When Panic! at the Disco released their latest music video for their newest single, “Miss Jackson,” fans had one question: Where’s Spencer Smith? Smith, the band’s drummer, and front-man Brendon Urie have been in Panic! since its creation. And while Urie is often thrown in the spotlight–where he seems to thrive–Smith is not usually far behind. In the promo pictures for their new album, it’s only Urie. In the “Miss Jackson” video, it’s only Urie. One look at the band’s Instagram account and it’s mostly Urie. Is Panic! going through another member change?
Upon further investigation, fans found Smith at the end of the video, in a group of what were thought to be extras. He has a brief on-camera appearance along with Dallon Weekes–a recent addition to the band after losing two original members to creative differences. And while this didn’t ease some of the die-hard fans worries, yesterday we heard from the man himself.
posted to the band’s website, Smith admits to battling addiction for the past four and a half years. He writes that it started with smoking weed and drinking a little too much alcohol to get to a place emotionally and mentally where he felt normal. While on tour, he says his depression and anxiety “became much worse, and I used alcohol to attempt to numb it."
After a traumatic health issue arose in a loved one roughly two years ago, Smith found himself taking Vicodin and Xanax daily. He believed he could self-medicate his way into being happy. He thought if he felt happy and outgoing, everyone else must see the same emotions and wouldn’t realize he was simply chasing a high to run away from what was causing his depression. Smith writes that he quickly "became a serious addict,” and it only got worse when touring with Panic! stopped.
“Wake up: Take a pill to have the energy to get out of bed. Leaving the house: Make sure I have enough pills to last till I get back. I had back up pills in my car, my backpack, all over the place in case something happened to the ones I had on me,” Spencer writes. “I couldn’t go more than 8 hours without feeling painkiller withdrawals. I was taking a dangerous amount of pills while drinking to chase that high, and just like with any other substance, the higher the high is, the lower the low is. What started out as a way for me to numb anxiety and depression had become the major cause of it.”
Last fall, Smith entered treatment with the support of friends and family and he’s currently sober. He writes that his goal is to “relate to anyone who has experienced addiction personally or with a loved one.” His honesty, sincerity, and transparency has already had an impact on his fans who have shown an outpouring of love via the band’s social media channels.
“…Anxiety, depression, and addiction are not picky. They plague people of all ages from all walks of life. But, you can recover!! So, please seek help if you’re suffering personally,” Smith urges. “It gets better one day at a time.”
Even though he doesn’t owe anyone this letter, he’s willing to share his powerful story to help make a difference. It’s something we greatly admire. Thank you, Spencer. We’ll see you on tour.
You can read Spencer Smith’s full letter
. Panic! at the Disco’s new album, “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die!” releases