A little more than a week ago, Panic! at the Disco guitarist Ryan Ross was at the 2006 Video Music Awards, standing on the stage at Radio City Music Hall with his bandmates, accepting the Moonman for Video of the Year.
Today, he's back home in Las Vegas, thinking about where he'll put that Moonman, a decision that's proving to be more difficult than he had originally planned.
"None of us have actually received our Moonman yet, so I'm not really sure where I'm going to put it," Ross laughed. "It would make a good bathroom statue, for sure. Or if I had a fireplace, maybe I would put it on the mantle. Or by the bed, you know, so I could rub it every morning for good luck."
Such is life these days for Ross and the rest of Panic, who shocked everyone when their video for "I Write Sins Not Tragedies" was crowned the clip of the year at the VMAs (see "Underdog Night At The VMAs: Panic, Gnarls, Blunt, Chamillionaire Win Big"). And even when the bandmembers are enjoying the rare time off, they're still working.
"I got back to Vegas on September 2, and we've really got nothing planned for a bit, which officially makes this the longest time we've had off since Christmas," Ross said. "It's nice to be home — I go to the same old sandwich shop around the corner, I go to the movies, I do what I like to do. But, of course, all of us are still working on some things. So it's not like a total vacation."
Topping Panic's to-do list is shooting a video for "Build God, and Then We'll Talk." Though details on the clip are scarce (Panic have yet to settle on a director) Ross is promising big things — chief among them that it will be the last video the band will shoot off its million-selling debut, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out.
"We've always wanted to do this one as the last video off the record, because we want it to be the last impression we give our fans before we come back with a new album," he said. "And we're excited because it's not your typical rock-radio song. It's an experiment, because I feel like everything on the radio is kind of safe right now. The people at our label think it's a bad idea, but they've thought that every single since 'I Write Sins' has been a bad idea."
In addition to the video, Panic will continue working on material for the follow-up to Fever, which they hope to flesh out during their upcoming arena tour with Bloc Party and Jack's Mannequin (see "Panic! At The Disco Announce Fall Tour").
"We've all been a bit more creative lately," Ross said. "I know as far as I'm concerned, I'm getting really excited about writing, and I'm taking guitar and vocal lessons. We're all just doing our homework for this. We're going to keep writing on the road, and around Christmas we're going to take a week or two off and then get into it. Right now, we're getting the lyrics and the story down."
And just what will the lyrics and story be about? Well, Ross isn't entirely sure, but he knows one topic they won't be covering.
"Basically every band that blows up writes about how hard it is to be famous and rich and on tour and how all that still sucks, and I decided I wasn't going to do that," he laughed. "The best part for me, creatively, is how many people I've met thanks to all this, and how much I've seen. I've been studying people — a homeless guy in Scotland, a blind accordion player in London — and they've inspired the lyrics I've been writing.
"And so in that regard, I guess you could say it's going to be a bit of a concept record, because it's based on an idea," he continued. "It's taking place in a mixed reality, in a place that's not real. It doesn't take place in the future or the past or the present. It's going to be more of a modern fairy tale."