Panic! At The Disco drummer Spencer Smith says school was in session in the run-up to the band's current headlining tour, which has a date tonight (July 5) in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Panic! At The Disco drummer Spencer Smith says school was in session in the run-up to the band's current headlining tour, which has a date tonight (July 5) in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

"It's funny, before we had to originally learn how to play our songs to backing tracks because we couldn't obviously perform all of the electronic stuff and all of the cellos and trumpets," Smith tells Billboard.com. "But now that we have two extra musicians out with us, it allows us to do most of everything we couldn't do so when we were getting ready for this tour, we had to go back and re-learn how to play all of our new songs with these new guys and then on top of that add whatever we wanted to add."

What the band has added are hallmarks expected more from a veteran group than a newcomer act, which a year ago had only a few live shows under its belt. Not only are songs from its debut. "A Fever You Can't Sweat Out." continuously reworked on tour, but the band has expanded the live presentation of tracks "But It's Better if You Do" and "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought of it Yet."

Despite having emerged from the emo zeitgeist as an opener on last fall's Nintendo Fusion Tour with headliner Fall Out Boy, Smith says the Las Vegas-based group is inspired by the Counting Crows and its improvisational-friendly live sets.

"The idea of distinguishing yourself from other bands is obviously something that any band would want to do," Smith says, "but I think that really we got that idea from just having played our songs a million times each and what can we do to make this a little more exciting."

Another sign Panic! At The Disco is distancing itself from the punk-pop archetype its its choice of cabaret rock act the Dresden Dolls as the opener for its current tour, which runs through early August. From there, the band goes overseas for dates on the European festival circuit and later in New Zealand and Australia. Smith says one more Stateside leg is planned for November before the group heads to the studio to record its sophomore effort, tentatively due out in late spring 2007.

"The past six months have been just so much crazy and amazing for our band," Smith says. "It's been moving so fast that we've been trying to keep a hold of the situation and really just keep our feet on the ground."

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