I want to make music like this; I want to make something people can celebrate, especially with the songs.
A lot of the stuff in the lyrics, it's all very true of what I was going through in Vegas, and some of the stuff isn't necessarily sweet and happy. It's a little bit darker, incorporating some things I have regretted in the past to have a good contrast with some of the music, to have very serious messages. It's fun for me to incorporate bigger elements like the triumphant beat in a big song, a big chorus, and some kind of big melody to juxtapose that darkness of the message that the lyrics are giving off. I just had the best time making this record. It was a really fun experience for me to explore songwriting and producing a little bit.
Was there a reason for the attitude shift?
My wife definitely played a big part in that. She's been the strength for me in terms of building my confidence. Any time I've felt any doubt, she's always there to pick me back up, or any time my ego gets a little out of hand, she's always there to even me out. It's nice. She's really been my rock. For me, it was nice to feel like I was maturing in a way, if that sounds right.
I think it was easier for me to look back into the past and write songs about the person I used to be, because I wasn't that person anymore. I felt improved. I felt like a new man, so to be able to talk about that stuff, she definitely put me in a new light and made me feel like a different, better person.
Then also, our producer Butch Walker and our friend Jake Sinclair, they've both been huge mentors to me, helping me with any questions I have and really just gave me support in terms of writing and production. I think that's been really important for me to learn. You have to be wrong a lot of the time -- actually, most of the time -- to learn from that, and they were a huge help.
The title is striking. I read that it's a Hunter S. Thompson quote.
It's funny, because the record was done, and I still hadn't thought of an album name. I didn't really know how to describe this thing. I know that it feels like a character to me. I wanted to describe this character that I'm describing in these songs, and I didn't know how to do it. It's funny that it just happened one day, a few weeks after the album was done and I was really feeling crunched to figure out a name, and I couldn't think of anything.
I was watching the movie, actually, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and that line just came up.
Johnny Depp's character is talking about Gonzo, and he's talking about his friend, and he describes him that way: "Too weird to live, too rare to die." That's exactly how I feel. So it actually worked out. At this point, I can't think of anything better or more succinctly said. Hunter S. Thompson got it, hit the nail on the head. It was really cool to incorporate that. It's kind of a hip-hop move, like "I'm just gonna take it."
So are you excited to return to South Florida?
The last time we were there, that was one of the hottest days I think for us on that tour, and it ended up being so freakin' loud. It was so loud that afterwards, I had to sit in a room and try to do the isolation-tank thing. What would sound deprivation do, because I had blown my eardrums out so bad. So I remember it was awesome.
I played a fan in Ping-Pong, and she kicked my ass. It was just a really nice time, but I think we're going to beat it this time. It's going to be amazing. You've got to be prepared to sweat, though. I'll tell our fans be prepared when you come to the show. It's going to be hot, it's going to be loud, and you're going to be tired after the show, but I love you for coming.
Panic! At the Disco. With Walk the Moon and Youngblood Hawke. 6:30 p.m. Friday, August 15, at Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $20 plus fees. Call 305-938-2510, or visit ticketmaster.com.
Follow Kat Bein on Twitter @KatSaysKill.