domingo, 13 de mayo de 2018

Rock ‘N’ Roll Anima - Placebo Interview 2001

Photo credits: Tell A Vision 

Rock ‘N’ Roll Anima

TELL A VISION  27/04/2001
Concert: "Warehouse" Toronto Canada

Background note: Several weeks after I conducted this interview for Alternative Press, singer Brian Molko phoned asking if my group Ether Net would open for Placebo in Canada. A definite first in all my years as a journalist. We had recently lost our drummer but of course I said yes, then hustled to find a replacement. Weeks later I found myself vomiting backstage in a fit of pre-show jitters at Toronto’s sold-out Kool Haus, then stepped onstage to perform for three thousand or so Placebo fans. They were very kind. I subsequently made some lifelong Canadian friends on that mini tour, which also included Montreal and Ottawa.

Hang out with Placebo for a night and you’ll begin to understand what Lou Reed meant by his challenge in Metal Machine Music’s liner notes: “My week beats your year.” Even severe jet lag doesn’t impede Brian Molko and his “two husbands,” as he calls bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Hewitt, from juicing the Big Apple. At the Soho Grand hotel bar, orders for double Sea Breezes keep pace with Molko’s candid responses to queries regarding Black Market Music, the corrosive, more political follow-up to 1998’s break-through Without You I’m Nothing.

Detailing Placebo’s coincidence-riddled history, the openly bi-sexual Molko recalls his impression of the openly gay Olsdal when they first encountered each other at school in Luxembourg: “I thought you were an aloof snob, and you thought I was a pot-smoking fag. How ironic life can be.”
As if on cue, a vaguely familiar figure appears at the bar’s dimly lit entrance. “Oh my god, it’s Gina!” shouts Molko, bolting off to say hello. Who’s Gina? Why, it’s Boy George, who’s DJing in town. “He’s a sweetheart,” explains Molko, returning to the table. “We have the same hairdresser and make-up artist in London. They call me Brenda and him Gina.”

Turns out George has a penthouse suite adjoining Placebo’s. That fateful interconnectedness underscores the symbolic link between the two artists. As Molko attests, “I get insulted on a weekly basis in London because the British are still a homophobic culture. I don’t know why they’re unsettled by it. There’s nothing shocking about a cock in a frock.”

Informing Olsdal of George’s accommodations, he confides, “We plan to have a little party tonight.” So much for jet lag.

Do you ever feel trapped by your image? If I were expecting you to play the rock ’n’ roll animal, for instance, and I started buying shots and producing drugs…

Olsdal: [Leans forward with a conspiratorial grin] Are you trying to tell us something? [Laughs.]

But do you feel pressure to live up to that image?

Molko: In the past I think we may have been guilty of putting the lifestyle before the music. Now the focus is on doing what we do to the best of our abilities. And when you’ve managed to do that, then you can reward yourself and go a bit crazy. As long as you’ve got enough time to get over it before the next show. We don’t want to let each other down, or the fans, even though maybe we never did let them down by embracing the rock lifestyle. Maybe it’s what we needed to do. But then our capacity for consumption was far greater than it is now. As soon as you hit 25, hangovers completely change.

Have you discovered any remedies?

Olsdal: Living as if there’s a tomorrow. There’s a great Chinese proverb: Live as if every day is your last, and as if you’re going to live for another 100 years.

Is that new outlook just a by-product of age?

Molko: You’re not the same person you were when you were 22. You’re 22 years old, you’ve been on welfare, and now you’ve got a record in the charts, money, people paying attention to you for the first time. You’re going to go absolutely fucking ape shit. But then comes the post-coital depression. And that was Without You I’m Nothing. That’s waking up after the party. You look around at the debris, and the memories come back. You feel ashamed and you place your head firmly against the pillow and go, “Oh, no… why?”

On the new album’s “Passive Aggressive,” you sing, “God’s in crisis. He’s over.” If you don’t believe in God, do you have a higher power you appeal to when you’re at the end of your tether?

Molko: Yeah, my older brother. [Laughs.] I was raised a born-again Christian. I gave my life over to Jesus when I was 11; took it back when I was 14. But that stays with you for a long time. I remember my mother saying, “When Jesus knocks on your door, it’s your choice to open the door or to leave it closed. And Jesus will knock for a while, but then your heart will become hardened, and he will leave.” And the song can be about that, or it can be about not letting someone else into your heart.

Has your mom heard “Black-Eyed,” in which you sing, “I’m forever black-eyed, a product of a broken home”?

Molko: I don’t talk about our music with my mother; but she is proud of me. I think the song would have more of an effect on my dad. He tried to dissuade me from pursuing any artistic endeavors whatsoever. He ignored me for most of my life, and then wanted to be my friend when success came along. I think he studies the songs more. And I think he probably gets the message.

That’s an unusual way to communicate.

Olsdal: It’s shit.

Molko: But that’s dysfunctional families for you. And it made me the person I am today. The fact that my mother was extremely religious and my father was a businessman made me forge my own identity at a very young age.

What, did your dad expect you to go into banking and your mom expect you to become a minister?

Molko: You hit the nail on the head. I was being primed for the ministry. My leadership qualities were recognized, and I had private bible study with the pastor.

What was the inspiration for “Slave To The Wage,” then? You’ve never had a straight job to runaway from.

Molko: The song tells you to be an individual, believe in yourself and have the courage to chase your dreams. If you do, the rewards at the end are ten-fold, versus doing what your parents tell you to do: Get a good job, get married, have 2.4 children, 1.2 goldfish, 3.6 cars…. To a lot of people, that’s the epitome of personal success. Which is why so many people go through a mid-life crisis. People reach a point in their lives and go, “Is this it?”

A career in rock has its dangers, too. In “Commercial For Levi,” you sing a laundry list of excesses, followed by the plea, “please don’t die.” To what extent are you speaking to yourself?

Molko: Very much so. At the time of Without You I’m Nothing, I made a lot of bad lifestyle choices. Steve and a couple other close friends had to grab me by the scruff of the neck and go, “You’re my friend. I love you. We depend on each other. You’ve really got to”–like the song says–“change your situation, otherwise you’re not going to be on the planet for much longer.” I was very lucky to have those people around me.

So the song itself almost becomes a higher power, a voice outside of yourself saying…

Molko: Come back. You’re worth more than this.

Did you ever get to the point where it flashed in your mind to join “that stupid club,” to quote Kurt Cobain’s mother–to become a rocker who burns out at 27?

Molko: The world does not need another rock ’n’ roll casualty. Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin–we don’t need more casualties like them. I refuse to let that happen. It doesn’t mean I’m stronger than they were, but I just have this picture of myself as an old man, getting together with Stef and Steve at the age of 60. Not playing music, but sitting down and going, “Do you remember…?” So far my premonitions have been correct.

martes, 1 de mayo de 2018

Interview with Stefan Olsdal for Cream Mag 2017

Photo credits: Australian Tour - unknown

Interview with Placebo bassist/guitarist Stefan Olsdal

In 2017, Placebo (the band, that is) are celebrating 20 years in the music industry. To add flair to the affairs, two of its key members – lead singer Brian Molko and long-term bassist/guitarist Stefan Olsdal – are touring the globe, with their next stop being Australia in Spring.

Born at the same time as this very magazine, Cream first interviewed Placebo when they were just starting out in 1997. That chat was with Molko and then-drummer Steven Hewitt.

This time ’round, Cream catches up with Stefan Olsdal, who chats about marriage equality, gender-bending, overriding rock clichés, and things he’d 

learned from music legend David Bowie.

Interview by Antonino Tati for fcreammag | August 29, 2017 

Photo credits: Maddogreen

Hey there Stefan. With there once having been two Stephens and one Stefan in Placebo, did things ever get confusing for fans?
Not really. The names were different enough, and our roles in the band were definitely different, so it was never an issue. I’m just glad we’re still here [ie: Stefan and lead singer Brian Molko] and that we’ve found an amazing drummer [Matt Lunn].
Is there any bad blood between you and the former band members or do you still see each other now and then?
I’m still in touch with Robert [Shultzberg], our very first drummer. Things didn’t turn out well with our second drummer [Steven Hewitt]. There was a court case. The way I see it, if you’re in a rock band long enough all the clichés will come true, from the lifestyle to the court cases; all the ups and the downs. Sometimes you just move on, and I try, personally, not to hold on to any resentment or anger, because life is too short for that.
What is the secret ingredient that keeps you and Brian working together?
It must be those pills that we take every day. [Laughs].
What sort of pills? Surely not placebo ones?
Whatever they are, they must be working!
When I last spoke with Brian [in an official journalistic capacity], he was freely talking about the use of Ecstasy. Are you guys still okay to talk about that sort of connection to your band’s image and sound?
We have no control over what people connect to our music. We also have no control over how people interpret our music or our lyrics. We’ve been quite honest about how we live our lives in terms of human politics and lifestyle. We’ve explored various parts of the human psyche. If you look back at moments in [our] history, there’s been this desire to escape, to explore different areas of consciousness.

And if that means indulging in illicit substances occasionally, so be it?
Yeah. It’s prevalent. I wouldn’t recommend it, but we certainly have had some good times. We’ve had some amazing experiences; there’s no denying that.
Placebo have been placed in extreme categories: you’ve either been much loved by fans or criticised for your sharp lyrics, and even for your gender-bending, particularly in the early days. How did you take that initial criticism?
We adopted the Andy Warhol approach, which is you basically [try not to] read it. The way that criticism happens is… basically, it’s one person’s opinion. It becomes quite academic, really.
Not taking it to heart is key, I guess?
Yeah, as much as you can. We are human at the end of the day. If you’re having a bad day and you read a bad review and it touches a nerve, it’s hard not to let it get to you. But after 20 years, you learn to develop a thicker skin just for your own personal sanity and protection.
Do you think things have loosened up somewhat now, especially with regard to certain types of artistic expression?
I think so. With the internet, material and information that was hard to get a hold of is now at your fingertips. But at the same time, we’ve been travelling to countries where I am in fear of my life [Stefan is openly gay and married]. So, in some ways, we are going in the opposite direction. I guess we are living more in a society of extremes. Some things are much more acceptable and some things have pushed political correctness to the extreme. On the other side, you get complete intolerance.
In terms of American politics, you still see those extreme conservative views.
Yeah, and that’s just a farce. I can’t believe that it’s not a comic we’re reading, or that someone is pulling the wool over our eyes. If it wasn’t a man with so much power, we’d all be laughing.
You guys have always played that ambiguous role, whether it be in terms of your music, your lyrics, or your expression of sexuality. You yourself have been openly gay for how long now?
Over twenty years.
Currently, in Australia, we’re debating the issue of marriage equality, and I’d say Australia is lagging behind in that issue. What do you say to countries that are still backward in that regard?
To me, it’s something that’s so natural; why would you put any restrictions on personal freedom in terms of who you love, who you want to share your life with, how you express yourself, how you want to appear? I think history will show us how ridiculous it was not to have that equality. In countries which I think still have their heads screwed on – the normal countries – we’re now going: So, what was the big issue? And not just in the area of marriage equality. I mean, why didn’t we allow women to vote? Why did we treat people of different races differently? Similarly, why can’t we allow same sex marriage? It seems like such an absurd thing.
In retrospect, the naivety will seem absurd.
Do you think it’s a positive thing when an artist does express his/her sexuality openly? Does it help inspire young people to embrace whatever gender or sexuality they want to be?
When we were starting out, there were only a few bands that had openly gay members. We started out in the ’90s, when there was no internet, so it was harder to connect with like-minded people. I wished it [had been] a more open forum where people could have been open about themselves. I think now it’s much more acceptable; more musicians are coming out. I mean nowadays you don’t get a TV show without a gay character. I find it a more welcoming scenario now than when we started.
You’re coming to Australia at the end of September.
Yep, we’re starting on the west coast [in Perth] on the 4th of September, then we finish in Canberra on the 14th.
What are your memories of Australia from the last time you toured here?
The last few times we’ve played as part of a festival. I remember it being excruciatingly hot. So now we’ve decided to come back at a slightly cooler time of the year and to bring our own show, our own production. It’s the 20th anniversary tour, so we want to celebrate it with people in Australia. It’s been many years since we’ve brought our own tour over there, and it should be a good one!
What sort of things can we expect from the shows? Wicked visuals? New interpretations of songs?
All of that!
What are you looking forward to bringing to the stage that you haven’t brought to Aussie audiences before?
Basically, we’re approaching this tour as a celebration. We see it as a time to bring out some fan favourites, as well as some of our more commercial material that we haven’t played in a long time – maybe for the last time ever. We’ve also reworked some old songs and worked all our old visuals back into the show to make it as much of an audio-visual experience as possible.
When it comes to stage work, you’ve certainly had assistance from some of the best. You worked with David Bowie for quite a while.
We were so fortunate to have been able to share space with him and breathe the same air.
Which would have been godly-like in itself.
I think it was the closest thing to a heavenly body or a higher power.

What do you think Bowie taught you in terms of artistry, playing live, or just being a rock star?
He was very good at flirting, I remember. [Laughs]. I’m terrible at flirting, so I learned a few tricks there. How to wink the eye, tilt the head a bit. Apart from that, on a more serious note, he basically said, ‘Don’t rest on your laurels, don’t get too comfortable, because your listener is very discerning… and make sure to stay one step ahead of yourself.”
What does the future look like for you guys? Is it going to be moving in a new direction or will you be going all out with the ambiguity and noise?
When you put it like that, I want to do that. [Laughs]. In all seriousness, I feel we have stamped our identity so firmly in the music that we didn’t allow ourselves to do whatever the hell. We’ve been experimental on our B-sides at the beginning of our career and have always liked the studio as a tool. So, we might just lock ourselves in the studio and come out with 80 minutes of noise.
Well, Stefan, I look forward to catching Placebo live on stage in September!
Great. We’ll be a little jetlagged, but nothing that we haven’t played through before. 
Just pop another placebo pill and you’ll be right.
You know it! [Laughs].

domingo, 29 de abril de 2018

Placebo Concert Dates 2018

Photo credits: Ultimate Psycho

Placebo will play at the following festivals this year:

08 June 2018 - Medimex Festival - Taranto, Italy - > Tickets
23 June 2018 - I-Days- Festival - Milan, Italy - > Tickets
13 July 2018 - Sion Sous Les Etoiles Festival - Sion, Switzerland - > Tickets
16 July 2018 - Meltdown Festival - Royal Festival Hall, GB - > Tickets

Visit us on our Facebook page: Placebo Anyway 

sábado, 28 de abril de 2018

Select "The Life & Loves of a He/She Devil" - Brian Molko Interview April 1997

Saucy little Brian. He was shooting skag while other kids were playing tag. In Luxembourg. Possibly. Now he's the top-five, fun-size androgyne who we all want to shag. Allegedly. Just how did he do that?

Waiting backstage at Top Of The Pops is an extremely disheartening experience. Contrary to the romantic notion of a streamlined neon wunderpalace catering to the every need of our most debauched stars, the canteen/bar area of the aptly-named BBC Borehamwood is more akin to the hospital waiting room in some '60s kitchen sink drama - antiseptic, utilitarian and deathly dull.

In such surroundings, pop stars appear scrubbed clean of their glitz. Depeche Mode bloke Dave Gahan is transformed from the libertine lizard king of recent press shots into an aged gangling sparrow in a Ken Dodd wig. Pop diva Gabrielle is just a woman with a wonky hairdo. However, in the corner of the bar sits a small, dark figure, sipping a coke and surveying the scene. With his black bob, silver lippy and suit of shining leatherette, he looks like some mid-'70s glam-rock queen. Rudely out of place and 20 years out of time, Brian Molko can't help but appear a little odd.

Then you consider the song that he and his band, Placebo, are rehearsing - the Vim-snorting, shag-anything noise-out of 'Nancy Boy' - and the presence of this rock perv in the middling pop terminus of the TOTP bar starts to seem laughably absurd.

"It's not absurd," reasons Molko, "it's obscene. A song this rude should not be number four in the charts."

EVEN IF PLACEBO DIDN'T EXIST, 1997 WOULD HAVE SEEN FIT TO INVENT THEM. In hindsight, 1996 was something of a prosaic year for rock. Dominated by the stadium laddishness of Oasis and all their scuttling minions, it was also a year that saw a post-Richey Manic Street Preachers swapping their cultural and gender terrorism for such homely topics as darts, golf and what they were watching on the telly.

In such an environment, Romo's pathetic attempts at gender-denting looked about as convincing as lipstick on a duck. Kula Shaker may have promised revolution through their madness gurus, conspiracy theories and Vedic argot, but even they ended the year with a loud moan about how they were being treated like a woman when they felt like a man. Still, in the wake of all this grim laddery there came Brian Molko, a Suede lyric made flesh, shaking up the karma and "smoking marijuana in a manner so comically transgressive, that it was all a bit like something out of an '80s airport shag novel, namely Jackie Collins' Rock Star.

Although it would be a mistake to judge him solely on the basis of his media image, it's certainly tempting. While Placebo have wilfully set about fiddling with our gender identities on every release since late '95's 'Bruise Pristine', such rudery has also been accompanied by Mr Molko's thoroughly entertaining press pronouncements.

A scummy cavalcade of everything from expensive drugs to cheap sex, his interviews have so far presented the reader with the cumulative image of an amoral, asexual brute - crack pipe in one hand, vari-speed vibrator in the other - trawling through the netherworld of European cities in a quest for the Big High.

One music weekly even had Molko confessing to having injected crack cocaine. There is, it seems, nothing this man cannot do.

This, coupled with the performance of 'Nancy Boy' on Top Of The Pops, can only help but usher in the return of those glory days when your parents watched your pop stars on TV and proclaimed, from behind a rustling copy of The Daily Telegraph, "Is that a man or a woman? You can't tell anymore. It's disgusting!"

Talking to Brian Molko today, however, there is a distinct sense that he's starting to grow a little weary of his reputation as a fast man, a Bluebeard, or, as Molko himself puts it, "some kind of bisexual drug addict deviant slut".

"It's my own fault. I chose to present myself as that. I mean, at various points in my life I've been all of these things. I thought that if people want to focus on that then maybe it'll get more people to listen to the music. But I don't want to be seen as a kind of meathead anymore, someone who plays in a band and fucks and shoots up. That's bollocks. There's so much more to me than that."

IF IT WERE POSSIBLE TO SEND OFF FOR A DUSFUNCTIONAL ROCK UPBRINGING VIA MAIL ORDER, the life you would receive back in the post 28 days later would be something very similar to the life of Brian Molko. Born in Belgium in 1975, he lived, until the age of three, in the Lebanon, Liberia and then Luxembourg. With a devoutly religious Scottish mother and an American father who was something big in international banking, Molko's first ten years were rootless and, consequently, packed full of loneliness.

In addition, Molko received the kind of education that allowed him to interpret this loneliness as 'alienation'. Luxembourg is very small and very boring. There's a high cost of living, so everybody is very rich. It's also a cultural void, so there's never anything to do. Except go to church a lot. And in the summer you can visit Sunday School Camp.

As well as instilling a hatred of money and privilege, Luxembourg contributed significantly to Brian's ongoing desire to 'break out', to leave the straight life behind.

The result was that, at 13, he was the "faggot" boy. Sent to a private American school, he became the kid who chose drama and didn't mind dressing up as a woman; the one with a copy of The Dead Kennedys' 'Give Me Convenience Or Give Me Death' under his arm; the one with the reputation for being a pothead. There was also this other kid called Stefan Olsdal. He was on the basketball team and he had his Depeche Mode records. He was in the popular crowd. It was kind of like The Breakfast Club - the rich cool kids and the no-mate dopers. You guess, not unreasonably, that Brian was probably quite jealous of Stefan.

Today, Stefan is taking care of his role as Placebo's colossus of a bassist - reading the Photek interview in last month's Select and ordering a plate of scampi and chips. He ventures a polite request for the tartar sauce, but, that apart, will remain silent for the rest of the day. "Stefan doesn't like interviews," informs Brian.

We are sitting in Borehamwood High Street's Irish pub, one hour prior to the Top Of The Pops run-through. A weathered compact disc of Foster and Allen's 'Greatest Hits' is on repeat play in the DiscAtek, so scratched and pitted that it takes a good ten minutes to stutter through the duo's breakneck rendition of 'Paddy McGinty's Goat'.

Against this background racket, Brian Molko endeavours to fill Select in on the rest of the Placebo saga. The story recommences in 1993 with Molko arriving in London to study drama at Goldsmith's College.

"I moved to London when I was 17, because I wanted to be an actor," he stresses, over the faltering folky din. "I'd grown up with a bunch of ugly Americans. I didn't want to go to America."

He trained in 'the method', in "becoming a character". His nights may have been spent listening to his student neighbours copulating to Lionel Richie, but his days were based on escape into performance, on "becoming myself totally".

"I wanted to be taller than I am. I wanted to be sexier than I am. I wanted to have less zits. I can be all of these things. When I'm on stage I am all of these things."

Like Blur and Pulp before them, Placebo are a band who aim to put the dramatic element back into pop. However, unlike Blur's cultural bricolage and Pulp's urban poetry, Placebo's art comes over as being way more self-absorbed and - in the nicest possible way - pretentious. Molko, needless to say, has no problem quoting art and art school as inspiration; he doesn't even flinch when quoting suitable lines from the third Velvet Underground album.

"'Between thought and expression there lies a lifetime / And the possibilities are endless.' The possibilities of art at the moment should be completely endless. Patti Smith started off as a poet before she got onto rock'n'roll and Patti Smith is the coolest woman in rock..."

"Except when she does fucking covers of 'Smoke On The Water'," interjects Steve Hewitt, the new, third member of Placebo.

TWO YEARS AGO, BRIAN MOLKO HOOKED UP WITH THAT BASKETBALL GUY AGAIN. Meeting by chance at an art exhibition in South Kensington, he and Stefan decided to form this lo-fi project, calling themselves Ashtray Heart, after a Captain Beefheart song.

Stefan also had this mate, called Robert, who happened to be studying music - so they formed a band called Placebo. Lots of men in suits turned up at their fifth gig. They signed to Hut Records for a lot of money. Last June they released an album, called 'Placebo'. Simple.

"People expect that when things fall into place professionally all the voids in your life are going to be filled," says Brian. "They're not. That first album was basically made by a miserable band."

Robert didn't exactly get on too well with Brian. He didn't take too well to the make-up, the drugs and the sex. There was a lot of sex and a lot of drugs in Placebo in '96. Robert was in the wrong band.

"Before Robert left," says Brian, "we were in America. We spent a lot of the tour not even looking at each other."

Obviously, there was more to it than that, but Molko is learning that what not to say is sometimes just as effective as his former candid approach.

"To be completely honest about it would make me come across as being unnecessarily vicious. Put it this way, I think he felt very threatened by me. He robbed me of a lot of things, many months when I should have been ecstatic..."

Ask Brian Molko when was the first time he was happy and he'll tell you six months ago, when Steve joined the band.

IF YOU EVER SEE A COPY OF THE BOO RADLEYS' FIRST ALBUM, 'Ichabod and I', on sale in your local Devious Record Collecter Emporium, don't buy it. It's not very good. Instead, have a look on the back at the picture of the band. After you've stopped laughing, focus on the guy in the middle, the one not wearing a cardigan, the one without the crap fringe. That's Steve Hewitt.

He was once in a band called Breed. He was in Sharkboy for a while. He even played drums on K Klass' 'Rhythm is a Mystery' in 1989. He;s not proud of these things. It's just that, as he says so himself, "It may sound sad, but I've always wanted to be a drummer."

Brian first met Steve outside Burger King in Lewisham in 1991. He'd always liked Breed. They made him want to be in a band. People thought that he fancied Steve. He went to see them a lot and Steve would even come to Ashtray Heart's ramshackle bongos-and-keyboards PAs in Deptford pubs. He'd chip in, helped on by the pints and the cocaine. When Robert left, it was obvious who was going to replace him. They don't talk about Robert any more. They call him "the invisible man".

AT TOP OF THE POPS, THINGS HAVE HIT A SNAG. Placebo have these dancers - performance art bods with body make-up those Mad Max punk hairdos that nobody has anymore. And the dancers aren't working. Their gender-transgressive art-mumming worked OK in the 'Nancy Boy' vid, but on Top Of The Pops, it all looks a bit cheap. Crap, really. And Brian Molko is tired. It's five hours since scampi and chips and 'Paddy McGinty's Goat' and Placebo have just gone one rehearsal too far. He's fed up and so he's started to analyse himself and the way he's been represented in the press

"I know I give myself too much of a hard time," he gripes, "and I analyse myself way too much. Your job, your upbringing, your sexual preferences. What I'm interested in is blowing all of that away. I need to be a positive individual. I need my madness to make a positive effect."

When he's off his head, Brian enjoys what he calls 'the madness', his eternal quest for a new kick. When he's sober he finds it harder. He finds Placebo's recent success shocking and absurd.

"The reason I want to stop talking so much about my private life is I don't want to become a caricature," he muses. "I don't believe I have a responsibility to my audience - I know that whatever I say about my life other people are going to do it anyway, so...

"I forget that these things are going to be read by X amount of people. I'm learning to shut my big mouth."

BRIAN SAYS HE'S GONE PRETTY FAR WITH DRUGS. He doesn't go near needles anymore and now won't do what he classifies as "smeg". And he's not stupid. In fact he's very aware of the role that drugs play in a band like Placebo.

"We're supposed to be a rock band, so we're supposed to thrive on that stuff. I can get away with it. Someone like Brian Harvey can't. E17 are a pop band, they're a teeny group and I think he's been unfairly victimised for what he said."

Anyway, Brian Molko isn't going to talk about drugs in interviews for much longer. Otherwise he's not going to get the message across.

"What's missing is the music. I'd like to rant on and on about the music, the mechanics of it. It's what I think about 90 per cent of the day. I don't think about getting high all the time. I guess I do think about sex a lot, though..."

And how. Brian Molko used to talk about sex all the time in interviews - the frequency, the quality but, more importantly, the fluidity. You see, Brian Molko enjoys the fact he looks like a girl, enjoys the gender confusion. Still, there've been those who find Molko's 'maybe, maybe not' approach to sexuality very irritating, the assumption being that Molko might be feeding off homosexual culture because it's an attention grabber.

And it pulls the girls. It's the Brett Anderson syndrome - the art-school bloke with no more boundaries left to cross who thinks it'll be trendy to play around with his sexuality in public.

"Maybe we should clear it up. Put it this way. I keep my options open. Interpret that as you will."

So you're bisexual?

"I don't believe in the categorisation of desire, why we have to choose these tags for ourselves. I'd say that sexuality is very fluid and I think it changes from month to month. The way that I feel certainly does. If I were to put any kind of tag on it I'd just say that I was Sexual."

Wheel Brian Molko onto Face To Face with Jeremy Isaacs, or even the 'Pop Stars and their Parents' episode of The Ricki Lake Show, and one question would be glaringly obvious. Given his privileged-yet-miserable, middle-class upbringing, isn't it possible that Placebo, and all the sex and drugs that go with them is just some extravagant way of Getting Back At His Parents?

"No, I think it's a really extravagant way of staying like a kid, of keeping a certain innocence. My interests really, really bother my father, but I'm glad about that. He just wouldn't understand what we were on about. Whereas my mother would just want to know what she did wrong."

If you'd been brought up by progressive hippy parents would you still be in Placebo?

"No. I wouldn't. By trying so hard to make me into this conservative person, they forced my identity into this direction. They created the monster that I am. I'm not the person they wanted. But that doesn't mean that I blame them.

"I'm totally responsible for my actions."

BRIAN MOLKO ENJOYS PLAYING WITH PEOPLE'S HEADS. He thinks music should provoke and challenge. When asked whether Placebo are art he'll say, "Of course. All of it. One hundred per cent." In the wake of the wood-hewn authenticity of much of 1996, such statements seem anachronistic, and Molko is well aware of it. He feels no shame in allying his band with the raincoat existentialism of Joy Division ("Our biggest influence"). He says that he is championing a return to intellectual arrogance.

"I've always been arrogant," he says, "but I'm determined not to be a wanker."

What's the difference?

"How you use it. Intelligence is the main thing. Liam is unnecessarily arrogant cos he's stupid. I wouldn't want Oasis fans to like us. They wouldn't understand, they'd feel threatened."

What are Placebo fans like then?

"Well, I get really innocent love letters and I get ones that say 'When I listen to your record I don't have to cut myself as much'. I think it's important that I'm there for these people. I feel very comfortable about being in a band for all the outsiders. If I was 14, I think I'd want to be in my shoes. I'd think I was a total star."

IT'S BEEN A LONG DAY AND, AT THE END OF IT, PLACEBO HAVE DECIDED TO DITCH THEIR MIME ARTISTS. Brian Molko is much relieved and takes this as a cue to talk about Placebo's next direction. He's just written a song called 'Burger Queen' - about being a gay goth heroin addict in Luxembourg.

"It's really the worst you could ever be. A goth, gay and on smack in the worst place, Luxembourg. It's so sad."

He's also been offered a part in a film with Ewan McGregor and has been asked to work on a single with an old bunglist, one David Bowie. Comicallittle geezer, Brian Molko. He'll look funny when he's 50.

"Fifty? Sometimes I wonder if I'm going to make 30. I've done a lot that puts me in jeopardy."

No details are forthcoming. He's being coy again, isn't he?

"Come on! I've got to retain some mystery."

viernes, 27 de abril de 2018

NEWS: Digital 21 & Stefan Olsdal Tour Dates 2018

Digital 21 & Stefan Olsdal on Tour 2018

DIGITAL 21 + STEFAN OLSDAL will be closing the main stage of the FiestasSanIsidro in Madrid at 15th of May. 2018!!

It is at 22:45 at the Pradera de San Isidro in Madrid.
Free Entrance. 

*There will be Fireworks at the end of the night. See you there..

Photo credits:

Tickets / also on Pop Farm

10th Oct. Ekaterinburg (Dom Pechati).

11th Oct. St. Petersburg (Opera Club).

12th Oct. Moscow (Pluton).

14th Oct. Kiev (Carribbean).

18.03.2018 Madrid - La Casa Encendida

20.03.2018 Madrid - Televisión Española 

24.03.2018 Berlin - Kantine am Berghain

26.03.2018 London - Hoxton Sq Bar & Kitchen

See you there ❤️

#ThanksForSharing xxx

Riverman Management

Riverman Bangkok

X-ray Touring

Melt! Booking

Crosstown Concerts


viernes, 6 de abril de 2018

Digital 21 in Berlin or the day I kissed Stefan Olsdal

When I was a little girl my dad used to say: days that start shitty will end up great and yeah, sometimes he's still right.^^
On the 24 of March I went to Berlin to see Digital 21.

First I had to go by taxi to the coach station cause there was no tram and that was more expensive than the ride to Berlin and back, then I was searching my hotel for more than an hour,not a good start into the day.

Before the concert I met a few soulmates, we had delicious pizza and diverting talks it's always great to meet people in real life you only know from the internet.
After dinner we made our way to the Club and an hour before entry there was none except us it really was some kind of strange, no crowd, no screaming Girls and frontrow of course...

Kantine am Berghain was a small location, just before start there were not more than 150 people, maybe even less.
We had some drinks and the show started at 21.45.
It was loud, it was different, but good and Miguel and Stefan were in a great mood like the audience.

After the gig a very shy Miguel told us he would come back with Stefan and he did.
In contrast to him Stef was very open minded and took his time for signinig and taking pictures, both seemed to be in high spirits and happy.
Guess we will never get that close to Stefan again and so I decided to snog him when he stood next to me.

Always wanted to kiss a bearded man so I got up on my tiptoes and took my chance.
He didn't run away that's why I think it was okay and it felt good... and soft, now I know what it's like...
Great evening, great show, great crew...
Greetings to Kevin, Karin, Renate, Joachim, Marco and Anja, see you somewhere on the road and thx for the pics.
And to all of you out there, have a relaxing night.


martes, 6 de marzo de 2018

Placebo will play at the Meltdown Festival 2018 curated by Robert Smith from The Cure - Tickets on sale 15th March

Very proud to announce that Placebo have been asked to perform at the 2018 Meltdown Festival, that this year is curated by Robert Smith from The Cure. The festival takes place at the Southbank Centre, London.

Tickets go on general sale 15th March, please watch for further announcements regarding ticket links.

domingo, 4 de marzo de 2018

‘We embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm’ - Brian Molko Interview - October 2017

Photo credits: Isabella Finzi

Placebo Interview with Brian Molko: ‘We embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm’

Brian Molko reflects on the alternative rock band’s career as they wrap up a retrospective 20 Years of Placebo tour.
Tuesday 17 October 2017 for

Photo credits: Claude Piscitelli Flickr

“I'd rather we were considered a marmite band than for us to be seen as inoffensive and easily forgettable, so I don't have a problem with generating love or disgust for our band; that's not an issue for me at all!”

It’s fair to say that Brian Molko, lead singer and songwriter for Placebo, the band he’s fronted now for 23 years, is well aware of their reputation for garnering praise and scorn in almost equal measure. As is made obvious from the quote above, he is perfectly at ease with such a perception, even historically going so far as to positively encourage disdain from those who he himself holds in contempt.

It’s exactly this desire to goad, challenge and confront that has made Placebo one of the most interesting and remarkable bands of the past 30 years, even if the majority of the British music press were initially too busy trying to work out the sexuality of individual band members to notice. After all, what band ever achieved anything worthwhile by straddling the middle of the road? “We had the capability to deal with the press at the time; it was a bit like pouring petrol on a fire” he says, before adding with a cheeky grin which implies that he might not be entirely serious “we’re far more sensitive these days.”

Given Placebo’s history with the press, one might think that Molko would be at best wary, at worst down-right hostile towards journalists. When I meet up with him prior to a rehearsal for the last leg of the band’s current retrospective tour however, any fears of a frosty reception are allayed almost immediately. Instead this afternoon, he proves to be warm, friendly, engaging and never too far away from erupting into fits of laughter. He speaks slowly in that familial, nasal tone that gives Placebo one of the distinct characteristics that people either adore or abhor and provides, considerate, well-thought out answers to all my questions, even being so gracious as to extend our interview not just once, but twice.“We got thrust into the limelight very quickly and we embraced our early success with a lot of glee’ he says between drags on a cigarette and with a glint in his eye.

‘We had this feeling of utter disbelief, as if we were naughty schoolchildren that had fooled everyone and were about to be found out any minute. So we embraced the rock n' roll lifestyle with enormous enthusiasm, as I think every young band should, you know? It's a rite of passage and it comes with the territory. We were surprised by how well the first album did, particularly when ‘Nancy Boy’ got to number 4 in the charts and we had to perform it on Top of the Pops; that really had never been a part of the plan! Our motivation was simply to never get a job in an office; we expected to hopefully be able to pay the rent and put food on the table and we would have been very satisfied with that but the universe had different plans for us. We stuck out like a sore thumb in a music scene where Britpop was king; the timing was accidental but it also proved to be rather fortuitous for us.”

Resultado de imagen de Brian Molko david bowie

Bolstered by this unexpected serendipity, Placebo pranced cocksure and panda-eyed into a musical landscape awash with macho posturing and male bravado. Their heroes, Lou Reed, Marc Bolan and David Bowie among them, had all pushed the boundaries of androgyny and sexuality in the 70s but Placebo found themselves thrust unwillingly into a musical landscape that, broadly speaking, had little time to confront the prudish attitudes of the bourgeois.

“I wanted to challenge the homophobia that I was witnessing in the music scene” says Molko. “I wanted anybody who was slightly homophobic to show up at our gigs and think 'Oh, I really fancy the singer. She's hot!' only to find out later that the singer was called Brian, which would hopefully lead them to go home and ask themselves a few questions. Of course the cross-dressing was an aesthetic choice but for us, it was also a political act; that was a very big part of what we were trying to achieve at that time.”

Twenty-one years have passed since the band first came into public consciousness and Placebo are still here whilst Cool Britannia is most certainly not, replaced instead with a more overt, pervading sense of fear, bigotry and xenophobia – in 2017, we’re about as far away from the pervading mid-Nineties attitude of incandescent national pride as it’s possible to get. Placebo had the common sense not to ride the Britpop wave, which in 1996 was already beginning to show signs of dissipating, and have consequently remained whilst so many of their contemporaries fell by the wayside. In fact, one could argue (as Molko does) that Placebo are more pertinent now at the beginning of the 21st century than they ever were at the end of the 20th.

“The message that we bring when we go anywhere and play a concert is a message of tolerance, understanding and acceptance and it’s quite a wonderful thing, because what Placebo became very early on, was a band for the outcasts, the misfits, the square pegs in the round holes. We didn't set out to do that but that's what we became and of course myself and Stefan [Olsdal, Molko’s musical partner since the band began in 1994] grew up feeling like we didn't fit in and just by virtue of being honest and open about that, we appealed to a great number of people who felt that there wasn't necessarily a voice for them. And that continues to this day, this really big community that has grown around us and identifies with what we represent.”

This current tour, titled A Place for Us to Dream – 20 Years of Placebo, marks two decades since the release of the 1996 self-titled debut album (for fans of pedantry, the tour began in 2016) and enables the band to look back on their career thus far, an uncharacteristic move for the band. Molko has always been startlingly honest on his feelings towards some of Placebo’s earlier material, to the point where, these days at least, he seems to have become his own harshest critic.

“I was terrified at the beginning of this tour” he confesses. “I was quite frightened about the prospect of how I was going to feel re-visiting a lot of this old material for 18 months. I was struggling to make an emotional connection to those old songs, which is kind of why we stopped playing them in the first place. If we were less contrary and more career-driven, then we would just play what people want to hear but performing is an act that fills our souls and that means that we need to get something out of it too. We're not interested in stepping out on stage and simply trying to make everybody happy, because that would be a mistruth. What we are interested in is telling our truth and in order to do that, we need to have an emotional connection to the music and the audience, otherwise it's merely a mechanical act and personally, I'm not interested in engaging in a mechanical act in front of thousands of people.”

All of which makes the idea of a retrospective tour seem less a place for us to dream and m
ore a place for Molko to re-live a monotonous nightmare night after night for the best part of a year; so what changed? “After the first couple of gigs, I realised I could make a connection through the sheer joy and love that was coming back to us from the audience” he says. “It was really quite overwhelming when they heard these songs which we had buried for so long. I realised that making people happy is actually an extremely rewarding experience and that became the fuel in the tank for us. The audience is vital in a live situation, you need to have that interaction with them, otherwise it's very difficult to perform and when they hear ‘Pure Morning’ or ‘Nancy Boy’, they go absolutely wild!”

Ah yes, “Pure Morning” and “Nancy Boy”, two of the most beloved songs in the band’s back catalogue (they’re currently the 4th and 9th most played Placebo songs on Spotify respectively) and in keeping with his contrary character, two of the most derided by Molko himself. If one were to cast a beady critical eye over the band’s body of work, it would be difficult to acknowledge either song as the absolute pinnacle of their career but by the same token, neither deserve heaps of scorn either. What is it exactly about these two songs in particular that causes such anguish for the author?

“’Nancy Boy’ I consider quite a naive piece of writing; it's so simple that it's borderline moronic in a musical sense. I've never had a problem with ‘Pure Morning’ musically, but you have to understand that we wrote it during a B-sides session once the album was finished. It was never intended to be a single, but the record company heard it and went 'there's your single'. And we said 'really?' If I had realised it was going to go on the album, I probably would have spent a little more time on the lyrics but I was more interested in how we were using loops and new techniques in the studio at the time.”

It was also around this time that the band collaborated with David Bowie on a re-recorded version of the title track from their sophomore album Without You I’m Nothing, arguably the band’s most beloved and cherished record to date. “That song is very misunderstood” says Molko, “it is not a love song, the narrator is suffering from pathological low self-esteem. It’s about co-dependence, feeling like you don’t have an identity without somebody else.”

Inevitably, the song has taken on a whole new meaning with a far deeper resonance for Molko since Bowie’s death in January 2016. In Placebo’s early days, when critics were taking seemingly every opportunity they could to make cheap swipes at the band, it was Bowie’s patronage that garnered them credibility in the eyes of a music press that were dumb enough to be disorientated by a bloke in a dress. As was his wont, Bowie took the band under his wing, making regular live appearances with them, inviting them out on tour and providing sound counsel and mentorship.

“We’ve been flashing up images of David whilst playing ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ on this tour and some nights it's been such an emotional experience that I've come very close to breaking down into tears" Molko confides. "There was a point during the summer where I said to Stefan 'I'm not too sure if I can play this anymore, it's tearing me apart'. But I’ve got over that now and instead, it has become a celebration of who David Bowie was and the impact he had on me as a human being, as well as a musician. The best advice he ever gave us was 'whatever you do, never lose your spontaneity'. David was always one for taking left-corners and going off on tangents and I think he infused a courage in us to do exactly that, to constantly re-invent ourselves. So yes the significance has changed, it's become a lot more about David for me, which is ok. He's kind of constantly with me at the moment, which is quite sweet and I reflect on our conversations, on his advice and what it was like to see him play every night for five years when we were touring together; he's like my guardian angel!”

With this tour seemingly as good a time to reflect on their career as any, I take the opportunity to ask Molko if there is a particular song that he is most proud of over the 100+ he’s written for the band in the last 23 years. “Every single band wants to do two things; 1) they want to write that one song that is such a big hit that they never have to work again. And 2) they want to write a song which transcends the identity of the band itself. I think we finally managed that ourselves with the last track on Loud Like Love which is a song called ‘Bosco’. You don't need to know anything about Placebo for that song to grasp you emotionally or to connect with the story in that song because it is so vulnerable. It transcends the band's identity, it can exist without needing any context from the band in order for it to have the desired emotional impact. In my eyes, that's the making of a timeless song that can go on to mean a great deal to people long after we've shuffled off this mortal coil.”

But what of the future of Placebo? Molko reveals that he is currently writing songs for the band’s as yet untitled eighth album, a project that will no doubt become the main focus of their 2018. “I'd like the next record to reflect the pain, frustration and violence that we're seeing on the news on a daily basis” he says. “I'd like it to be a record of the times because I've lived in London for 27 years and I honestly have never seen anything quite like the political climate we’re living in today, both in the UK and in the US. We’re going backwards rather than forwards; everyone’s on edge and a sense of fear pervades with terrorist attacks and world leaders threatening to wipe other countries of the face of the planet. And alongside that, I also believe that we’ve entered the most narcissistic age that I've ever experienced in my lifetime thanks to the way that technology has developed. I don't necessarily think that level of self-entitlement is healthy for us as a society. These are very inspiring times for artists and creative types.”