Ok, none of this may news to Panic! fans, but I’m always genuinely excited to meet musicians in their hometowns, away from studio lights or concert venues. You get a real sense of who they are and it’s harder to hide behind the fame. I had only seen the inside of casinos and my hotel room since we landed, so it was kinda nice to actually get on a freeway in Vegas, head out to meet the guys at a local hangout and get the hometown tour.
I have never been late to an interview, but with the unfortunate timing of our rental’s “ALWAYS LOST” gps system and a nasty accident, we were AN HOUR AND A HALF LATE!!!!!!!!!!! I was hyperventilating in the car and our production manager was on the phone with our band contact, apologizing and giving updates on our location. I hate being late to anything and I was stressing out….
So, we pull up to the taco stand, pardon me, Roberto’s Taco Shop, in a strip mall, and I feel immediate relief, thinking there’s no way these guys can’t be cool if this is where they chose to do the interview.
The guys had been patiently waiting and having lunch in a non-air-conditioned Roberto’s for two hours and actually apologized for dragging us all the way out there. They had no idea that a full camera crew for TRL and News was going to be coming. To me, the news was not about the album, but about how, after selling over a million records and grabbing the biggest award at last year’s VMAs, there was not a single label rep, PR rep, hair, makeup, assistant or managing assistant rep there to be found. Turns out, our “band contact” was actually Spencer on his cell.
After the initial shock of un-divo like behavior, we got down to the nitty gritty. They’re just about to go into the studio for this new record. They wrote an entire album and scrapped the whole thing after feeling like it was not enough of a collaborative effort and sounded too much like a movie soundtrack. They wanted to write more as a band and decided to try a different direction. They also realized that the songs just weren’t the ones they wanted to play live, on a stage. It hasn’t been an easy album and after being on the road, sequestering themselves in the mountains to write, they’re finally ready to record their second second album. The songs are upbeat, happy, joyful even…Ryan said that they wanted to write what they were feeling and that’s been the mood this last year. The album is slated for a February '08 release. But before they get too ahead of themselves, Spencer reminds me that after all that’s been said and done, he still lives at home with his mom.