"Before Placebo - Bio Of Brian Molko"

Generation X, Dec'00

by Kathea Rowland

Once upon a time there lived a little boy in a tiny remote country called Luxembourg, who coveted his talents. Not knowing that one day he would become a rock idol, sex symbol, and poetic inspiration for all.


From the yearbook photos you'd imagine that the young boy w/the dreamy gaze and a haughty aura to him, would someday transform into one of the most transgressive rockers of our times. I believe that the experiences you undergo as a teen can mark (or scar) you for life. Certainly, Brian Molko vented much of his frustration of those agonizing years in the cult song, Teenage Angst. With lyrics expressing the novelty of sex, the experimentation of drugs, and the oppression of adults; teens worldwide related to the infectious line, "Since I was born I started to decay. Now nothing ever goes my way." Burger Queen, on the other hand, exposed us to a typical night in Luxembourg for a "Goth make-up happy junkie" who feared rejection, dreamed of finding the right girl (or boy), and worried about his erections (or lack of). Although these songs gave us a glimpse of what life could've been like for him during those crucial "formative" years, it didn't depict us the whole picture

Just how was high school like for an introverted kind of soul who found pleasure in his music and acting? The task seemed quite obvious--contact the people who had the honor (or horror) of having known him at that time. So as I "emerged" into Molko's past a series of black emotions overcame my senses. By the end of the journey I knew that I had befallen what I call, Molko's Syndrome--please give my a placebo.


After a couple of hours of driving around Luxembourg I felt as if I had already driven around the whole country! It is very tiny, very cold, and very rainy. In other words--a place to runaway from. Now I know why Brian continually refers to breathing, asphyxiation, and lack of oxygen in almost every song, because Luxembourg gave me the feeling of claustrophobia.

From the exterior AISL best resembles a business building w/its white paint and odd architecture, than a school. Once inside though, all those notions vanish. Walking through its halls I experienced an acute sensation of "deja'vu'" since the private American high school I attended in Italy seemed the carbon copy of AISL. The same extensive labs, box-shaped classrooms, and the spoiled complaining students....It all conjured up memories of my own dreaded high school days.

I passed by the art room where I was told Brian spent most of his time hangning out w/his two close friends to talk to the art teacher. I found that queer seeing that in an interview he once pointed out his lack of artistical talent in the drawing department. I found it even stranger because the art room was where I spent the majority of my time as well.

The classes at AISL are quite small, numerically speaking. For each grade level there could've been 25 students (at the most) which is more than tiny considering the average 200 or more students per grade level in a typical American schools in the U.S.! So, I figured, like in my schools rumors must've run faster than Flash Gordon! All this "tight-knit" fellowship must've created a very suffocating environment for Brian, which could've spurred his early escape from home.


For someone who remembers his high school days as a "traumatic experience" you'd think that his ex-classmates would've solely mentioned his negative aspects. Quite the contrary! Of all the classmates I contacted there was a slim few who dissed him. Although one would agree that life mustn't have been easy for a guy with a geeky name and squeaky voice, combined with a short stature and diminutive figure.

Despite that, 85% of his classmates recalled him as being a very friendly individual and talented actor. Many mentioned that he was great fun to be with and the ideal person to talk to. A great portion used words such as, eccentric, captivating, exuberant, amusing, and flamboyant, to describe him. On the surface he may have seemed an extrovert, but in reality he kept a low profile and was known for his introverted moments of silence.

Academically, Brian did well; being enrolled in mostly AP courses (which I can confirm are NOT easy for I took them as well). His teachers claim he was a "bright young man full of creative vigor". Primarily interested in drama, while the majority of his classmates were into sports, led him to not bond that well that them. Nevertheless, they claim he was "well-liked" by the class for his uncanny manner of being able to "suck" people into his world.


Leading an active life due to his numerous theatrical performances and the habitual Friday and Saturday night bar outings, he was considered to be a pretty "popular" guy. Of course in a small school as AISL, it's pretty hard NOT to he popular. People were reluctant to state whether he was a "flirt" or not. My guess is, for a guy who sees Holden Caufield (the protagonist of 'The Catcher In The Rye') and him taking the same approach when it came to girls, is not a very positive outcome. Although if he ever did receive any rejections its surely must've been due to his lack of confidence and not for his lack of looks.

Many were surprised of Brian's musical talent for he only exposed his acting ability in public. In reality he started to play the guitar at the age of 16, simply self-teaching himself riffs of his fav Sonic Youth songs. His musical interest wasn't very publicized, but he did spend a good quantity of his time playing the guitar and singing w/one of his classmate's stepfather.

Looking through the yearbooks I was NOT surprised to see that he was once voted "Best Dressed Male" noticing that today he has a better fashion sense than most women in rock (Courtney Love and Fiona Apple should follow in his steps!). With all these positive attributes that Brian possessed you'd wonder why he stated as being labeled a loser. Due to my uncontrollable curiousity I asked his classmates if Brian was indeed perceived as a loser. Contradicting their previous claims, they all replied yes! But they added Brian was a "cool loser". Whatever that means!


A small portion admitted that Brian did have faults. The ones who did emphasize them were indeed his former "bullies". The "bullies" described him as being arrogant, odd, very opinionated, and an instigator. They revealed their disgust of hitting a guy who wasn't even capable of defending himself.

Their excuse in hitting him was that he would push them to their limits leaving them no other choice than to give him a "lesson". In simple terms--a short delicate-featured guy in accordance with a big mouth and cocky attitude equaled to receiving a serious amount of harassment. As one of them wrote, "Every now and then I hear some of his music and wonder if the damage of high school has had much of an impact on him." For someone who still has nightmares of having to re-live his senior year--I think yes.


Mr.Molko has always been convinced that none of his classmates would've ever seen him as a rockstar. His reply to whether his classmates expected his

success was, "NO....Definitely not! I was considered a loser. No, they didn't expect this at all-fuck them." What's perculiar is when I asked his classmates if they would've ever imagined him making it big, their responses were positive! As one stated, "Out of all the people at AISL, he was the only one I could've seen as the rockstar." In a way, many were anticipating his notoriety. As one of his friends commented, "He had a goal of making it into the limelight and he did it." And rock hasn't been the same ever since.