September 16, 2013 11:06 am

WATCH: An interview with Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco

TORONTO — The new album from Panic! at the Disco, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!, comes out Oct. 8 — and frontman Brendon Urie doesn’t mind if fans don’t pay for it.

“I have no problem with people illegally downloading stuff,” Urie said Sunday before a show in Toronto. “I’m not going to drive hard into ‘You should buy my stuff,’ because really, it’s inevitable. If you like a song you’re going to download it for free. I have no problem with that.”

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Urie, 26, said it would be disingenuous to preach about paying. “Before I had a steady job I was broke and I didn’t have any money to buy anything so I would illegally download stuff.”

Of course, Urie believes Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! is worth paying for. It’s the fourth studio album from Panic! at the Disco, a Las Vegas-based group formed in 2004 that exploded two years later with the single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.”

While not a concept album, Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! — which takes its name from Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas — is a collection of songs inspired by Urie’s hometown and his own life.

Two singles have been released so far: “Miss Jackson” and “This Is Gospel.”

Urie insisted he doesn’t set out to create singles.

“Writing a song to be a single is hard and I don’t like to focus on that because you can get caught up in making something just terrible, which is really easy to do if you’re focused on making it a single,” he said. “It’s more fun when you focus on what excites you musically.”

Urie said his wife of five months, Sarah, doesn’t mind that he relives personal experiences in the songs (“Miss Jackson,” for example, is about his early sexual adventures).

“Luckily my wife is amazing. She’s one of the few people in my life I’m completely honest with. I’ve told her everything about my past. She knows me inside and out. There’s no secrets at all,” Urie gushed. “She understands the stories. Being married, I’m able to free myself up to talk about that stuff because I’m in a different mindset. I can have a better sense of judgment about what I was going through.”

Urie said his April wedding was a small affair — about 60 close friends and family members — and married life hasn’t significantly changed him.

“We’ve lived together for so long the only thing that’s different is saying ‘husband and wife,’ which I totally am into,” he said. “I’m such a romantic so it’s totally cool.”

Less cool are the works of “fan fiction” that Urie has discovered online.

“Fans will write these borderline — not even borderline — just straight-up creepy stories,” he said. “I read a couple of them and I was like, ‘This is how you’re spending your free time? This is so weird. You have to realize this is weird. It’s very strange.’ But freedom of speech, it’s a beautiful thing I guess.”

Urie is the voice, face and creative force behind Panic! at the Disco, which has seen members come and go over the years. So why not go solo?

“I like Panic! at the Disco. I’ve always been behind it. I always felt free in this band,” he explained. “I wouldn’t rule it out, doing something solo, but I really like doing what I do. It started as a four-piece [band] and now at this point I’m doing most of everything, and I like that. We’ll see what happens.”

Urie is clearly most at home on stage, where he blazes through the band’s high-energy songs. He’s on the road until late November, ending the current tour with four sold-out shows in the UK.

Urie admitted touring has taken its toll.

“In tour years I’m probably, like, 55,” said Urie. “There’s a lot of fast songs and not a lot of breaks between singing.”

© Shaw Media, 2013

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