"The Brian Molko Interview"

FHM, Oct'00

The elfin Placebo frontman chews the fat on his Nike scar, tonsil pus and Caprice's rubbish chat-up technique...

Be fair - you look like a girl. Has a bloke ever mistakenly chatted you up?

Haha! Several times. Even in the pre-make-up days, these poor men would approach me and start talking. Then I'd introduce myself as Brian, and watch their jaws drop. And it's one of the reasons I started to wear make-up - to push that confusion further.

To think you were almost a vicar. Didn't your devout Christian mum try to point you towards the clergy?

I used to have tutorials with the local pastor; my leadership qualities were recognised at an early age. But I was quite a rebellious Christian. I used to take along all my Jello Biafra (lead singer of The Dead Kennedys) spoken word records - which were just anti-American family, anti-government incendiary politics. I remember getting letters from the pastor when I was at college: "You may have strayed from the path and you are a lost sheep in the flock, but you will come back."

So he hasn't seen you recently then...

No! He's probably thinking, "Whoops, I think we pushed this one a step too far."

Because of your father's banking job, you grew up in Liberia, Lebanon and Luxembourg. Where were the worst school bullies?

The European School of Luxembourg - easily. I actually had to leave because I was being bullied too much. I had a tendency to goad people until they basically lost it, people twice the size of me. They'd then be faced with this saggy, diminutive little tranny in front of them; I think they were embarrassed to hit me. Instead, I remember being dangled from this 10ft wall in the playground by my shoes. It was like those old crime movies, where snitches are dangled from the top of buildings. If they'd dropped me, I would have broken my neck, definitely. I faced mortality at a very young age.

Nasty. Does it still bother you?

I still have nightmares about returning to school and repeating my final year. But it's great: I remember halfway through the dream I left college years ago, and walk around insulting everybody. It makes a change from my normal dreams. I'm usually persecuted - forced to do some sort of Running Man-style race for my freedom, being chased by men with chainsaws.

Ever had that dream where you're having sex with Madonna - but her vagina has teeth?


Oh. We did read, however, that you turned down Caprice when she chatted you up at the Brits. Explain yourself.

It was very flattering. She came up to me and said, "I've heard a rumour about you, and please tell me that it's true." Basically, she'd become quite obsessed with a certain part of my anatomy; someone had told her - falsely, I add - that it measured in the double figures. It was like being chatted up by a 13-year-old girl; she spent the evening sitting in the corner with her mate, pointing and giggling behind her hand. And she's the archetypal beauty for men around the world! It was far more fulfilling to say no.

So have you boffed anyone famous?

There's been a few musicians and actresses. It's usually very amusing to sleep with people who have bigger egos than you do. But I'm the soul of discretion. It'll all be in my book, haha!

With numerous groupie-related tales?

Groupies? Never heard of them, haha! Normally, we'd just choose the best-looking people from the audience, cram them into a room backstage, ply them with alcohol and see what happened.

After your 1997 tour, you said you "left a trail of blood and spunk across three continents". That's a lot of fluid for a small man.

There was probably a bit less blood than spunk. About 70/30, haha! Still not bad though. We took it as far as humanly possible. I read Marilyn Manson's book - The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell - and it just made me want to go out and take as many drugs and fuck as many people as I could. It never got as extreme as Manson, though - you know, covering handicapped people with cold meats and pissing on them. There has to be a line drawn in the sand. And cold meats is where I draw it.

But in the recent Melody Maker list of worst rock 'n' roll hellraisers, you came 14th. That's one ahead of Ozzy Osbourne - and he bit the head off a bat, for Christ's sake!

Fourteenth? That's not good enough! Mind you, it does dispel the myth - perhaps you can get away with more. I still have the battle scars. There's one on my wrist where I put my arm through a window trying to open it; the glass missed Mr Vein by a millimetre. It healed in the shape of a Nike Swoosh. They can't buy advertising like that.

Does this mean you're going to be more careful?

There's a French saying: "Put a little water in your wine." That's me now - I have to watch the amount of abuse I subject myself to, simply because of my voice. We finished the last tour, after 13 months on the road, in Australia. Stefan [Placebo bassist] had broken his arm, I'd managed to compress a vertebrae in my neck - so I'd lost all feeling in half of my head. And when you've got a doctor dragging litres of pus from your tonsils with a six-inch needle, it's a bit of an eye-opener.

A rock star's popularity skyrockets as soon as they kick the bucket. Have you set yourself a time-limit on becoming a dead legend?

I'm 27 now, and I'm aware of the fact that Kurt Cobain killed himself when he was my age. Jeff Buckley left this earth at the same time. But I'd like to make it to 30. I feel this is very much a beginning for us; I'd hate to be cut down in my prime. But if you were to go, dying onstage would be good. But it'd have to be at the Hollywood Bowl, or Madison Square Gardens. Not in Milton Keynes, certainly.

Oh yes - you've had experiences of this vibrant Middle England conurbation. Didn't they throw bottles of piss at you onstage?

Yeah, but that's because I insulted them. My big mouth getting me into trouble again. I Think I dedicated Bruise Pristine to "50,000 crimes against fashion". It took them a while to realise there was 50,000 of them, then the bottles started flying. But we've dodged worse: cans of beer, used condoms, people throwing bullets.

Do you get more pleasant stuff sent by fans?

I get Prozac, mainly. Plus nail polish, which I quite boring, and gothic jewellery. But I also get photos of kids, post-parental abuse. One girl - I couldn't make out the rest of her face - sent a picture of this huge black eye. Underneath she'd written "KILL FUCK DIE". I carry them around as good luck charms.

We're compiling a survey of rock stars - what's the worst porn that you've seen?

Bestiality has always disturbed me. A friend of me showed me this video - apparently the best under-the-counter seller - that was just a fat man masturbating for about an hour. But there's one I'm intrigued by: all I know is that it involves a young, slim Asian lady, an incredibly portly Caucasian woman, a huge tub of lube and a bathing cap. I think we can all do the math.

We can. Finally, a scruples question. You're forced to play Russian roulette - which five people do you invite to play with you?

My God. Eminem for starters. Then Fred Durst, from Limp Bizkit. Let's throw Britney in there. Then Marilyn Manson - just because he's sick enough to enjoy it. And the last one? Tony Blair. He's such a great disappointment - and he plays roulette with other people's lives all the time. It'd be good to see him sweat for a change.