The SMH "Placebo have graduated to prescription drugs", Sep'06

The Sydney Morning Herald
September 8, 2006
by George Palathingal

Placebo frontman Brian Molko might let you call his band many things, but don't try "bisexual, androgynous indie Goths".

"There's a hell of a lot more to us," says the bisexual, androgynous indie Goth, who mumbles about "substance" and "sophistication". "It's much, much simpler than that. We're a rock'n'roll band ... that can be emotional."

The description came up while mentioning the London trio had quickly sold out one of their upcoming shows at the sizeable Hordern Pavilion. After all, they're not the usual band your average Wolfmother/Jet-loving, testosterone-fuelled Australian rock fan might take to their bosom.

"There must be some sort of sensibility for us to touch the hearts of so many people," Molko says.

"We've never kind of underestimated the intelligence of our audience. Those [bisexual/androgynous] things, to me, are kind of very peripheral and are quite superficial. I mean, if that's all that we were then we would be a novelty act and it's kind of obvious that we're not. People understand it."

It's 10 years since Placebo made their unmissable arrival with a shed-load of make-up and the blistering single Nancy Boy. You might expect a band that burned so brightly to have faded away, yet Placebo are still coming up with the dark and dramatic goods on their fifth album, Meds.

The title suggests the formerly notorious Placebo have switched from illegal hard drugs to prescription ones.

"Well, y'know, it's not as simple as that," Molko says. "I mean, Meds is an album about anesthesia and addiction. It's an album that I don't think we could have made five, six, seven years ago, simply because the negative effects of the rock lifestyle weren't as apparent then, y'know? Perhaps we were too young.

"It's definitely a record made by a band who have come through the whole rock'n'roll bullshit and [see] it for what it is. It's quite a serious one, but it's not necessarily all doom and gloom, either."

There are also fantastic cameos from REM's Michael Stipe and the Kills' Alison Mosshart, who purrs soothingly on the title track "Baby, don't you forget to take your meds".

Placebo's 1998 single Without You I'm Nothing featured David Bowie. Molko may collaborate with these enigmatic, sophisticated rockers, but it's the tortured young types fronting mega-selling emo bands who probably worship the ground he prances on.

"Well, I don't know," Molko says.

"I mean, it's not a genre of music that I'm particularly into. Have you noticed that as you've gotten a little bit older, we're a lot harder to satisfy?

"I mean, certainly there is, as there always has been, movements and fashion in music, and a kind of - there's always been a sort of homogenisation of things, y'know? It's always people who kind of, you have to pick out.

"Look at the Arctic Monkeys record. These guys, who are very young still, they're writing stuff which is so witty and so clever; a really, really sophisticated use of language and of colloquialism. It really sort of blew me away because it was so developed for somebody who's so young, y'know?"

Do such vibrant young pups make Placebo feel their age?

"Well, no. We feel we're at our best right now. We've also realised that it's not enough to just go onstage and play the songs. You really, really have to perform.

"We don't really sort of believe in pyrotechnics and stuff like that; we believe in having that come from the band onstage. So we work harder. Right now I'm probably more physically fit than I've been in 10 years."

How? Does Molko go running?

"No! No, I've got dodgy knees from 10 years of jumping up and down onstage. I do other kinds of exercise."

So if a bisexual, androgynous indie Goth gatecrashes your yoga class this month, don't be alarmed.



Source: smh