It was the one question that dogged [artist id="2008947"]Panic! at the Disco[/artist] the entire time they were promoting 2008's Pretty. Odd. album: Why did they decide to drop the exclamation point from their name?
In retrospect, it seems like a pretty dumb thing to focus on — especially since Pretty. Odd. was pretty great — but when Panic! became plain, old Panic, it turned into one gigantic, yearlong headache for the guys in the band.
"It's amazing because we never necessarily got asked about it that much when it was in there," drummer Spencer Smith told MTV News. "And then all of a sudden, we decided to take it away for Pretty. Odd., and we were asked about that in, I think, every interview for a couple months."
So after having to answer pointed, punctuation-related questions for the better part of a year, why on Earth did Smith and frontman Brendon Urie decided to bring the exclamation point back? Well, as it turns out, for old time's sake.
"For me and Brendon, there were aspects of our first album that did sort of go away on Pretty. Odd. that we'd like to bring back to our band. There's some theatricality and some different styles of music, and we want to make a record that is drawing from both our previous albums," Smith said. "And it just seemed like it would be a fun thing for our fans. Hopefully, there's less of a big deal [made] about it coming back than there was about it going away. It seems like a new chapter, so having that as part of the band seemed like something we could bring back ... to reinforce that Panic! at the Disco is not breaking up, it's still going."
And they are still very much going. Earlier in the week, Smith and Urie premiered "New Perspective," their first single since parting ways with guitarist Ryan Ross and bassist Jon Walker. It draws from the shiny, pop stuff they explored on their breakthrough A Fever You Can't Sweat Out disc, but it also hints at some of that "theatricality" Smith mentioned.
"It is a side of the new songs we're doing. It's nice to bridge the gap between what we were doing and the music we'll hopefully put out in the beginning of next year," he explained. "We're sort of figuring out what we want our record to be. We've demoed 10 or 11 songs, and it's everything from sort-of Frank Sinatra-style songs to, like, some of the electronic stuff we had on our first record, and, you know, the theatrical stuff, sort of like Queen, and then there's rock and roll stuff, too. Stuff like the Who. We're sort of figuring out what Panic! at the Disco is with me and Brendon."
And now that the exclamation point is back for good, we've gotta ask: Whose idea was it to include it in the name in the first place?
"I think Ryan may have brought it up, I don't remember, it was a few years ago. Ryan had put it on our PureVolume site — before we got signed, before Pete heard any of our songs — he typed it that way on the site, saying, 'Oh, that would be a cool thing,' and it completely stuck," Smith laughed. "I always thought it was a cool thing, but I think he always had a thing where, like, it wasn't actually supposed to be part of the name, so maybe it was him who brought up losing it. I don't know. Hopefully people won't freak out about it again."