• 09 June 2004

Band form


Placebo (formed 1994)
Placebo is an English rock band whose famous hits include 'Nancy Boy' and 'Pure Morning'. The band is made up of Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Forrest.

Formation: Placebo formed when Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal met in London. Olsdal attended Molko's gig and they went on to form Ashtray Heart. They soon enlisted drummer Robert Schultzberg and became Placebo.

Musical career: Placebo released their self-titled debut album in 1996; it reached number 5 in the UK charts and featured the single 'Nancy Boy'. The band fired Schultzberg in 1995, but was brought back for the single 'Bruise Pristine'. He left for good in 1996. He was subsequently replaced by Steve Hewitt. 1996 saw the band support David Bowie on his Outside Tour, and they received further recognition for their T-Rex cover '20th Century Boy' for 'Velvet Goldmine' in which they also made an appearance. Bowie appeared on the single 'Without You I'm Nothing'; the title track from their second album released in 1998 through Virgin Records. The lead single from their next album was the hit 'Pure Morning' which, along with 'You Don't Care About Us', became successful in the UK despite some negative press. In 2000, they released third album 'Black Market Music' which featured a cover of Depeche Mode's 'I Feel You' and the singles 'Taste in Men' and 'Slave to the Wage'. Their fourth album was 'Sleeping With Ghosts', released in 2003 which sold 1.4 million copies globally and was followed by tours in Australia and the UK alongside Elbow and Har Mar Superstar respectively. In 2004, they released live DVD 'Soulmates Never Die (Live in Paris 2003)' followed by compilation album 'Once More with Feeling: Singles 1996-2004'. In 2005, they performed for Live 8 with the songs 'Twenty Years' and 'The Bitter End'. The following year they also released fifth album 'Meds' with lead single 'Because I Want You'. It also featured 'Meds' with Alison Mosshart and 'Broken Promise' with Michael Stipe. The album topped the charts in France. In 2006, they signed to Astralwerks and re-released their debut album with new tracks 'UNEEDMEMORETHANINEEDU', 'Lazarus' amd a Kate Bush cover, 'Running Up that Hill'. They took part in 2007's Projekt: Revolution tour alongside Linkin Park. That year, Hewitt was replaced by Steve Forrest. They released their next album 'Battle for the Sun' in 2009, produced by David Bottrill. The title track was released as a free download, during which time they also performed in London in a secret gig. The first official single was 'For What It's Worth', and that year they also released live album 'iTunes Live: London Festival '09'. They went on a world tour but one show in Greece was poorly received by the audience. In 2011, they released live album 'We Come in Pieces' and the following year headlined Sundance Film and Music Festival as well as releasing their B3 EP which was later re-released for Record Store Day 2013. In 2013, they also released seventh album 'Loud Like Love', produced by Adam Noble, which was followed by a world tour. (Written by Contactmusic)

Album Of The Week: Twenty Years Of Placebo's 'Without You I'm Nothing'

By Holly Mosley in Music / Festivals on 12 October 2018


'Without You I'm Nothing' was released today (October 12th) in 1998.

This week marks the 20th anniversary of 'Without You I'm Nothing'; the epic second album of alternative rockers Placebo, released through Hut and Virgin Records in the nineties. It features one of their most famous songs ever and marked a turning point for the group's sound.

Image caption Placebo - Without You I'm Nothing

'Without You I'm Nothing' is one of the band's more melancholy releases and deals with a lot of frontman Brian Molko's past, as well as themes relating to bad relationships, friendship, drugs and gay culture. While Molko laments the fact that the record is heavy with slower tracks, that hasn't stopped it selling over one million copies to date.

Continue reading: Album Of The Week: Twenty Years Of Placebo's 'Without You I'm Nothing'

Placebo Cover The Cure In Honour Of Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival

By Holly Williams in Music / Festivals on 19 June 2018

Placebo The Cure Robert Smith

They performed 'Let's Go To Bed' over the weekend.

Those lucky enough to be attending the 25th annual Meltdown Festival this month, with the 2018 edition being curated by The Cure's Robert Smith, may have managed to catch an extra special set by Placebo. They performed a stunning rendition of 'Let's Go To Bed', and it was the most perfect tribute.

Image caption Placebo perform at Latitude

The London rockers hit the Southbank Centre on Saturday (June 16th 2018) for a set at Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival, having been friends of The Cure frontman for many years now. They played 'Let's Go To Bed'; a non-album single released in 1982 which was originally recorded for The Cure's 'Pornography' album sessions.

Continue reading: Placebo Cover The Cure In Honour Of Robert Smith's Meltdown Festival

Brian Molko And Marilyn Manson Were 'badly Behaved'

By Clive King in Lifestyle / Showbiz on 19 October 2017

BRIAN MOLKO Marilyn Manson Placebo David Bowie

Brian Molko is ''clean and happy'' these days but used to enjoy wild nights out with his friend Marilyn Manson.

BRIAN MOLKO and Marilyn Manson used to be ''very badly behaved''.

The Placebo frontman may be ''clean and happy'' these days but he admits he used to enjoy wild nights out with the 'Rock is Dead' hitmaker in the 1990s at the height of their success.

He told Kerrang magazine: ''I remember reading 'The Long Road Out Of Hell' [Marilyn Manson's autobiography], and thinking 'This book makes you feel like you want to go out and do very rock n' roll things', but that wasn't a particular inspiration for my lifestyle.

Continue reading: Brian Molko And Marilyn Manson Were 'badly Behaved'

BRIAN MOLKO, Stefan Olsdal and the other members of Placebo perform at Manchester Arena - Manchester, United Kingdom - Monday 5th December 2016

Placebo - 'Sleeping With Ghosts' and 'Meds' vinyl reissues Album Review

By Louise Mawson in Music Reviews on 16 March 2016

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Placebo's debut album, the band have been reissuing each of their landmark albums on both limited-run coloured vinyl and permanent standard black vinyl.

'Sleeping With Ghosts' and 'Meds' are the final two in the series of reissues. Now 13 years old, 'Sleeping With Ghosts' shows singer Brian Molko coping with the memories of relationships gone by and exorcising those demons. Perhaps slightly more accessible than previous releases, 'Sleeping With Ghosts' charted at 11 in the UK charts back in 2003. An impassioned, rollicking album, it spawned 4 singles for the band: 'The Bitter End', 'Special Needs', 'English Summer Rain', and 'This Picture'. Less grungy than their earlier, and slightly heavier, albums, 'Sleeping With Ghosts' has Placebo realising their more electronic rock side.

'The Bitter End' is one of the few songs on the album echoing their earlier sounds. Full of driving guitars racing to a loud and frantic close; it's the definitive sound of a painful break up. 'Protect Me From What I Want' is more reserved than the rest of the record, a mournful look back at a past relationship.

Continue reading: Placebo - 'Sleeping With Ghosts' and 'Meds' vinyl reissues Album Review

Placebo Announce 20th Anniversary World Tour

By Stephanie Chase in Music / Festivals on 15 March 2016


The band are promising to play songs they haven't performed live in over a decade.

Placebo have announced the first set of dates for their 20th anniversary tour. The band will travel across Europe through October, November and December, with nine UK shows among the already announced dates. The tour will kick off in Denmark on October 13th.

Image caption Placebo have announced a 20th anniversary world tour.

On their official website frontman BRIAN MOLKO promised that the show’s setlist will span their entire 20 year career. “Let's just say there will be songs in the set that I've sworn never to play again. I think it's time that we purposefully acknowledged what a lot of Placebo fans really want to hear,” Molko said.

Continue reading: Placebo Announce 20th Anniversary World Tour

Placebo and BRIAN MOLKO - Shots of English alt rock band Placebo as they performed live in concert at the Liverpool Guild Of Students in Liverpool, United Kingdom - Tuesday 10th March 2015

Placebo, Outkast, Bombay Bicycle Club Lead Record Store Day 2014: Race You There!

By Lauren James in Music / Festivals on 20 March 2014

Haim Johnny Cash Elbow Jake Bugg David Bowie Bombay Bicycle Club Richard Hawley Korn Slipknot Outkast Placebo

We'll see you in line at this year's Record Store Day, bigger and better than ever.

The vinyl list has been released for this year's Record Store Day, which will be celebrated by 240 independent music shops throughout the UK with over 600 exclusive releases available. More big-name acts than ever before have lent their music to the unique event, which is designed to save the nation's record shops from the threat of online shopping and big corporations.

Californian Sister Trio Haim Are Contributing Vinyl-Based Music To Record Store Day 2014.

Placebo, Green Day, Outkast, Bombay Bicycle Club, Chvrches, Disclosure, Dinosaur Jr, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Jake Bugg, The Flaming Lips, Elbow, Fleetwood Mac, Haim, Richard Hawley, and Johnny Cash represent just a handful of the most high profile LP or EP releases this year with an eclectic range of genres for music fans to flick through.

Continue reading: Placebo, Outkast, Bombay Bicycle Club Lead Record Store Day 2014: Race You There!

New Names In The Sziget Festival 2014 Line-Up Including The Prodigy And Lily Allen

Posted on 17 March 2014


Placebo - Brixton Academy, 16th December 2013 Live Review

By Alice Barker in Music Reviews on 20 December 2013

With their cult following made up of fans that have supported the band throughout their nineteen years, it was no wonder the pre-show vibes around Brixton Academy were electric. Playing their first of two sold out shows in this legendary venue, Placebo, it seemed, could do nothing to disappoint their fans.

Opening with a new track it was clear from the beginning that the star of the show would of course be charismatic front man Brian Molko. With the spotlight well and truly on him, the singer danced and twisted his way through their near two hour set engaging with the crowd very little verbally yet still managing to come across as open and thankful towards his adoring onlookers with his constant wide smiles and unfaltering stage presence. His distinctive voice, still as prominent as ever, was without a doubt the most impressive thing about the gig. It's immediately recognisable and sends shivers down your spine.

Despite playing very few of their hit singles, nearly every word was sung out loud by this buoyant audience. Most notably missing were 'Nancy Boy' and 'Pure Morning', however this can be forgiven as 'Every You Every Me' turned this already lively crowd into a moshpit as they uncontrollably jumped around the floor. 'Running Up That Hill' unsurprisingly caused the same effect as this Kate Bush cover was performed somewhat more forcefully than usual. This was truly the highlight of the gig. 'Meds' whipped the punters into a frenzy as all three guitarists made their way to the edge of the stage feeling every word and rift whilst lapping up the excitable cheers. At the back of the stage, drummer Steve Forrest and Fiona Brice were outstanding throughout. If the crowd needed warming up - which they didn't - 'Too Many Friends' would have certainly done the job. Full of energy and ending with feedback from Molko's guitar, the strobe lighting and graphics were barely needed as the band provided the energy for this one. 'Special K' also made an appearance; a song so typical of the talent Molko possesses in his song writing - his dark, deep and astonishingly honest lyrics have become so popular and needed by followers - that their desire to let Molko know they were listening was overwhelming.

Continue reading: Placebo - Brixton Academy, 16th December 2013 Live Review

Placebo - Placebo perform live in concert at the Ziggo Dome - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Sunday 8th December 2013

Placebo - Loud Like Love Album Review

By Jim Pusey in Music Reviews on 07 October 2013

Placebo's seventh studio album, and their first full-length effort to be released by Universal, is a significantly less daunting proposition than much of their back catalogue. On first inspection, 'Loud Like Love' boasts a more positive title than the likes of 'Meds' and 'Battle For The Sun'. Equally, the record's technicolour artwork signals a creative shift for the three-piece on the eve of their twentieth anniversary. While the doom and gloom hasn't been completely washed away and the musical formula remains largely unchanged, there's a feeling the band has grown up. Less teenage angst and more mid life crisis, 'Loud Like Love' is enjoyable but not remarkable.

The re-birth that opener and title track 'Loud Like Love' seems to allude to, with Brian Molko's mantra of "breathe, breathe, believe", is somewhat of a false prophecy as the album progresses. But while the band doesn't stretch itself, there are subtle changes and touches that add to the feeling that this is a band coming to terms with the last two decades. Molko's voice isn't quite reaching the high notes he used to, but his delivery is as impressive as ever. However, when he does try to be more experimental with a spoken word section on 'Hold On To Me', it does feel a little misplaced. Meanwhile, the familiar guitar hooks are still as catchy and urgent as ever, without the album sounding like a band simply going through the motions. But it's Steve Forrest's drums that seem to elevate much of the material here. Various percussive tricks and samples are used to great effect. For example, the handclaps that ground 'Scene Of The Crime' or the ominous and distorted drum machine that opens 'Exit Wounds'.

There's a certain irony when Molko sings "This is my last communiqué down the super highway. All that I have to say in a single tome" on lead single 'Too Many Friends'. He's highlighting the isolating experience of online social networking and its sanitised version of human interaction, yet this is a band which launched the album on YouTube; perhaps Molko feels the sentiment is made stronger by the captive online audience that Placebo has nurtured. But it's also that feeling of disconnection that makes 'Loud Like Love' sound middle aged. Later on, in 'A Million Little Pieces', Molko crystallises the central problem with the album: "Whenever I was feeling wrong, I used to go and write a song from my heart. But now I feel I've lost my spark, no more glowing in the dark for my heart." While much of the material here is good, it lacks the rough edges (both musically and emotionally) that made Placebo so compelling in the late nineties.

Continue reading: Placebo - Loud Like Love Album Review

Placebo - B3 EP Review

By Lorna Greville in Music Reviews on 27 November 2012

The B3 EP is the first original collection music released by Placebo since 2009 and, for many months, the band had their fans on tenterhooks. They stated on their Facebook page earlier his year that they had begun work on their 7th studio album but were hoping to release some songs before the year was out. B3 contains those songs.

What made Placebo great in the '90s was a sense of humour, albeit wallowing in the murky waters of post-punk, but their most famous songs 'Pure Morning', 'Every You and Every Me' and 'Nancy Boy' were quintessentially funny. Funny in the way that emo music is always funny. Classic lyrics like, "My hearts a tart, your body's rent" or "A friend with breasts and all the rest, A friend who's dressed in leather" are undeniably tongue in cheek. That seems to be what was lost on their last album, Battle for the Sun, which was, emphatically, not received well particularly by fans.

However, B3 seems be something of a return to form. Drawled lyrics of "A friend in need's a friend indeed, A friend with weed is better" defined the teenage experience of the late '90s and, 15 years on, fans are hitting middle age and wanting something more from their fave band which is difficult terrain to tread. Now, thematically at least, they're hitting that target.

Continue reading: Placebo - B3 EP Review

Placebo Sunday 22nd August 2010 The 2010

BRIAN MOLKO and Placebo - Brian Molko of Placebo Sunday 30th August 2009 at Leeds & Reading Festival Leeds, England