Opening Young Veins 

Music-biz buddies have called him insane. But Ryan Ross says he knows exactly what he’s doing — and he can still remember the moment he made his shocking decision.

He and Jon Walker — his co-guitarist in platinum-selling punk-pop combo Panic! At The Disco — were sequestered at his new house in Los Angeles, attempting to compose a third album.

One fateful day, Ross says, “We just had a conversation, like, ‘You know, we’re trying to force this, and it’s making us miserable.’ It wasn’t even a thought-out thing — we just said, ‘All right, that’s it.’ And we knew we were going to quit.”

The duo penned a sunny, ’60s-jangly ditty called “Change” that very evening — a track that now opens “Take a Vacation!”, their debut as the retro-hip Young Veins (who play The City on Tuesday).

The move, however, shouldn’t surprise fans who’ve followed Ross’ songwriting from Panic’s emo-bratty 2005 debut “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” to the Dylan/Beatles/Beach Boys-inspired ’08 follow-up “Pretty. Odd.”

Only 23, but infinitely curious, Ross truly delights in rooting through rock’s dusty cellars.

Inevitably, he simply outgrew the limited confines of Panic, whose remaining members — vocalist Brendon Urie and drummer Spencer Smith — will soldier on without him.

For the past few weeks, Ross — who now sings lead himself — has been delving into the catalog of obscure British producer Joe Meek.

While he and Walker were sculpting “Vacation,” he adds, “We were both listening to a lot of ’60s girl-group stuff, Phil Spector productions, Motown and Stax stuff and all the Nuggets garage bands. And it seems new to us, because we’ve never heard a lot of it. But it’s not really a choice,” he says. “It just feels natural to me to keep on digging for stuff.”

Fleshing out The Young Veins with three more like-minded musicians took time. Finding a receptive record company took even longer. “We talked to a bunch of labels, and it was, ahh … interesting,” he says. “I wanted to steer clear of majors, because I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle. But we finally found one that didn’t want to change anything about us [One Haven Music]. It’s been a lot harder to start a new band than I remember.”

Ultimately, Ross is relieved to no longer be in Panic mode.

“But it is strange to me that those guys kept the name,” he puzzles over his old bandmates’ choice. “But for me, music is exciting again. And it’s a lot easier to sleep at night, knowing that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.”

The Young Veins

Opening for Rooney

Where: Slim's, 333 11th St., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday
Tickets: $16
Contact: (415) 255-0333,

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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