Other Places[Placeboworld official site] [Soulmates Never Die (unofficial Placebo site)]
Placebo are Brian Molko(vocals, guitar), Stefan Olsdal (bass, guitar and keyboards) and Steve Hewitt (drums). One American, one Swedish and one Englishman.
Placebo's unique vision of music and life began in Luxembourg, where Brian initially met Stefan, who is Swedish, at school, at the ages of 12 and 11 respectively. As Brian recalls, "in the space of seven years we might have exchanged one sentence."
Brian came to London when he was 17-years-old, studying drama at Goldsmith's College. Stefan, meanwhile, had followed his parents to England, and was studying guitar at the Musicians Institute in the East End. It was thus by sheer accident that he ran into Stefan at South kesington tube station (at 9:30-a time when Brian was never awake),"There he was, with a guitar strapped to his back, and he didn't actually want my phone number he asked for it out of courtesy" . By that time Brian was also working on his own musical ambitions, writing songs as well as playing occasional gigs with a drummer called Steve Hewitt and happened to be playing a gig that night. Stefan attended, and immediately decided a band had to be formed " I fell in love with his voice and his guuitar playing because it was really different" remembers Stefan. Steve Hewitt - whom Brian first met outside Burger King in Lewisham in 1991 through a common friend who was Steve's girlfriend- was also involved with another band called Breed, but contributed to Placebo's intial demos when time permitted.
Because of his conflicting commitments with Breed Hewitt was replaced in Placebo by a Swedish drummer called Robert Schultzberg.
Olsdal called round with Robert with whom Stefan has been at school and in a band with in Sweden (he was coming to London to study music ) and Placebo was born."It was perfect, it just gelled " remembers Brian.
The band was named after a drug which cannot work, they figured something " you only think makes you feel better".
Robert was asked to leave the band on the way to a rehearsal for The White Room as the atmosphere within the band was unbearable. " I think Robert had a very big problem with me being the personality that I am. I guess being more flamboyant than him, receiving more of the attention than him, being more of a focus in the band than he was. I just became increasingly tired the focus of Robert's rages against the world. i did a lot to gain his trust, but it was never enough." It was the original chemistry which eventually proved to be the most enduring, and Hewitt was to permanently re-join Placebo in 1996. By that time the band had already made an extraordinary impact. Startring with their live debut at London's Rock Garden in January 1995. During 1995 they toured with Ash, Whale and Bush, determined to hook all-comers into their congregation , and released their debut single, 'Bruise Pristine' on the Fierce Panda indie label in November1995.
The band were also constantly on the road, playing club gigs and support spots in order to properly hone their music. Indeed, at the end of the first year Placebo had their first taste of tangible success when 'Come Home' a single recorded for the Deceptive label, reached number three in the indie chart.
In January 1996, Placebo signed a deal with Hut Recordings. They've attracted attention from the outset, pursued by A&R men repeating the mantra, "You were brilliant. We've got to meet up.You blew me away," Placebo secured their deal with Hut a mere 51 weeks after their first ever gig.They have also, in that time, set up their own label, Elevator Music, via a special deal with Hut Recordings.They began in 1996 with the critically acclaimed 'Come Home' single in January '96 and toured the UK with Belgian art rockers Evil Superstars and Europe with David Bowie, he became a fan of the band instantly, he invited Placebo to support him on several of his European concert dates.
"We went from 300 capacity venues to 8,000 to 12,000 capacity stadiums almost overnight, which was freaky," Brian notes "Now we've played to 16,000 people in Paris, those festivals are not going to scare us" .
Placebo-The First Album
Placebo's first album was recorded in Dublin during the spring of 1996 The 10 tracks were mostly about sex. The self-titled debut album was released in June of 1996 preceded by singles '36 Degrees' and 'Teenage Angst' and went on to achieve gold status. Placebo then returned to the road, re-tracing their touring schedule of the previous year, this time playing to packed houses throughout the country.
When Robert 'left' Placebo, Steve was the first drummer to be phoned by Brian who had placed Steve at the top of a list of three. ' I sat in my bedroom with my practice kit for two weeks and learnt the LP', Steve recalls ' Then we had one and a half days rehearsal before touring thirteen countries in four months!'.In that way, the band embarked on a series of international tours - in America, Germany and France - . If confirmation was ever needed about Placebo's rising fame, it came in January 1997 with the release of 'Nancy Boy' as a single. As one of the stand-out tracks on the album, 'Nancy Boy' went to number four in the UK chart .
The same month Placebo played at Madison Square Garden in New York as special guests on the bill of David Bowie's 50th birthday party. The New single Bruise Pristine was released on May 12th. The band were clearly visible throughout much of the year, headlining their own UK tour, culminating with a show at London's Brixton Academy - before supporting U2 on many of the Popmart European dates.
Without you i'm nothing-The Second Album
Placebo were also invited by executive producer Michael Stipe to play parts alongside Ewan McGregor and Eddie Izzard in the forthcoming film Velvet Goldmine, due out to be released in the autumn of 1998.
The time had come for Placebo to record their second album. At the begining of 1998 the band started work at Real World Studios in bath, with Steve Osborne - whose past credits include U2 and The Happy Mondays - as producer. Due to be unveiled in October 1998, the new album is a collection of twisted love songs which deal, in one form or another, with heartbreak and loneliness. All this is fuelled by a powerfull new sonic identity; there's now sex in the groove, the result of Steve 's obsessions with funk and hip-hop. Despite being out of the public eye and in the studio for months, on end August 1998 saw Pure Morning, the first single from the second album, go straight to number four in the UK charts.
Without You I'm Nothing, their Virgin debut, expands upon the sound of Placebo's earlier eponymous disc (released in America on Caroline Records) and shows the London-based trio thriving on ambiguity, uncertainty, and pure glorious noise. And once again David Bowie shows his attachment to the band offering us a sublime duet with Brian of Wihtout You I'm Nothing, the 4th single.
For the pleasure of French fans and their own delight, the band released a French version of Burger Queen on November 23th before starting a third album.
Black Market Music-The Third Album
July 2000, more viril than ever, the man is back, and he didn't lose of his good taste.
Taste In Men is the first single of the so much awaited third album recorded in London with Paul Corkett who engineered WYIN.
What must we expect ? Something as good as WYIN ? Something different ? Brian promised it to be "a distillation of what we've done before", " It's anger and energy".
10 October,2000. The world release of Black Market Music. Awaited by the fans and the critics. Placebo are in France to promote the album, autograph session in a music store, an interview and a live performance in a French show. Is it enough to convince the audience ?
Well the critics are sharp. How can they do something better than "Without You I'm Nothing" ? That is the question. Are they able to do something different from their previous releases ?
As Brian says, it is indeed a distillation of the successful first albums, nothing new, the same nervous guitars and twisted love songs. Just pleasant. "Run away from all your boredom"...Seems like it was what the critics expected. But the fans are there, others are joining the troup...And there's apparently no one who will stand on their way.
October 2001, Placebo will brilliantly end their world tour back in Europe, having marvelled thousands rimmed eyes around the world. Finally some rest for the band...They brought back some souvenirs for us.
Sleeping With Ghosts-The Fourth Album
24 Mars 2003, after 2 years of silence, well not really silence but let's call it discretion : collaboration with Alpine Stars - Carbon Kid-; Trash Palace - Je t'aime moi non plus- (Brian and Asia Argento going back and forth to the Serge Gainsbourg so famous call-to-sex song), the trio is coming back with "Sleeping with Ghosts". Rather promising album, it was definitely not a Bitter end for Placebo. Excellent tracks such as the devilish intrumental "Bullet proof Cupid", the mellow slow "Centrefold", "Protect me from what I want"... Some tracks are definitely bringing us back few years ago, during the glorious "Without you I'm nothing" time. Those same successful ingredients will lift that album to the charts again for our great pleasure.