A Frank Sinatra devotee since his Las Vegas childhood, Brendon Urie gets daily inspiration from the tattoo of Ol' Blue Eyes on his left arm. "If it's not too much information, I was just singing a Sinatra song in the shower," laughs the Panic! At The Disco frontman from his Santa Monica, California, home. "My mom and dad loved him and the Rat Pack." The 27-year-old brings those influences to town for two visits this month. First, he'll appear as a solo performer at the inaugural Alternative Press Music Awards at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum July 21, where he's nominated for best vocalist and artist of the year. Hosted by Mark Hoppus of Blink 182, it features performances by Fall Out Boy and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. "This [solo performance] will be special," he says, "because it will be in front of my peers."
Urie returns July 30 with his bandmates for a show at Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica to support Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, released last year. The fourth full-length album from Panic! At The Disco is an homage to Las Vegas and a look into Urie's soul.
"It's honest, confessional and scary at times," he says. "There were a couple moments when it got very dark, and I wasn't sure it was the right move."
Urie addresses promiscuity in "Miss Jackson" and the vibe of his hometown in "Vegas Lights." Of the latter song, he says, "I've always wanted to write a song about the debauchery of Vegas."
The album's title was unabashedly lifted from Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. "I love that book and Terry Gilliam's movie of it," says Urie. "Something about that line was an on-point description of what this album is all about."
Fans will be treated to a high-energy show. "We always try to get a little theatricality and insanity into our shows," Urie says. That includes his signature backflip. "I taught myself how to do one when I was 8 or 9 after watching the Olympics," Urie says. "I almost missed one during a show one night, but I caught myself. It's not going to get any easier as I get older." July 21, 1100 Rock and Roll Blvd., Cleveland, 216-781-7625, rockhall.com; July 30, 2014 Sycamore St., Cleveland, 216-622-6557, livenation.com