Panic at the Disco (originally Panic! At the Disco) was formed by original members Ryan Ross and Spencer Smith in the area of Summerlin, Las Vegas. The two childhood friends used to play music together after school, with Ross on guitar and Smith on the drums. The two then started a band called “Summer League” and included childhood friends Brent Wilson a band under the name of "Summer League" with childhood friend Brent Wilson, who would later leave the band. The current members are Ross, Smith, Urie, and their friend Jon Walker.
In high school Wilson met Brendon Urie and persuaded him to try out as a guitar player with the group. Ross was the original lead guitarist and singer, but after the band heard Urie’s backup vocals during rehearsals, they decided to make him the lead singer of the group. The guys decided on the name “Panic! At the Disco” from the lyrics of a song called “Panic” by the band Name Taken, but have also claimed the name comes from a Smiths track, also titled “Panic.” In 2007 the group dropped the exclamation point from their name, claiming that the punctuation was never a compelling or integral element to them.
When the band was just starting out, the guys contacted Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy online and sent him a link to some of their tracks online. Wentz was so impressed that he flew to Las Vegas to meet the band and offered them a contract with his label Decaydance, a part of Fueled by Ramen.
Panic at the Disco released their debut album, A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, in late 2005, and gained massive publicity for the release on the sites PureVolume and MySpace, though not achieving much commercial recognition at the time. Their single, "I Write Sins Not Tragedies” eventually made it onto the MTV music video countdown show TRL, and later won Video of the Year at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards. The single went to #7 on the charts in the United States, which helped their album debut on top of the Billboard Independent chart and at 13 on the July Billboard 200.
Shortly after dropping their exclamation point, Panic at the Disco announced that they would be headlining the Honda Civic Tour. They released their second album, Pretty. Odd., in early 2008, which went to #1 or #2 in the U.S., the UK, and Australia.