Kerrang "Brian Molko: The Songs That Changed My Life", Jun'06




KOOL THING, SONIC YOUTH
Sonic Youth were the beginning for me. The whole “Goo” album changed my life because before it, I was unaware of all the possibilities of guitar music. They had the ultimate punk attitude towards the guitar, they threw the rulebook away and made the guitar work for them. They also showed me the beauty of atonal chords and dissonance. They opened up a whole new world to me.
Find it : Goo, 1990

RIVER EUPHRATES, PIXIES
I was 16 and growing up in Luxembourg when I first heard this. I had never heard a voice like Black Francis’ before. He was this rotund young man singing like a castrado, it was so unexpected. I was instantly fascinated and went straight out and bought “Surfer Rosa”. The Pixies remain so significant to Placebo to this day – we covered “Where Is My Mind?” and Frank Black joined us onstage once, which was a hell of a moment.
Find it : Surfer Rosa, 1988

HOLIDAY IN CAMBODIA, DEAD KENNEDYS
I was obsessed with the Dead Kennedys when I was 13. I was developing as a political being at that time, I guess. Because I lived in Luxembourg, my access to music was very jumbled up and I didn’t discover punk through the English bands, as you’re supposed to. I discovered the really political, anti-Reagan, American Punk. Jello Biafra’s lyrics really appealed to my anti-establishment nature. They are stil my favourite punk band.
Find it : Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables, 1980

SHEELA-NA-GIG, PJ HARVEY
Steve[Hewitt, drums] introduced me to PJ Harvey when we were at university. Her songwriting instantly became a big influence on me. I was struck by how individual her voice was and then by how taut and nervous the instrumentation was. It was so expressive of internal torment, desire, lust and rejection. She’s always been very brave, she’s not afraid to make a record that sounds like someone bleeding on you.
Find it : Dry, 1992

BLISTER IN THE SUN, VIOLENT FEMMES
I was listening to this when I first realised I could sing. I put it on in my Mum’s car on the way home from the supermarket when I was 13 and I was singing along to it. When I was 13, my voice sounded exactly like [Violent Femmes vocalist] Gordon Gano’s. From then on I devoured that record and the teenage angst of it all. It’s a very weird and individual record-it’s almost folk-rock and it probably shouldnt work but it does.
Find it : Violent Femmes, 1983

CHELSEA HOTEL NO.2, LEONARD COHEN
I’m a huge Leonard Cohen fan and this was one of the first songs I learned to play on the acoustic guitar. I was fascinated by Janis Joplin at the time and this was basically the story of him and her in a hotel room, having sex and doing drugs. His lyrics are masterful and so simple. Leonard Cohen remains an influence on me to this day-you just have to listen to “In The Cold Light Of Morning” on our “Meds” album to hear his impact.
Find it : New Skin For The Old Ceremony, 1974

DON’T LET ME BE MISUNDERSTOOD, NINA SIMONE
The first time I heard this it just seemed to describe me completely. The lyrics are “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good, Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood”. It implies someone fucking up all the time, which I do, but I have good intentions. That line is the line I’ll put on my tombstone. It encapsulates how I see my own soul.
Find it : Broadway-Blues-Ballads, 1964

GUILTY PLEASURE!
TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART, BONNIE TYLER
It’s amazing! It was written by Jim Steinman, who did all the Meat Loaf records, but this is his best work. It was huge when I was a kid and I can still see the video in my head. I heard it on the radio the other day. I didn’t realise what it was, and my body tingled and I went, “What the fuck is that? That’s amazing”. I don’t love it for kitsch reasons, I love it for the right reasons.
Find it : Faster Than The Speed Of Night, 1983

BRIAN ALSO LOVES
Paranoid – Black Sabbath
Hit The North – The Fall
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Song – The Flaming Lips
The Model – Kraftwerk
Closer – Nine Inch Nails
Fuck The Pain Away – Peaches
When Doves Cry – Prince and The Revolution