The number of shows they've played since its Nothing Rhymes With Circus tour ended last December can be counted on one hand. And these guys are preoccupied with other things just now.
"We're in the middle of writing a record," Ross said. "We've been holed up writing. It's been good. It's been a lot different [from the last time]. We have more time to write the songs this time around."
So, Panic will emerge from the hit-making bunker in their hometown of Las Vegas to bring their hypervisual tilt-a-whirl of a show to this northern clime.
Costumes! Dancing girls! M.A.C. makeup!
"It comes from a lot of things," Ross said of the historically-informed theatricality that earned the band a nod from MTV. "That time period is very fascinating. We want to carry that [visual] aspect as well as playing music."
The influence of Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge, frequently cited by Ross -- also a Cirque du Soleil fan -- is apparent in clips like Panic's Video of the Year Award-winning "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." What makes their videos compelling is that they're clever, dorky and provocative in equal measure.
Movies as well as literature influence Panic! At the Disco's songcraft. Ross, who took creative writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is a Bukowski fan. "Most of what I write is in the songs," he said. "I tend to get on a subject and I'll write way too much. That's really my favorite part of writing songs: the lyrics."
Ross and his bandmates Brendon Urie, Jon Walker and Spencer Smith,seem like typical, if somewhat brainier, college boys-having found a home on Chicago native Pete Wentz's Decaydance label before their skin had even cleared up.
"I'd actually just heard he was starting a new label," Ross said of the Panic's mentor. "I liked the bands they had at the time. We got lucky that he enjoyed the songs [we wrote]. It's been good so far."
Like most 20 year olds, Ross isn't sure where he wants to end up. Though, being a rock star who's already graced the cover of Rolling Stone certainly isn't bad for a start. "It's hard to say at this point. I never thought we'd get this far. I think the biggest challenge for [us as] artists these days is making great music that's challenging for us and for people to hear."
Panic! At the Disco headlines at Summerfest July 7. Labelmates Gym Class Heroes, The Academy Is..., and The Hush Sound support.