Pure Spunk


With one American, Englishmen and a Swede, it’s easy to see how Placebo induce confusion. With no common background they all met while studying and decided to form a new band. Steve’s path seemed to be the rockiest. Commitments to another band, Breed, were getting in the way. After a year away he re-joined in 1996, the original chemistry was then burgeoning trends of Britpop. Instead they claim influences from those more in the vein of Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey and even claim a bit of Tom Waits.

‘Without You I’m Nothing’ is the huge follow up after ‘Bruise Pristine’ gave the world it’s first taste of Placebo back in 1995. According to Steve, three years of touring and hard work seems to have been well worth it.
“The album doing really well, even in that states. It’s harder and this is our fourth tour of America. ‘Pure Morning’ has really helped us get our foot in the door. We came out in December and did a lot of really shitty little radio shows on stations that were supporting us. We would play these half hour sets where we would just come out and play, always saving ‘Pure Morning’ for last. It was ridiculous, we’d play, get no response, then start jumping around and going nuts on the last song. Now when we come out, because of ‘Pure Morning’, everybody’s got their head around the album and really get into it. This tours been like ninety-five percent brilliant, it’s been extensive, it’s gone very deep into America, all over.”

They are even recieving that Holy Grail of marketing when it comes to breaking the American market, commercial airplay.

“Shitloads of it,” says Steve. “The kids are really picking it up. We’ve got four gigs left on this tour, all the audiences have been superb. We’ll come back in August or September, you’ve just got to hit it again and again. America is so big, you go to sleep at night on the bus, nine hours latter you wake up and the bus is still rolling, then you realise that there’s another ten to go.”

But did Placebo really expect ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ to do this well?
“This album really set us up to go global, we’ve had three number one singles in South Africa and also made it as their number one album, I’ve never even been out there. People pick it up around the world and it’s like, ‘what have we created?’ It still bends my mind”.

For months now the press have been referring to Placebo as having Glam-rock roots and talk about how they’re all such good mates with David Bowie. I know they’re friends with the man and that they got some of their first big shows playing support for him, but why Glam-rock? Placebo themsleves describe their music as Punk or as a sort of funky power-pop, nobody has ever called Sonic Youth a Glam-band. So I asked Steve.
“It’s purely a case of lazy fuckin’ journalism,” answers Steve. “Lazy British Journo’s. Just because we’re in the movie “Velvet Goldmine”. It’s a movie about a Glam band in England, but it’s only a damn movie. I mean we’re a fuckin’ Punk band that’s been touring Europe for the last three years, then you do a film like Velvet Goldmine and it’s like ‘Oh you’re in a Glam Band’. In a movie, we’re playing a part in a movie you fuckin’ idiot, they should open their eyes.”

Placebo will be in Perth for one show on May 4th at Metroplois Perth. What can we expect? Well Steve’s only comment on the matter was that “it will make your nose bleed”.
-Matthew Anthony

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