EXCLUSIVE: Jon Walker Explains Leaving Panic! At The Disco and New Solo Songs
Last year when I was rolling through Chicago on a book tour stop I got the chance to have a visit + a killer margarita with Jon Walker. I was surprised at how many things had changed in the few years I have known Jon, but one thing always stays the same. Jon is just as gracious, kind, humble and sweet as he was any of the times I watched him play for thousands of screaming fans all over the world. To me Jon always had a strong sense of what was important in life, a trait which many people in show business lack. He’s always nice to everyone and truly cares about the fans.
After splitting from Panic! At The Disco in July 2009 + then starting and splitting from The Young Veins, Jon has set out to create his own music for the first time. He has been writing and recording in Chicago which means NEW JWALK songs soon! Celebrate!!!! I recently got to reconnect with him to do this interview in which he shares his thoughts on the likelihood of a Panic reunion, marriage, and of course – his great new music.
KC: During your split from Panic you stayed very quiet. Is there anything that you would love the fans to know that you never got the chance to say?
JW: I didn’t really understand everything that was going on while it was going on.The band was experiencing creative and personal differences even before I joined which made for a complicated working relationship. It was extremely hard for me to walk away from not only my good friends but the passion and hard work I put into the project. KC: You began The Young Veins, released a record, and then decided that it wasn’t working. What was the reason behind that?
JW: Ryan and I already had quite a few songs in the works intended for consideration on the next Panic album. Our collaboration was evolving which was especially motivating during and after the split. I really enjoyed the material and was hopeful that our new venture would create a balanced partnership but our differences made that difficult.
KC: I’ve always thought you had a original voice and am totally excited that you are recording solo stuff. What is the sound you are going for?
JW: Haha, thanks? A lot has happened over the past few years. Writing lyrics on my own has allowed me to express myself more candidly which has been the focal point of the new songs. Musically, my tastes have always been simple and straight forward. I enjoy being able to pick up a guitar and write a song without any bells and whistles.
KC: Are you playing all the music or are you having help?
JW: I’ve been playing and recording everything on my own, I enjoy the process. When I play live, I usually have friends accompany me.
KC: I really enjoyed all three Panic records, for different reasons, but many fans have expressed that they really miss you being in the band. Is there any chance that all four of you will magically end up together again?
JW: For now, I enjoy the freedom of working on my own but making Pretty. Odd. was one of the greatest times of my life. For the most part, we (Rob Mathes included) were on the same page, working together in the studio and having a lot of fun in the process. None of us will ever be in that place again but hopefully it had enough impact on each of us to consider working together again if the opportunity presents itself.
KC: Speaking of ending up together, forever, you and your longtime girlfriend tied the knot this year! What is the best part about being married? Can we expect some sweet love songs from you?
JW: I’d say the best part of being married is having someone to walk through life with, helping each other where ever and when ever you are. All my (best) songs are about love in some way or another.
KC: AWWWW! That is so sweet. Will we be able to see you play live? Plans for a tour?
JW: I’ve got a couple shows planned in Chicago. I’ve got some new songs that I’m excited to play live. I’m trying to book more dates in other cities, let me know if you hear of anything!
KC: You heard it guys! We need to help Jon get on the road! Find shows in your town for him! Tell your favorite bands to take him out! I usually ask people what keeps them going. You have overcome a lot of adversity in the past few years, some super high highs and some low-lows, what is it that keeps you going and drives you to continue to keep making music? Why not just give up?
JW: The seemingly limitless expression that music can hold inspires me to improve on my craft. I tried giving up once but it didn’t work.
KC: What is some advice you would give any readers who are pursuing a career in music? What did you wish you knew?
JW: There are a lot of different ways to have a successful career in music, all of which require sacrifice and discipline. Always know who you are, what you want and when you are being taken advantage of. Money comes and goes but the work you create is forever, be passionate about the things you can control and disregard the rest.
KC: What is your favorite memory from the past 5 years?
JW: I’ve had so many great memories but going on safari in South Africa was a highlight. We saw all kinds of animals in their natural habitat and an amazing sunset. We woke up early the next day to catch the big cats before they went to sleep, followed by delicious coffee and muffins at sunrise. The next night was my last show with Panic.
KC: If you had three wishes what would they be?
JW: 1. World peace and equality, sounds cliche but seriously, we have some shit to figure out.
2. Twin Peaks season 3.
3. Write more songs, play more shows and pay my rent
KC: Where can people follow you? twitter? Websites?
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Does the video below remind anyone of Adam Duritz?
Who is excited for new Jon Walker music?