Albuquerque Tribune "Placebo to end U.S. tour near Denver", Aug'07

by Paul Maldonado
August 24, 2007

What: Projekt Revolution 2007
• Linkin Park, My Chemical Romance, Taking Back Sunday, H.I.M, Placebo and Julien-K on the Main Stage.
• Mindless Self Indulgence, Saosin, the Bled, Styles of Beyond and Madina Lake on the Revolution Stage.
When: Monday, Sept. 3. Doors open at 12:45 p.m.; show starts at 2 p.m.
Where: Coors Amphitheatre, 6350 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Englewood, Colo., a suburb south of Denver.
How to get there: From Albuquerque, drive I-25 north about 430 miles to the Orchard Road Exit. Go west (left) to Greenwood Plaza Boulevard. Turn south (left) to Coors Amphitheatre.
How much: $24.50 to $70, plus applicable service charges, at all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster, or 883-7800.
More information: Coors Amphitheatre Box Office, (303) 846-3633, Projekt Revolution.

Even before releasing its fifth studio album, "Meds," in April 2006, the members of the British trio Placebo — Brian Molko on vocals and guitar, bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Hewitt — had been out on the road. And since the record came out, they've put a heavy concentration on the Americas.

The band has been trying to break in the United States since forming 10 years ago. It gained a foothold with 2003's "Sleeping With Ghosts." For "Meds," the band ditched the synths and went with the basics — guitar, bass, drums. But its brand of Euro-rock 'n' roll didn't lose any of its passion or bombast.

And hewing to that fine U.S. marketing tradition, the band's label, Virgin Records, re-released "Meds" in December with three "bonus" tracks, including a cover version of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill."

All this set Placebo up for its biggest U.S. show to date — Sunday night at the Coachella Music Fest, where an incendiary performance enhanced its reputation while garnering beaucoup fans.

The group is on Linkin Park's "Projekt Revolution 2007" tour — 29 shows in 40 days — which comes to an end Labor Day at a shed outside Denver.

Molko, 34, called The Tribune from Sacramento during a day off from the tour. He comes across as soft-spoken, with a not-too-thick British accent. In fact, he says he has a hard time understanding my accent more then once.

Tribune: Hey, Brian, how's it going? Enjoying your day off?

Molko: It's an off day (laughs), but I have three interviews today. You're my second.

Tribune: My son told me to be sure to catch your show at Coachella. I'm glad I did; it was great.

Molko: We had a great time at Coachella. It was our first American festival ever. What a way to start, huh? We had a fantastic time.

Tribune: What kind of fan base do you have in America?

Molko: We've toured the U.S. extensively during the past 10 years, but we're not quite above a cult following here. Which is perfectly fine with me.

Tribune: Do you like coming to the U.S.?

Molko: We have a tendency, as a band, to go anywhere to play for any number of people. We've toured Eastern Europe extensively and gone to places other bands wouldn't even think of.

For us, it isn't so much . . . or always about the money; the music comes first. We're taking our music to the people.

Tribune: Why do you think you haven't broken in the States?

Molko: I think it's because we have a very European sensibility, really; we've spent all our lives there, grew up there.

Sure we've been influenced by the Pixies, Sonic Youth, Jane's Addiction . . . to name a few. But we've no constant presence in the U.S. We're not readily identifiable in America.

We didn't grow up here; we weren't listening to Journey on the radio growing up. I think it's just a question of geography, really.

Tribune: How would you describe your music?

Molko: That's a difficult question. When I started the band more than a decade ago, I had this idea of it being a cross between Sonic Youth and P.J. Harvey. So there, you have some idea of where I'm coming from.

But I don't think about it, really; the music is what it is. I'm not settled on a specific identification, (because) that leads to self-censorship. Like I can't pick up a tuba for our next album 'cause we're a "rock" band?

Tribune: Do you have any new music coming out anytime soon?

Molko: It's going to be a little while before we put out another record (laughs). We've been on the road over 18 months now. I think we've had too much exposure to our own music (laughs).

Tribune: Virgin sent me a copy of the "Extended Play '07" EP. (The eight-song disc features tunes from each of the band's five studio albums, including three previously unreleased live tracks.) Is that just a stopgap?

Molko: It's just a little something for our fans . . . for the time being.

Tribune: Do you guys write on the road?

Molko: We used to during sound check. But we've been doing mainly festivals lately, so we don't do many sound checks now. We have a great crew who know what to do to make us sound great live. We do have more "daily time," though (laughs).

Tribune: Which do you prefer: festivals or your own gigs?

Molko: I like things about our own (tours) more — artistically and on a more satisfying level. At our shows, we're preaching to the converted. Festival shows are fast; they can be like being on a converter (sic) belt.

But it's a great thing, a day in the park. We get to spend lots of time with interesting people — musicians — people you admire. I know some people are going to think I'm crazy, but I'm serious; I really am. We get to make friends with other bands.

Tribune: Why did Placebo agree to be on the Projekt Revolution tour?

Molko: I think of it as a way for us to gain some new fans, absolutely. If we turn just one person on to our music and they share it with their friends, that's good for us; we've done our job.

Tribune: What's been the reception, so far? (Placebo is second on the main stage, between Julien-K and H.I.M.)

Molko: The Linkin Park crowd is a hard bunch (nervous laughter). They're there to see Linkin Park. We have to convince them, bring them to our side. But it's a good thing; it makes us a better band.

Tribune: Any regrets for going on this tour?

Molko: There have been some tough crowds. Like I said, they're not really there to see us. We just have to try to win them over.

But backstage is really cool. There's no problems; there's no egos. It's a really, really positive vibe.

Tribune: What's your favorite song to to do live?

Molko: When we do our own shows, we do a more experimental rock encore, more "space rock." I mean there actually are some "songs" in all that noise (laughs). But at the moment, there's "Twenty Years" and "Running Up That Hill."

Tribune: What's next after this, your own tour?

Molko: Nothing at the end of this tour (laughs). We've been going on two years on the road. I think it's time to go home.

Source: abqtrib