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Over the past decade Placebo have slowly but surely grown into one of the biggest and best rock bands on the globe. Meds is Placebo’s first studio album since 2003’s Sleeping With Ghosts, which went Top 10 in the UK, sold 1.4 million copies worldwide and firmly re-established the band's foothold in the USA. In that time Placebo have gone from strength to strength selling out arena dates all over the world including the 18,000 capacity Bercy in Paris (comparable in size to Madison Square Garden). Like other darkly romantic acts that speak directly to the scorched human soul - The Cure, Depeche Mode, Morrissey, REM - theirs has been a steady, cultish global explosion. But when Brian Molko, Stefan Olsdal and Steve Hewitt sold out Wembley Arena in 2004 during a triumphant homecoming jaunt to promote that year’s Singles package Once More With Feeling, with Robert Smith as special guest, the lid was blown on rock’s worst kept secret: for ten years Placebo had been creeping up on superstardom, now here they were taking their place on the podium. “The size of it has been gradual since the first album,” says Stefan, “every album’s done a little better than the previous one, so it wasn’t a big shock. We’ve learnt our trade through the years and the band has grown live as well - last tour there were five people onstage which freed me and Brian up to give a little more of a show. We kind of grew into those roles and we felt comfortable with them. But when we came to play Wembley last year it was a vindication.” What’s truly remarkable about the rise of Placebo, however, is that it has always gone hand in hand with a rare hunger for musical inventiveness, personal discovery and creative storytelling. As they’ve gradually shed the androgynous shock-chic of their 1994 genesis for more stark, direct and mature dissections of humanity’s brimstone core - the perversions we hide from each other, the agonies and humiliations we inflict on each other, the addictions we put ourselves through and, on occasion, the hope we too often deny ourselves - they’ve also taken daring steps into fresh musical territory. Black Market Music, brought hip-hop and disco elements to their brooding rock blueprint. Sleeping With Ghosts saw them experimenting with electronics, loops and studio effects galore. Bravely, they challenged their audience, only to earn themselves bigger and more avid devotion from an ever-growing legion of smart but damaged rock fans that were coming to expect and revel in Placebo’s unexpected stylistic turns. And fifth studio album Meds looks set to be their biggest and most gasp-worthy plot twist yet. Written over the summer of 2004 in the south of France, recorded over four months of 2005 in Rak Studios with relatively unknown French producer Dimitri Tikovoi and mixed by U2 + Smashing Pumpkins legend, Flood, Meds is Placebo: Laid Bare. Confident that they had written their strongest set of songs to date “We found ourselves in a position when we were making this record of having too many songs,” says Brian. “Before, we were always missing one, so the quality bar has been raised. There’s at least five or six singles on this album.” They allowed Tikovoi to strip back their intended electronic approach - a direction the band expected to pursue after penning the synth-heavy “Twenty Years” for the Singles Collection record - to the base core of guitar, bass and drums in order to let the genius of the song writing speak for itself and rediscover the fire in Placebo’s studio-glossed bellies. “Dimitri’s idea for this record was to get us to make a first album again,” Brian explains, “to take us out of our comfort zone, to challenge us and to bring a danger back into Placebo. Rak is a bit of a time-warp studio, it hasn’t changed that much since the seventies and eighties. So you’re not making a record in a digital space-ship, everything becomes very performance based. So we went back to a very elemental side of Placebo. For example, where we’d usually go to an expensive vintage keyboard, we just went to the piano instead. I think over time we’ve developed a reputation for being quite complicated and I think we enjoyed the freedom of going back to basics on this record, we allowed space for the songwriting to shine through rather than show up how clever we were and how good we’ve gotten at using a studio. We were going for simplicity rather than elaboration.” The result is not just a molten, souped-up raw roar of a record, but also Placebo’s most human collection to date. No longer does Molko feel the need to define himself through high fashion or S&M gimmickry - he’s an adult and a finely-honed storyteller now and he needs no knee-jerk lexicon to map out life’s deformities. Here are tales of fragile souls freaking out because they’ve forgotten to take their medication (“Meds”), of the bleary-eyed shame of the bathroom mirror in a narcotic comedown dawn (“Cold Light Of Morning”), of “your friends who are making extremely bad lifestyle choices” (“Song To Say Goodbye”). Here are stories - subtly unfolded - of loss, confusion, revenge, love, addiction and dependence despite, you might think, the fact that Molko should really have gotten over this sort of thing by now. “I know,” Brian chuckles. “I guess being in a rock band you don’t grow up as quickly as other people no matter what happens in your life, or maybe because you’re so used to conflict and things teetering on the edge of falling apart that sometimes you have to create that around you in order to feel alive. When you listen to the album you find a good deal of confusion and desperation. Things are never simple in Placeboworld. I think the interesting thing about the people who inhabit the songs on this album is that they’re always going through some kind of conflict, with themselves or in terms of their place in the world or in terms of dependence or addiction.” There’s also, somewhat mysteriously, a track called “Space Monkey”, which none of the band can explain but which has left Stefan awash with emotional awe. “I listen to it and I don’t hear us playing it or remember recording it,” he says, “it’s like I’m listening to another band and I’m getting very strong emotions while I’m listening to it. It’s the first time I’ve had that with our music.“ Their best (and inevitably most successful) album so far then, and one which gives honorable nods to their inspiration as well as their legacy. An example of the band’s legacy is guest appearance of VV of The Kills, who sings on the album’s title track, “Meds”, and Bloc Party approaching the band to remix the UK’s first single, “Because I Want You.” Not to mention the break-up anthem “Broken Promise” featuring Brian dueting with none other than Michael Stipe. “We’ve known Michael since the Velvet Goldmine days,” says Brian, “and we bumped into him in a hotel in Paris. It’s a song about adultery and it occurred to us that the song might have a lot more gravitas with two men. We were looking for a female vocal but we thought ‘why not Michael?’ About a year later we managed to get him into the studio to do the vocal. So we’re working with the best of the Old Skool and the best of the new.” So another adventurous lurch into the unknown for a band who call the unknown home - its success is guaranteed by the simple fact of its non-conformity. Frankly, with so much global graft behind them, nothing can stop Placebo now. This is, after all, the band who turned up in Chile last year to fulfil some half-remembered gig promises only to find they’d broken South America without even noticing. “The first date we turned up in Chile,” Brian recalls. “We’d never been there before and we didn’t think we sold many records there and we had two sold-out 9000 capacity shows, so that was an amazing way to start it. Then we went down to Buenos Aries and played to 7000 people and then did eight shows in Brazil to a rapturous reception. Being that well received really surprised me and that was fantastic. And what a great place to go and do big gigs! It’s a real buzz over there, the audience is so passionate, that’s the Latin thing I guess. Morrissey’s really huge in Mexico and Placebo do really well there and in Brazil The Cure are massive so they’re really into this dark romanticism that we have that sort of connects with them.” “It was nice to be able to drop in on a country we’ve never visited before and get the sort of reception we got,” adds Steve. “The band performed brilliantly, we’re harder hitting and so much more having-it than the last tours we’ve done. It was up another three pegs on the rock level.” And by the end of the forthcoming Meds world tour, rock will have run out of pegs. Placebo have taken the world, now they’re coming for you. Be blissfully afraid.

Links:
(Official Site)
(MySpace)
:: bionic-club :: (Website)
Slackerbitch - Placebo Forum (Chat)
(MySpace)
(Official Site)
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Tour Dates:
2016-11-23 (Ended)Placebo FrankfurtFesthalle - Messe
Stadt Frankfurt Sachsen-Anhalt , Germany
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2016-12-06 (Ended)PlaceboMotorpoint Arena Nottingham
Nottingham Nottingham , United Kingdom
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2016-12-07 (Ended)PlaceboBarclaycard Arena
Birmingham West Midlands , United Kingdom
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2016-12-09 (Ended)Placebo3Arena
Dublin Dublin , Ireland
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2016-12-12 (Ended)PlaceboNewport Centre
Newport Newport , United Kingdom
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External Comments:
musicaldemons How do I even begin to describe my love for these men? They are actually my life and I can't be happy, let alone live without them. Their intelligence and musical talent are beyond compare.
2011-05-20 16:27:35

iakinthia placebo is a masterpiece
2011-04-23 10:21:35

party_poison9 placeboo!!! :)
2011-04-05 01:53:09

ASGRAY21 why is it there are no tour dates for america for my fave bands?
2011-03-21 07:42:49

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2010-11-24 04:54:49

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2010-10-20 11:54:25

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2010-08-21 07:38:59

kyra8383 what are you doing over seas? come to the us placebo!!!!!!!!!!
2010-08-04 14:35:52

creeeez ayeeeee. . . i missed it again for sure i should have known this before
2010-03-19 18:50:41