18. (accessed 30 May 2021)
  3. ^ untitled post in rareslashpairs by fluxy_2535, Archived version, 2005-11-20. Said one commenter: "i knew there would be panic! slash sooner or later."
  4. ^ An early community promo for slashatthedisco: untitled post in rareslashpairs by aisu_mouko, Archived version, 2005-11-10. Said one commenter: "aaah, the inevitable."
  5. ^ https://slashypunkboys.livejournal.com/2567362.html
  6. ^ https://ifunny.co/picture/when-brendon-joined-the-band-he-was-gonna-just-play-02XxbFoN4
  7. ^ https://oneweekoneband.tumblr.com/post/131962779664/originsmyths-etc-the-story-goes-that-panic-at
  8. ^ https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/panic-at-the-discos-ryan-ross-loves-queen-and-accordions-113523/#ixzz3nRkMWlp1
  9. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fever_You_Can%27t_Sweat_Out
  10. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fever_You_Can%27t_Sweat_Out
  11. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/5305362.stm
  12. ^ https://blogs.psychcentral.com/celebrity/2020/08/11372/
  13. ^ https://www.distractify.com/p/brendon-urie-controversy
  14. ^ https://www.dailydot.com/irl/brendon-urie-sexual-harassment-pedophilia/
  15. ^ https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/why-some-fans-think-panic-at-the-disco-singer-brendon-urie-is-problematic.html/
  16. ^ https://secondsocietyreport.com/fans-urge-brendon-urie-to-fire-zack-hall-amid-misconduct-allegations/
  17. ^ https://meaww.com/fire-zack-hall-panic-at-the-disco-security-guard-sexual-harassment-allegations-fan-reactions
  18. ^ https://twitter.com/sierrasaintx/status/1287354229213069314?s=20
  19. ^ https://www.distractify.com/p/brendon-urie-controversy
  20. ^ https://www.distractify.com/p/brendon-urie-controversy
  21. ^ https://meaww.com/brendon-urie-is-over-party-canceled-panic-at-the-disco-problematic-past-sexual-assault-minor-racist
  22. ^ https://www.distractify.com/p/brendon-urie-controversy
  23. ^ https://meaww.com/brendon-urie-is-over-party-canceled-panic-at-the-disco-problematic-past-sexual-assault-minor-racist
  24. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panic!_at_the_Disco
  25. ^ https://www.altpress.com/news/panic-at-the-disco-touring-guitarist-misconduct-allegations/
  26. ^ https://www.distractify.com/p/brendon-urie-controversy
  27. ^ https://twitter.com/firezackhall
  28. ^ https://firezackhall.carrd.co
  29. ^ https://zackhall.carrd.co
  30. ^ https://www.change.org/p/panic-at-the-disco-fire-zack-cloud-hall
  31. ^ https://meaww.com/brendon-urie-is-over-party-canceled-panic-at-the-disco-problematic-past-sexual-assault-minor-racist
  32. ^ https://meaww.com/brendon-urie-sexual-misconduct-assault-allegations-social-media-twitter-fans-stand
  33. ^ These claims will not be linked to, due to ethical concerns.
  34. ^ https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/why-some-fans-think-panic-at-the-disco-singer-brendon-urie-is-problematic.html/
  35. ^ on AO3, with three times as many Brendon/Ryan works (3364) as the next most popular pairing, Brendon/Spencer (1168) works. (Counts retrieved 11 September 2018)
  36. ^ Examples of Panic! GSF include rossetti's Existing Unknowing. 27 January 2008. (Accessed 1 February 2011.) AU example: queensheep's Golden Apples. 23 September 2008. (Accessed 2 April 2012.) More examples: stepps's Masterlist: Panic Group Sex Fic. Last updated: 16 August 2010. (Accessed 2 April 2012.)
  37. ^ See, for example, wearemany's The Mirror Stage. 18 May 2008. (Accessed 1 February 2011.)