The emo-baroque pop project, Panic! at the Disco, was formed in 2004 by longtime friends Brendan Urie, Ryan Ross, Spencer Smith and Brent Wilson. While still in high school, they started playing Blink-182 covers, but soon began recording their own original songs.
The group debuted with the 2005 release of A fever that you can’t sweatthrowing them into the pop-punk spotlight, visible only to fans through a luscious layer of emo bangs.
Soon everyone with a new Splat hair color and fingerless gloves knew the band, Panic! At the disco. But what does this name mean? Why all this panic? The music isn’t even disco.
Origin of the name
Some believe the name comes from the Smiths’ 1987 song, “Panic.” The chorus features Morrissey happily singing the line burn the disco.
However, the group’s leader, Urie, has since explained that the name was taken from a more obscure group. A lesser known emo band from the late 90s called Name Taken. The band also had a song called “Panic”, and their version contains the lines: Panic at the disco / Sit down and it’s so slow / Are you nervous? / Are you shaking?
Name Taken originally played as All That’s Left until they found out it was already taken, so they were forced to get creative. In the same vein as Panic! at Disco, Name Taken was formed by childhood friends as they began making and playing music together in eighth grade.
Listen to the song that inspired the band’s name below.
Panic! At the disco today
Today, Urie kept Panic! living as a solo project since the band members began to slowly drift apart. Since 2015, Urie has released three records under the band name with the most recent release, long live revengefall in August.
“long live revenge is a throwback to who I was 17 years ago and who I am now with the bent that I didn’t have before,” Urie said of the album, looking back at the band’s evolution. “I hadn’t realized I was making an album and there was something about the tape recorder that kept me honest.”
In September, Panic! at the Disco have embarked on a world tour in support of the new album.
(Photo by Debra L. Rothenberg/Getty Images)