"The Modern Age"

Billboard, Jan'99

09 Jan 1999

by Carrie Bell

Placebo's Brian Molko isn't a good flyer. In fact, after jet-setting from Chicago to Los Angeles and then back to New York for a week of shows, he's queasy, tired, and dehydrated.

"But it's nothing to feel sorry about," says the gender-bending, American-born [sic], U.K.-based singer. "Playing for the world and getting our music heard is what we set out to do. Flying and travel is a necessary evil in the game we initiated."

And so far, Placebo seems to be on a winning trajectory with its first single, "Pure Morning" at No.20 on this issue's Modern Rock Tracks.

"It's a song about coming down when the rest of the world is waking up," he explains. "How many times have you come out of a club when the sun is coming up and others are going to work? You feel dislocated. You just want someone to slip their arm around you and make slumber easier."

The song is one of many on Placebo's second album, which Molko describes as "superior, ambitious, desperate, honest, romantic, vulnerable."

"It's a very personal record that goes straight to people's hearts," he says. "The subject matter is a reflection of where I have been. As our professional lives became secure, our personal lives fell apart. Looking back, the first album was young. It seems like the work of teenagers."

Helping stimulate growth was the band's switch to Virgin from Caroline. "To a degree, we were shafted by Caroline. It was us or the Chemical Brothers, and they chose them. Virgin is tremendously involved and dedicated to breaking us."

The new strategy includes heavy touring. By September, the group also intends to travel to Europe, Asia, and Australia. "It should be fun to hit new spots. We aren't looking forward to Germany though. The audiences are on Valium, and the food is guaranteed to give you gut rot."