The End of All Things: Panic! at the Disco and Their Downfall

The original members of P!ATD were (L-R) Spencer Smith, Brendon Urie, Ryan Ross, and Brent Wilson. (Photo/Rolling Stone)

 Last month, the pop-punk band, Panic! At The Disco, officially announced the end of a 19-year-long music career. Nobody was really surprised. 

A decade ago, that fact would have been heartbreaking for most fans. However, after recent years, many people aren’t too bothered by it. Panic!’s inception in 2004 would mark the start of an interesting career, where the band would rack up millions of fans, dozens of accolades, seven albums, six different band members and too many issues. 

When the band formed in Las Vegas, Nevada. in 2004, there were four original members: guitarist Ryan Ross, drummer Spencer Smith, bassist Brent Wilson and frontman Brendon Urie. Their 2005 debut album, “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out,” peaked at number 13 on the Billboard 200 and eventually launched the four-piece band into the public eye. From their debut came the pop-punk anthem: “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” The iconic song detailing a disastrous wedding cemented Panic!’s place in the “Emo Holy Trinity,” alongside powerhouse bands Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance. 

Despite the early success, Panic! experienced their first major hiccup shortly after “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” was released. Wilson was let go by the band and was replaced by Jon Walker. The reason for Wilson’s dismissal was due to “Brent’s lack of responsibility,” according to Smith. The lineup change would only be the first of many more road bumps. 

In 2008, the revamped band released their second album, “Pretty. Odd.” Following the second album’s release, Walker and Ross decided to leave Panic! due to creative differences with Urie and Smith. They soon picked up bassist Dallon Weekes, who was only a touring musician for them when their third album, “Vices & Virtues,” came out in 2011. Weekes was officially brought into the band as a member by 2012, before the three wrote and released the fourth album of Panic!’s career, “Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die!” in 2013. Unfortunately due to substance abuse and personal issues, Smith chose to leave the band in 2015. Shortly after in 2016, “Death of a Bachelor” was released, marking the band’s fifth studio album. Like clockwork, Weekes also left the band, leaving Urie as the sole member of Panic! at the Disco. He would continue on, releasing Panic’s sixth and seventh albums, “Pray For the Wicked” in 2018, and “Viva Las Vengeance” in 2022.

To many, “Death of a Bachelor” was the beginning of the end. The fifth album was well received — but it differed immensely from the early pop-punk and baroque pop styles that the band had built itself on. Many pointed to the lack of Spencer Smith, whose influence had been instrumental in Panic!’s early success. 

Then came the controversies. Kenneth Harris, the touring guitarist for the band from 2013 to 2018, was dropped after allegations of sexual misconduct came to light. A few years later, Urie himself was facing multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and even assault. Old quotes of his resurfaced, where he was seen saying many problematic things. Despite everything, he still released “Viva Las Vengeance” in 2022.  

After seven albums and the last member standing, Urie officially called it off for Panic!, on Jan. 24, 2023. He announced his wife, Sarah, was pregnant and he wanted to focus on his family. At its height, Panic! was a generational-defining band that harbored both a mainstream and cult following. At its lowest, it was an eyebrow-raising mention, one that was almost taboo. So whether it’s in honor of its memory, or in joy of its demise, you might as well call for a toast and pour the champagne.