Placebo (band)

Placebo (band)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Placebo

Img_capt = Placebo at the Radar Festival, Zagreb, 2007.
Landscape = yes
Background = group_or_band
Origin = London, England
Genre = Alternative Rock Indie Rock [] Post-punk
Years_active = 1994–Present
Label = EMI Virgin Records (current), Hut Records, Caroline Records
Associated_acts = Hotel Persona
URL = []
Current_members = Brian Molko
Stefan Olsdal
Steve Forrest
Past_members = Robert Schultzberg (1994–1996)
Steve Hewitt (1996–2007)

Placebo are an alternative rock band formed in London in 1994, currently comprising Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest.


Early years

Placebo was founded when former Luxembourg schoolmates Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal met by chance at South Kensington tube station in 1994; they had previously attended the American International School of Luxembourg together (and Molko had also attended the European School of Luxembourg). Molko was performing at a local bar and invited Olsdal to watch him one night. On the strength of Molko's performance, Olsdal decided they should form a band.

While briefly known as Ashtray Heart from a Captain Beefheart lyric, the band quickly settled on the name Placebo.citation |url=|title=Placebo--The Sex and the Drugs and the Complications |periodical=MTV News |accessdate=2008-07-30 ] 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. The band officially says "personal demons" were the reason for his absence. As Molko was having difficulty getting on with Schultzberg, they persuaded Hewitt to rejoin the band in 1996. [ Always on the Run] (Retrieved 2007-03-07)]

Hewitt returned to the band after the departure of Schultzberg. The band gained some measure of notoriety for the sexualities of its members (Olsdal is homosexual, Hewitt is heterosexual and Molko is bisexual) as well as for their excessive lifestyles and Molko's androgynous image, which were often referred to in their songs.

Middle years

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 received less positive coverage from the British music press, who on occasion have mocked the perceived pretentiousness of frontman Molko. However, the band retained a huge popular and critical following in continental Europe. By way of their English-accented fluent French, France has become their very first target market in Europe - which has led them to gain huge popularity there, in excess of even their British fan base.citation |url= |periodical=NYRock |author=Gabriella |date=April 2001 |accessdate=2007-03-07 |title=Interview with Brian Molko ]

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

The band was asked to play at David Bowie's fiftieth birthday party at Madison Square Garden. Placebo played "20th Century Boy" live with David Bowie at the BRIT Awards show in 1999. 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. In the same year, their peak album "Without You I'm Nothing" was recorded and released. The song Without You I'm Nothing from this album has had a version released in which David Bowie duets with Molko.

Molko has been open about his use of recreational drugs; in a 1997 interview with New York Doll, admitting at one point that heroin was "probably the only drug on this planet I haven’t tried".citation |url= |title=Kerrang Interview |accessdate=2006-12-20 |periodical=New York Doll |author=Kerrigan ] However, he later admitted to experimenting with heroin as well. citation |url= |periodical=Select Magazine |title=I Thought I Was Good at Handling Pussy |accessdate=2007-04-15 ]

Placebo encountered resistance from the British music industry upon release of the single "Special K" from their third album "Black Market Music" (2000) due to its use of a Ketamine high as a metaphor for love. The 'single' was released in Australia before eventually being made available in the UK as an EP featuring the b-sides and remixes that would have filled out a conventional two disc single release. At the time the band claimed this was due to dissatisfaction with the two disc single format, a claim somewhat undermined by their subsequent single releases all being made available in two cd formats accompanied by a 7inch vinyl.

Recent years

In the autumn of 2004, Placebo released the Singles Collection "Once More with Feeling" (on both CD and as a DVD featuring the band's videos) and played a one-night-only gig at Wembley Arena. Robert Smith of The Cure guested with them on two 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 2, 2005, the group performed "Twenty Years" and "The Bitter End" at the Live 8 concert, at the Palais de Versailles in France (see Live 8 concert, Paris). Their 2006 tour of the UK sold out in one weekend.

In September 2005, the band finished the recording phase of their new album with Daniel Waite formerly of K.D.E, which was released on March 13 (Delayed in U.S. until April 4th). The first single on the new album to be released in the UK on March 6th was titled "Because I Want You". The album was mastered from October to January.

Two songs feature duets with American singers. "Meds" with Alison Mosshart of The Kills and "Broken Promise" with Michael Stipe of REM.

The band's fifth album "Meds" was leaked over the Internet on January 17, 2006. No details are available on how the album was leaked. The official release date of "Meds" was March 13, 2006, making the leak almost two months early. 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, nevertheless in most countries the album debuted relatively well, at #4 in Australia, and #7 in the UK. The second single from "Meds" was "Infra-Red", it was released on June 19, 2006 in the UK.

With "Meds" being the last album on Placebo's contract with Virgin Records and the title track said to be the last single it is rumoured that a B-Side album is to be released due to the sudden release of 2 brand new B-Sides (Lazarus and UNEEDMEMORETHANINEEDU, being the only B-Sides to be released since Detox-Five in 2004). Placebo are currently looking for a new record label.

In October 2006, their debut album "Placebo" was digitally remastered and re-released with the title "10th Anniversary collectors edition". The box set includes a DVD containing music videos, concerts and TV performances.

Placebo announced in April 2007 that they were recruiting fans to star in the video for their newest single Running Up That Hill, a cover of the famous Kate Bush song.citation |title=Placebo wants you in their video! |url= |date=April 5, 2007 |periodical=Side-line |accessdate=2008-02-10 ] Placebo joined Linkin Park and various other acts, including My Chemical Romance, Julien-K, HIM, Saosin, and Taking Back Sunday for 2007's tour.

On 1 October, 2007, Steve Hewitt left Placebo due to musical and personal differences. Brian Molko commented "Being in a band is very much like being in a marriage, and in couples - in this case a triple - people can grow apart over the years. To say that you don't love your partner anymore is inaccurate, considering all that you've been through and achieved together. There simply comes a point when you realize that you want different things from your relationship and that you can no longer live under the same roof, so to speak." citation |url= |periodical=Placebo World (official band site) |title=News | ] As of mid-2008, the band have acquired new drummer Steve Forrest and are recording their next album.citation |url= |periodical=Placebo World (official band site) |title=Latest news stories (2008.08.06) |accessdate=2008-08-07 ]


Current members

As of 2008, the band consists of:
*Brian Molko (1994-present) – lead vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards, saxophone
*Stefan Olsdal (1994-present) – bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
*Steven Forrest (2008-present) - drums

Additional live lineup members are:
*Bill Lloyd – guitar, bass guitar
*Alex Lee (from 2006) – keyboards, guitar

Former members

*Steve Hewitt (1996-2007) – drums, percussion
*Robert Schultzberg (1994-1996) – drums, percussion, didgeridoo
*Xavior Roide (2003-2005) (touring member) – keyboards, backing vocals


*"Covers" originally appeared as a bonus disc on the Sleeping with Ghosts Special Edition release. It is exclusively for download on iTunes.

Placebo tracks in film, television and video games

*"Every You Every Me" was the opening song in the movie "Cruel Intentions". [ IMDB - Cruel Intentions Soudtrack] (Retrieved 2007-03-07)] . The song was also on the soundtrack to the EA Sports Playstation game F1 2000. (Retrieved 2007-04-05)]
*"Bruise Pristine" was used as a part of the soundtrack to the 1997 Playstation game Gran Turismo. (Retrieved 2008-06-01)]
* "The Bitter End" features in the soundtracks of "Radio Big" in the Playstation 2 game SSX3.
*Placebo's cover of "Running Up That Hill" was featured prominently in the opening of "The OC's" Season 4 premier. It was also featured in the episode of "Bones", "Judas On A Pole", as well as the ending for the episode "A La Cart" of "".
*"Every You Every Me" is used in professional skateboarder Mark Appleyard's part in the video Flip Sorry.


External links

* [ Placeboworld] Official Site

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