Placebo

Biography

Members: Brian Molko, Steve Hewitt, Stefan Olsdal

Active: 1994 - Present

HISTORY

Placebo was founded when former Luxembourg schoolmates Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal met by accident at South Kensington tube station in 1994 and decided to form a band. While briefly known as Ashtray Heart, the band quickly settled on the name Placebo. The band could not decide on a drummer at first with Steve Hewitt and Robert Schultzberg alternating on the spot. While Hewitt was the preferred choice, he also had other commitments as drummer for London band Breed, leading to Schultzberg being the drummer when the band signed its contract with Caroline Records. This said, the band officially say that \"family commitments\" was the reason for his absence. As the other band members were having difficulty getting on with Robert Schultzberg, they persuaded Hewitt to rejoin the band in 1996. The band gained some measure of notoriety for the sexualities of its members (Olsdal is gay, Hewitt is straight and Molko is bisexual) and their excessive lifestyles, often chronicled in their songs (the title of the track \"Special K\" from Black Market Music, for instance, is a reference to the drug ketamine).

The singles \"Nancy Boy\", from Placebo (1996), and \"Pure Morning\", from Without You I\'m Nothing (1998), were the peak of their British success, both charting in the top ten. Since Without You I\'m Nothing the band have fallen out with particularly the British music press, who regularly mock the personality and pretentiousness of its lead member, Brian Molko. However, the band retained a huge popular and critical following in continental Europe. Their style altered little from Placebo through Black Market Music (2000), based around fairly straightforward guitar playing, often influenced by the style of 1970s British and American rock, and Molko\'s high-pitched vocals.

The band was asked to play at David Bowie\'s fiftieth birthday party at Madison Square Garden. The band\'s glam connections continued in 1998 when they recorded a cover of T. Rex\'s \"20th Century Boy\" for the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack. The band also appeared in this film. Placebo played \"20th Century Boy\" live with David Bowie at the Brit Awards show in 1999.

The band gained somewhat of a following among skateboarders when the song \"Every You Every Me\" (also used on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack) was used by Mark Appleyard for his part in the skate video, \'Sorry\'.

Sleeping With Ghosts (2003) was more adventurous, experimenting with dance influences and a less polished guitar sound, though keeping the traditional sound for several songs, including the first single \"The Bitter End\".

In the autumn of 2004, Placebo released the Singles Collection \"Once More With Feeling\" (on both CD and as a DVD featuring the bands viedos) and played a one-night-only gig at Wembley Arena. Robert Smith of the Cure guested with them on 2 tracks, \"Without You I\'m Nothing\" and a cover of the Cure\'s \"Boys Don\'t Cry\". This performance was to be their last UK gig until 2006. After the Wembley gig, Placebo went on a short \"Once More With Feeling\" tour in South America. On July 2nd 2005, the group performed \'Twenty Years\' and \'The Bitter End\' at the Live 8 concert, at the Palais de Versailles in France. Their 2006 tour of the UK sold out in one weekend, and certainly lived up to expectations, as their single London date at Alexandra Palace had fans queuing up from 8pm, ready for the doors to be opened at 6pm the next day.

MEDS

In September 2005, the band finished the recording phase of their new album, which was released on March 13th (Delayed in U.S. until April 4th). The first single on the new album to be released in the UK on March 6th is titled \'Because I Want You\', whilst Song To Say Goodbye will be released on that date in the rest of the world. The new album, Meds, is a return to the band\'s roots, with a Without You I\'m Nothing meets Sleeping With Ghosts vibe. The band will be working with Timo Maas for some songs as Brian has also worked with Timo for his new album, with his vocals featuring on the single \"First Day\", which was released in May 2005.

In November 2005, Molko revealed in an interview that they had been working on 15 new songs since the June of 2004 in the South of France, and had been in the studio recording since August of 2005, working with French Producer Dimitri Tokovoi, who is a friend of the band and has produced the songs \"The Ballad of Melody Nelson\" and \"Running Up That Hill\" for the band in the past. They have also been recording tracks at RAK studios in London earlier in 2005. Molko said that the new songs are sounding more guitar based, like \"The Bitter End\" off their latest album and like many of the songs on their first album. Most of the tracks are based on 2 guitars, drums and a piano. Recording has been finished and they have been mixing since October 29th 2005. Two duets with American singers were also confirmed, who are Alison Mosshart (from the band The Kills) and Michael Stipe (from the band REM).

Meds was leaked over the Internet on January 17, 2006. No details are available on how the album was leaked. However, the official release date of \'Meds\' was 13.03.06, making the leak almost two months early. The album contains 13 tracks, different from their last three albums which have only contained 12 tracks, but Meds has no \'hidden tracks\'. The video for the single \'Because I Want You\' was shot on the 24th of January at Koko in Camden, London. The leak was projected by the band\'s record label to potentially cause a very dangerous loss of profit upon the albums release, although this has proved to be wrong in most countries with the album debuting at #4 in Australia, and #7 in the UK. The next single from \'Meds\' will be \'Infra-Red\', released on June 19th 2006 in the UK.

A limited edition U.S. \"Meds\" was released on April 4th, making the gap between the leak of the album and the official release date even longer. The reason for the delay was what the band called \"extended manufacturing needs\". The limited edition U.S. \"Meds\" features a DVD in the NTSC format compatible with U.S. DVD players, plus the CD. The limited edition U.S. \"Meds\" is not the \'deluxe\' version with 40 page booklet. It comes in a standard jewel case and regular CD booklet.

The band are set to play at several European Festivals over the summer of 2006, including Isle Of Wight and Reading/Leeds.

ALBUMS

1996 - Placebo
1998 - Without You I\'m Nothing
2000 - Black Market Music
2003 - Sleeping with Ghosts
2004 - Once More with Feeling
2006 - Meds

EP\'S

2000 - Slave to the Wage
2000 - Taste in Men
2001 - Special K

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OptimusPrime

Submitted by OptimusPrime at Thu 29 Jun, 2006 8:46 am

OptimusPrime

Last updated by OptimusPrime at Thu 29 Jun, 2006 8:46 am

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